“Located on the 25th floor, the open air Terrace Lounge represents the height of urban elegance […] high above the canyons of Wall Street.” Reading the promotional captions of Manhattan’s newest luxury condominium—20 Pine Street—makes me want to puke.
Watching the photos—a nauseating catalogue of design furniture seemingly designed to place Macbook Airs and iPads with cocaine traces—further increases the sensation. Sure it’s comfortably pretty, sure it’s luxurious, sure there’s fancy indirect lighting everywhere so you can pretend your single-serving neighbors don’t exist, but it has the personality of an Ikea catalog and Bed, Bath & Beyond wedding list. Combined. Except their furniture looks made with tropical woods and comes already assembled.
The boutique apartments are located in the former Morgan Guaranty Trust building, which later became Chase Manhattan Bank’s headquarters. It’s one of the architectural behemoths of the financial district, a gigantic beehive with the personality of a Soviet shoe, sitting on a place with less life than the Mojave desert flats. It’s Albert Speer’s wet dream with Ibiza chill-out music playing on the speakers instead of Dr. Goebbels’ favorite Wagner pieces. It’s also the place where a bomb exploded in September 16, 1920, killing 33 and injuring 400.