I recently read an article on Ian Schrager’s new building at 40 Bond titled or subtitled “It Has to be Said…” and thought, “Yes! Yes! Finally! Someone is speaking out in a reputable publication about how hideous that building is! Vindication.” I had celebrated too soon: yet another glowing review followed the ellipsis.
I’m really not a Schrager-hater. I love what he did with the Gramercy Park Hotel and its lush-toned over-the-topness, and it’s hard to find fault with a guy who hangs a Twombly in the lobby. I’d kill for one of his big box windowed apartments next door that sit in lotus position in sublime contrast to GPH’s extravagance. But 40 Bond… I just don’t get it. I stood in shocked horror the first time I saw the minty-green glass tubes partially concealed by scaffolding. What the–?! Who would do such a thing to Bond Street?!? I found it tragic.
Admittedly, I used to live around the corner and had become a bit of an East Village conservation snob, reserving a particular fondness for the cobblestones and luxe grit of Bond and Great Jones Streets. Intellectually, I can appreciate what Schrager, Herzog & Co. were trying to do, the references to the structure and materials of old cast iron loft buildings. I get it. It’s inventive and fresh, for sure. But aesthetically I find it repellent. Apartments that start at $3 million are enclosed by a “‘gaudiesque’ sculptural gate… inspired by New York City graffiti” that’s meant to “integrate with the New York street.” Am I the only one who thinks this is hilarious? Adding insult to injury is that said gate was designed by a computer program in Switzerland. Blending into the New York street is the last thing it does. It looks like a bonepile, a big gimmicky bonepile. And no one’s talking about Schrager’s obscene penthouse that’s a third the size of the entire building. It’s not an unusually proportioned residence for New York, but it feels like a big ‘screw you’ to the spirit of the East Village.
But who knows, maybe it’ll grow on me.