Wrought Iron Gates
That’s Some Key
How Do You Get a Key to Gramercy Park?
By ROBIN FINN
THERE are 383 aspirational keys in circulation in the Big City, each of them numbered and coded, all of them equipped to unlock any of four wrought-iron gates offering privileged access to undisturbed siestas or tranquil ambulation inside the tree-lined boundaries of Gramercy Park.
At age 181, the only truly private park in Manhattan is lovelier and more ornamental than ever; yes, the colorful Calder sculpture swaying blithely in the breeze inside the fence is “Janey Waney,” on indefinite loan from the Calder Foundation.
Dogs may stare through the bars as mournfully as they like, but not even having a key-holder for a master will get them in.
A commemorative fountain and plaque dedicated to Samuel B. Ruggles, who in 1831 founded Gramercy Park.
Alexander Rower, a grandson of Mr. Calder, lives on Gramercy Park, as does Samuel G. White, whose great-grandfather was Stanford White, and who has taken on an advisory role in a major redesign of its landscaping. Both are key-holders who, validated by an impressive heritage, are exerting a significant influence on Gramercy Park’s 21st-century profile. Because Gramercy is fenced, not walled in, the Calder and the rest of the evolving interior scenery are visible in all seasons to passers-by and the legions of dog-walkers who daily patrol the perimeter.
Parkside residents rationalize that their communal front yard is privatized for its own protection. Besides, they, not the city it enhances, have footed its bills for nearly two centuries. Any of the 39 buildings on the park that fails to pay the yearly assessment fee of $7,500 per lot, which grants it two keys — fees and keys multiply accordingly for buildings on multiple lots — will have its key privileges rescinded. The penalty is so painful that it has never had to be applied.
For connection-challenged mortals, though, the park is increasingly problematic to appreciate from within, particularly now that Arthur W. and William Lie Zeckendorf, and Robert A. M. Stern, the architect of their 15 Central Park West project, are recalibrating property values in a stratospheric direction by bringing the neighborhood its first-ever $42 million duplex penthouse, at 18 Gramercy Park South, formerly a Salvation Army residence for single women.
The unique housewarming gift the Zeckendorfs decided to bestow on the buyer-who-has-everything types purchasing there is none other than a small metallic item they might not already own: a personal key to the park.
to be continued
High Times in the Holy City
A bucket list of Southern charm from Charleston
By Craig Donofrio
Salty breezes twirl Spanish moss and steal perfume from Confederate jasmine hedges that flank a cobblestone alley. Interspersed throughout the hedges are ornate wrought iron gates, coated with layers of shiny black paint, begging views of lavish gardens. A horse-drawn carriage plods by pastel-colored homes and then along the palm-lined harbor. Just around the corner, antebellum mansions tower over The Battery and enthrall all eyes that pass.
In the warm morning sun, the streets are swept and blue slate sidewalks washed. Boutique shops open for Saturday business along King Street while art galleries on Broad Street raise their blinds. Meanwhile, a few dazed stragglers, many of who motored past last call or sipped “apres-bar” Bourbon on a private piazza, will brave the walk of shame – a hasty morning retreat to avoid impending daylight and anyone that could identify last night’s crumpled wardrobe.
That’s a small glimpse into the unique daily rhythm and lifestyle dichotomy that draws more than 4 million people annually to the charming, restaurant-rich city of Charleston, S.C.
Acreage antebellum-style property offered in Richmond
By Lisa Zapalac
Encompassing more than 6 acres in Richmond’s Sovereign Shores with proximity to Sugar Land, the property has highlights that include staircases, volume ceilings, verandas, heirloom trees, rose gardens and a guesthouse.
Wrought-iron gates and stucco pylons distinguish the entrance of the estate, which has manicured grounds. A beautiful veranda encircles the home, and the rear patio is highlighted by two staircases, and views of the guesthouse and scenic surrounds.
With more than 6,900 square feet, the three-story home opens to a double-height foyer. A memorable first impression, the foyer features one of three staircases and winds to an open landing beneath a plaster dome.
Polished black and white marble tiles and an artist’s mural are among the many unique points of interest in this home. The floors are 100-year-old heart-of-pine and are throughout the house.
