La Fete Zillow. Or, Are You Hot Enough to Live at 135 West 4th?
Oh, wait. Is that not a common experience?
Here's an opportunity to get enlightened. We give you, not Zillow, but 135 West 4th.
The exterior building for its eight fine penthouses is innocuous enough: The face of a cathedral in gothic gray, with a set of striking red doors and lovingly-preserved stained glass. (During the church's transformation into living quarters, the architects decided to leave the glass when they found it lent plenty of natural light to the wide open interior spaces.)
The elevator is broken and the virtual doorkeeper out to lunch, but no mind. Four flights of stairs are nothing after having trawled New York for ad:tech. We trot steadfastly up to the top penthouse and are greeted by techno music, modernist art and ... by gad, are those vaulted ceilings and wooden flooring throughout?
Ignore the seething throng; it's the home that's the star. Steve, fellow ad:tech writer Robert Gorell and I alternately joked about this topic and acknowledged its appropriateness, although none of us really know what Zillow does besides give you a comparative value on your house.
Judging by the literature on the coffee table, our party venue was apparently also for sale. (Get this -- the pamphlet didn't even include images of the penthouses; it included artist renderings.)
Observe, if you will, the spacious living room with natural light. It's perfect for the more-than-casual art collector.
The kitchen, outfitted with state-of-the-art appliances (bartender possibly included), is almost duplicated on the spacious balcony, where you'll enjoy fresh New York air and your neighbors' dirty laundry.
Voyeurism clearly comes at a high premium.
Downstairs you'll find a spacious master bedroom just beside the single restroom, which boasts its own lobby. Many a new connection was made while waiting for the watering hole.
Waiters possibly come stock, but take note: the penthouse has a curious lack of doors. Which I guess isn't so terrible when the elevator isn't broken. But if you're paying for the spankin' suite out of the interest you're making on the expense account anyway, what's the cost of a few extra doors going to hurt?
You scoff at a notion so banal, don't you? You're above asking questions about doors.
I was genuinely interested in the place so I sat for awhile to read the sales information. Whoever's managing the sales and marketing have a really syrupy copywriter on hand, as 135 West 4th is available specifically to "eight unique individuals." The very last page also included a front shot of the building -- a cathedral, remember? -- followed by a back shot, which looked like a stacked warehouse.
They stripped a cathedral down to its face to build warehouse-style lofts? Talk about decadence.
All that aside, the liquor and cheese never ran out, but it didn't really get the chance to. Around 10:00 PM the security guards got a little frenzied and started asking people to leave. This was harder than it sounded because several of us made it down two flights of stairs before realizing we were locked in.
Things only got tenser when we trekked back upstairs to report the news to our hosts, who seemed nonplussed. "Go around the corner!" they commanded, and we obeyed, only to find ourselves in a bedroom with a depressed looking man sitting on the bed.
In the midst of the craze I couldn't help thinking, "How could you be bummed on sheets that soft?"
Robert Gorell threw open a closet door and asked if I'd like to be the first to "exit." I graciously declined. Near the closet, we found another set of stairs, which actually permitted us to leave.
Weird place, 135 West 4th. But hey, we got some whiskey and cheese out of it.