When Condé Nast relocates from midtown, to One World Trade Center they will be the building’s largest tenant, occupying more than 1.1 million square feet. Their luxurious space will include a reception area, a conference center, a library, an auditorium, an art gallery, a private dining space, a cafeteria and an after-hours café. While the more than 5000 employees will not begin their pilgrimage downtown until November 2014 (with the move completed by February 2015), no doubt, some, if not many star editors, assistants, staffers, and employees, might need a bit of time to warm up to the idea.
That’s where I come in. I am a native New Yorker who has lived just a few blocks from your new digs for over a decade, and I have come to know and love this area. So I thought I’d fill you in on the Details and debunk some myths and hopefully, when all is said and done, you will feel that you’re Lucky to be making the move: For those who feel your new location is not in Vogue, is lacking in GQ, (the ‘Great Quotient’), doesn’t have the Glamour or Allure befitting your Vanity Fair, and is a fashion wasteland, let me remind you that downtown is the hottest part of the city and getting better all the time- especially the far west side of downtown. You are just a hop, skip, and a jump from the West Village and Soho, and are on the southern tip of Tribeca, one of the most desirable neighborhoods in New York where some of the world’s biggest movers and shakers have come to nest in their Architectural Digest worthy lofts.
You will be right across the street and seamlessly connected to Brookfield Place, home to American Express, Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, Deloitee, and Bank of America (an underground passageway will ensure that you don’t have to go outside). A $250-million renovation is transforming the retail and public space which sits on the Hudson River waterfront into a world-class shopping and dining experience. Once the site of the former World Financial Center, it’s set to open in March 2015, and among the high end names who have signed on, Hermes, Burberry, Ferragamo, Michael, Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg, Theory, Scoop, and Calypso St. Barth’s.
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You will also be across the street from 200 West Street (known as the Goldman Sachs Tower) which has a covered pedestrian pathway filled with a small but wonderful selection of restaurants and boutiques. There you find Vintry Fine Wines (www.vintryfinewines.com), specializing in the best wines from both old and new world regions; Artsee Eyewear (www.artseeeyewear.com), with museum quality designer frames; Bloom (www.bloomflowers.com) , a premiere retail luxury flower destination with a strong creative sensibility (they offer residential or corporate services and specialize in hip modern floral designs, botanicals, home accessories); a branch of Danny Meyer’s Shake Shack (www.Shakeshacknyc.com); and last, but not least, one of the biggest, cleanest, and largest movie theatres the Regal Battery Park Stadium 11. It is almost always empty, especially during the week, and you can almost always get in, even when blockbuster films first make their debut. So, should you want to play hooky, need a break from the office, or want somewhere to go after work, keep this in mind.
In addition, Century 21 Department Store (www.c21stores.com) is literally just a few blocks away at 22 Cortland Street, and regardless of how discriminating, or how much of a label snob you are, I guarantee you will find some great steals and deals there: Gucci, Celine, Chloe, Carolina Herrera, Versace, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, etc. are among the labels stocked from time to time and they are currently selling two vintage Hermes Birkin bags (one in orange and one in black, $13,999.97 and $14,999.97 respectively).
|Ice skating rink at sunset|
For those who think their new location is WWD (woefully west and downtown) and fear they will feel like a weary traveler after the commute let me remind you that the closer you get to the tip of Manhattan, where you will now work, the major subway lines (the 4,5, 6, N, R, 1, 2, 3) are all very close together as opposed to the upper east side. This makes it quite convenient for public transportation. Architect Santiago Calatrava has designed the new PATH station entrance east of West Street. The tunnel will eventually connect Brookfield Place to the Fulton Street Transit Center hub, where subway riders can catch the A, C, J, Z, 4, 5, E, R, and 1 trains. And the first commuter ferry to travel between two Manhattan points on the Hudson River, is set to launch next week, and will serve the “transit starved” Far West Side. According to The New York Post, “The West Side ferry boats will sail between a pier in Hudson River Park at West 44th street, and the World Financial Center every 15 minutes during the morning and evening commutes”.
And don’t discount the Hudson River Greenway, the continuous 11 mile route between Battery Park at the most southern tip of Manhattan, and the Little Red Lighthouse under the GW Bridge: it is the biggest car-free bicycle and pedestrian path New York City has ever seen. What could be better than biking to your new offices taking this route? Not only is it great exercise, and a great way to tone those gams, but you will be treated to great Hudson River views. If you don’t have your own bike, Citi Bikes are now available all over town.