The formal living room flanks the reception hall and has an Enkeboll fireplace, deep crown molding, and tall windows and paneled pocket doors that can separate the living room from the reception hall. Also bordering the reception hall is the formal dining room showcasing ornamental plaster, tall French doors to the veranda, and as in the living room, 100-year-old heart-of-pine floors.
A slab-marble backsplash and surface, a wine chiller, air bubble glass cabinet doors and a pressed-tin ceiling highlight the butler’s pantry.
The kitchen is an ideal entertaining area, with its pressed-tin ceiling, brick wall and stove surround, and furniture-quality cabinetry.
The breakfast room has a brick fireplace, carved mantel and raised hearth, a beamed ceiling and tall windows capturing views of the grounds.
Accessible via a second-floor landing, the study/library offers polished paneling, a built-in desk, a glass door to the second-floor gallery and an iron staircase to the library sitting area above.
Elegant and serene, the master suite features a recessed ceiling, French doors to the gallery, and a double fireplace with carved mantel and raised hearth. The master bath shares the double fireplace and features a central jetted tub, furniture-quality millwork and cabinetry, marble floors and beveled slab-marble surfaces, and a barrel-vaulted ceiling. A home office connects to the master suite and could serve as an exercise or hobby room.
A home theater is over the garage, and the guesthouse includes a living area, open kitchen and bedroom.
The property, at 21 Sovereign Circle, includes three buildings and more than 10,000 square feet.
Inground pool, deck for relaxing
by Connie Adair
A walkout from the family room opens on to a large patio. Beyond that is the 16×32-foot concrete inground pool, which has a wrought iron safety fence and a deck for lounging.
The eat-in kitchen has maple cabinets, a breakfast area, a pantry and ceramic floors. The main floor also has a powder room.
The second floor has a skylight and a three-piece ensuite bathroom in the master suite. Lower-level features include a fireplace in the recreation room.
An attached two-car garage, a cabana and a 74×124-foot lot are other highlights.
In the popular Henry Farm area, the executive home is within walking distance of the Sheppard subway, shops, schools and Fairview Mall.
“This particular home is in the best possible location, a corner lot in the heart of the area, on a wide, fully landscaped lot, fronting on to a very quiet crescent. Privacy is ensured by fencing and mature trees and shrubs,” says listing agent Sam Chaim.
Get the Luxury Honeymoon You Deserve in Vanuatu at Villa 25
Villa 25 have been catering for honeymooners ever since the beautiful wrought-iron gates to the exclusive settlement of Dream Cove opened. Located on its own private beach, this is the ultimate setting for a luxury villa in glorious Vanuatu. Honeymooners will be welcomed to one of the three gracious villas which were designed by the award-winning architect, Pierre du Toit to maximise the privacy of each individual villa and magnificent views of the sea. As privacy is of paramount importance when on honeymoon, these villas are just perfect for that very reason.
There is a pool-side Iowana (gathering place) just a few metres from the water’s edge, providing a heavenly location for Pacific-style entertaining and relaxation at Vanuatu Villa 25. The architecturally designed Vanuatu villas are sympathetic to the local environment with steep pitched shingle roofs, solid block construction and attractive louvered joinery. The configuration of the three villas, adjacent to the shimmering waters of the sheltered beach in an exclusive gated location is perfect.
Only five minutes’ drive from Port Vila’s bustling shops, food markets and exciting fusion of French, Pacific and Asian restaurants, honeymooners can take their pick of dining out or purchasing their own fresh fish, vegetables, organic beef, French cheeses and exotic fruits and take them back to cook in the cooking facilities in their Vanuatu accommodation.
Or, if they prefer, it can be arranged for Villa 25’s chef to prepare a gourmet meal, adding the convenience of inexpensive entertaining to their stay.
Villa 25 has a residential manager who will look after guests’ every need and provide local knowledge on everything from supermarkets to snorkelling, car hire, shopping and the glorious sunsets. Some of the best snorkelling in Vanuatu is right outside the door but some keen divers may wish to go further afield and Villa 25’s manager will give them directions to the wide range of idyllic reef and wreck dive sites, many only minutes off Villa 25’s beach. Kayaks and paddle boards are also available to guests.
There are plenty of options for sport, reef and big game fishing, at Villa 25. The Port Vila Golf & Country Club has a great 18 hole course just 15 minutes from the Villa 25 gated complex. There are so many great things for honeymooners to do or they may prefer to lie beside the pool and work on their tan.