Is East End Avenue hip? Was it ever?


20 EastEnd Avenue
20 EastEnd Avenue

When we think of the Renaissance we typically picture sculptural masterpieces and a full-on cultural movement. But in what initially appears to be an article for the Onion, Gotham Magazine extolls the virtues of the East End Avenue area, and more specifically Robert A.M. Stern’s newest project, 20 East End Avenue. And sadly, it’s much more likely an advertorial than a satire.

The piece — titled “Will Robert A.M. Stern’s 20 East End Ave. Make the Area Hip Again?” — lays it on thick with such force-fed nuggets, like a discussion of nearby Carl Schurz Park, a place filled with “rock outcrops and colorful beds” and a histrionic quote from Elliman broker, Steven Dartley, “The park’s charms can be powerful.”

Singing the praises of the new building, Gotham name checks everyone involved in the equivalent of a written Academy Awards speech. Edward Bacquero, Corgin Real Estate Group’s president, says the 18-story, 43-unit condo has “a sturdy and ageless look.” Perhaps it is the Robert Redford of NYC buildings?

Gotham explains that the neighborhood was once where society’s top figures — opera stars, fashion designers and financiers — congregated (how very “hip”). And the new building is designed to fit in with the aesthetic of the area, because as Stern says, “Many buildings today are enclosed in glass with strange shapes and are like alien forms in the city,” and he is not comfortable with them. Stern had his hand in all aspects of design, from soup to nuts to “common areas, like an unusual eight-sided lobby.”

In a moment approaching clarity, Gotham notes that none of this is actually in any way hip, writing: “While East End is hardly a hipster destination, Baquero hopes to introduce New Yorkers to an area they have long overlooked, one close to top schools (Chapin is at 100 East End; the Brearley School is nearby on 83rd Street) and with proximity to roads that lead to weekend retreats.”

Yes, fussy private schools and easy access to Litchfield or the Hamptons are all such overlooked amenities…

True renaissance; trend; or a crass marketing effort? You can decide, hopefully by tiptoeing through the “colorful beds” in the area’s “most powerful” park.