Speaking of meat, Morton’s The Steakhouse (www.mortons.com), 136 Washington Street) is just a few blocks south of your offices, as is the W New York- Downtown Hotel, (123 Washington Street, www.wnewyorkdowntown.com), home to a wonderful branch of the understandably popular BLT Bar & Grill. The hotel also boasts a fabulous terrace bar which is opened in nice weather.
One of the newest, biggest, and best Whole Foods (www.wholefoodsmarket.com) is literally just a few blocks north of One World Trade. It is open from 7 am until midnight 7 days a week and you can take food out, or eat there on the premises (there’s also a great Soul Cycle right next door, at 103 Warren Street, www.soul-cycle.com).
In about two weeks, Brookfield Place will open Hudson Eats, an upscale dining terrace overlooking the Hudson River and the Marina. With seating for approximately 600, it will feature fast-casual concepts from 14 chef-driven eateries (including Umami Burger, Skinny Pizza, and Blue Ribbon’s first sushi to go). Following through spring 2015, they will open a large, 25,000 square-foot French marketplace and an assortment of six notable restaurants to “complement an exceptional dining experience”.
|PJ Clarke's on the Hudson al fresco|
In the warm weather months, when Battery Park city is admittedly at its best (owing to its unapologetically laid back and relaxed resort vibe), you can casually dine al fresco right on the banks of the Hudson River, in full view of the Statue of Liberty, sailboats, cruise ships, yachts, etc. (If you need to take a ‘Petite Vacance’ from the office, this should do the trick). Some of my favorites are Gigino’s Wagner Park (20 Battery Place, www.gigino-wagnerpark.com), Merchants River House (375 S. End Avenue, www.merchantsriverhouse.com), and PJ Clarkes on the Hudson (4 World Financial Center, www.pjclarkes.com). And speaking of a resort vibe and going on vacation, if you have ever wanted to learn to sail, you can avail yourself of the Manhattan Sail School which is located on the Battery Park esplanade (www.sailmanhattan.com).
On the plus side (a few more things to think about):
| Manhattan Sailing School|
*You will never see better sunsets anywhere in New York (and no doubt, many of you will be able to see them as you are being rewarded with offices with prime southern and western views).
*You haven’t run, until you’ve run on the Battery Park Esplanade with the Statue of Liberty in full view (what better way to blow off steam from your high stress publishing job).
*Even though it gets extremely cold and windy in the winter thanks to those unforgiving chilly winds off the Hudson River, I don’t think that should pose a sartorial problem, especially to the Conde Nast fashion editors who have perfect wardrobes for any situation and are generally swathed in fur when it turns cold. And once you’re warmly dressed, you will enjoy grabbing a hot chocolate at Financier Patisserie, right inside Brookfield Place, and head outside to the Ice Rink, located right on the esplanade (it’s open from late fall until late winter).
*Where else can you get a haircut, a ‘Flat White’, AND enjoy a river view all at the same time? If you head over to the lobby of the New York Mercantile Exchange, at 1 North End Avenue (with a wall of windows facing west), you can do just that as there is Jack’s Unisex Hair Salon, right next to Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man Coffee, and their house specialty is a ‘Flat White’. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a coffee beverage similar to cappuccino; developed in Australia and New Zealand, it is prepared by pouring steamed milk with small fine bubbles and a glossy or velvety consistency, over a double shot of espresso.
*When Fashion Week rolls around, your offices will be close to Spring Studios at 50 Varick Street (a popular choice for many designers), St. John Center (favored by Ralph Lauren), and a number of other large spaces located on right on West Street. And when MBFW finally centralizes at Hudson Yards (www.hudsonyardsnewyork.com), even though it’s further uptown (between 30th and 34th streets), it is still quickly accessible via the West Side Highway. By the way, the historic makeover planned for Hudson Yards, promises to reinvent the skyline and usher in The New West Side (more proof that everything is happening on this side of town).
*Whether you are a native or transplanted New Yorker, and have never taken the ferry (other than to get to the Brooklyn Navy Yards to see Alexander Wang’s fall 2014 or Christian Dior’s resort 2015 collections), and you’ve never visited Lady Liberty on Liberty Island, now is the perfect time (www.statueoflibertytickets.com). You can feel like a tourist in your own city.
*If you need to have shoes or bags repaired, you are nearby one of the best shoe repair shops in New York: Minas Shoe Repair, 67 Wall Street, 212 938 0199 (the guy can fix anything).
*If you have your money tied up in the stock market, you will be able to watch it more closely as the New York Stock Exchange, located on Wall Street, is just blocks away.
See you around the hood...
- Marilyn Kirschner