Flash Forward in Time
By Lead Writer, Renee Fontaine
Perched atop a Mercedes-Benz dealership, the Mercedes House propels twenty-first century Manhattan to twenty-second century innovation. This 32-story residential building features a unique zig-zagging design creating courtyards and large terraces. Mexican architect, Enrique Norton, designed this residence with 28,000 square feet interior, contiguous space which includes a state-of-the-art fitness area. The spacious design encompasses 60,000 square feet of outdoor space providing a South Beach like oasis. This spiraling luxury residential development has transported the landscape of New York into the future: an ultramodern spaceship has arrived in Manhattan!
An Oceanliner’s View
In traditional twenty-first century Manhattan style, the New York Yellow Cab dropped me at the entrance of the Mercedes House. Passing through the front lobby doors, I felt as if I had passed through a time warp into the future. Tall glass windows, stainless steel accents, brightly red swirled designer flooring, red runway style lighting, and extended flat screen with multiple moving colors combine to create a striking futuristic expression.
Encapsulated in the stainless steel elevator, I continued my journey into the future: Beam me up Scotty! Landing on the 16th Floor, I entered this luxury apartment. A light ahead drew me along the lightly colored oak flooring to the kitchen and living room. The view from the floor-to-ceiling windows on two full walls left me awestruck. To the south is a postcard view of the Midtown skyline: tall buildings of various sizes, heights and shapes. Looking to the west, I was captivated by the view of the infamous Hudson River that defines the western border of Manhattan. A glass door, led me to the spacious terrace with glass panel railing shaped like a ship’s bow. I felt as if I was on a large ocean liner navigating through the calm Hudson waters heading toward the New Jersey shore. Ship Ahoy!
Living in the Sky
Staying at the Mercedes House was like living in the sky. The kitchen with spacious island and airy living room provide all the conveniences and comforts of home. The white leather sofas and stainless steel kitchen offer the perfect complement to the striking view. Two bedrooms, each with king size beds and spacious closets connect to the main living area: one room with a view of the Hudson and the other with a view of the New York skyline.
Each evening while sitting outside on the terrace, the view of the sunset over the Hudson captivated me: hot pink hues with shades of gray. Falling asleep at night, the silhouette of the New York skyline lulled me to sleep: various rectangular shapes with squarely lit windows. Waking in the morning, the view of skyline in the daylight revitalized me with the energy of this amazing city. The natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the day supplied me with a soft positive energy: a feeling of floating in the sky.
Hell’s Kitchen Transformed
The Mercedes House is located in Midtown West in an area that is better known as Hell’s Kitchen. Hell’s Kitchen generally refers to the area of Manhattan between 34th and 59th Street, west of 8th Avenue and bordering the Hudson River. This section of Midtown was once home to a multitude of immigrants who found work on the docks nearby. Ethnic conflict escalated when Puerto Ricans moved into the neighborhood in the 1950s. The well-known Broadway Musical, West Side Story, depicts this conflict between the Irish, Italians, and Puerto Ricans.This rich and colorful history is what earned the neighborhood the name Hell’s Kitchen.
Development in this area lagged for more than 30 years due to strict zoning rules known as the Special Clinton District, designed to protect the neighborhood’s low-rise character. However, progress in this area started to boom after the September 11 attacks, when zoning all over the city was relaxed.
Today, Hell’s Kitchen has been transformed to an increasingly upscale neighborhood popular with actors and young professionals. James Dean, Jerry Seinfield, Alicia Keys, and Sylvester Stallone are just a few of the famous actors and entertainers who have resided here. CBS Broadcast Center, Sony Music Studios, and other broadcast and music-recording studios have also made their home at this juncture. Hell’s Kitchen has made a colossal leap into the future since the troubled earlier years to build a future with innovative architecture and celebrity appeal!
The restaurant choices in the area were a fantastic complement to my futuristic experience at the Mercedes House. Midtown West is well-known for a diversity of ethnic restaurants including Caribbean, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Irish, Mexican, Thai, Afghan, Argentine, Ethiopian, Peruvian, Turkish, Indian, Pakistani, and Vietnamese restaurants. Each May, the Ninth Avenue Association’s International Food Festival stretches from 37th Street to 57th Street. This street fair, an annual tradition since 1974, attracts residents from all over the City.
While some days I enjoyed cooking in the apartment’s contemporary kitchen, other days, I ventured out in search of some of these distinctive choices. Prince Restaurant became my favorite. Located at 48th Street and 11th Avenue, this farm-to-table dining experience was developed by Executive Chef Charles Rodriguez and Executive Pastry Chef Geoff Koo who createdishes using locally grown foods. Health inspired ingredients unite to create such unique wonders as Wild Hive Polenta with sautéed mushrooms, pea leaves, shaved parmesan and veal jus; Stuffed Carnival Squash with roasted sunchokes, chestnuts, bokchoy, mushrooms, seasonal vegetables, and truffle sauce; and Pear Almond Tart with cinnamon ice cream and cranberry sauce.
One morning, I stumbled upon one of the best kept secrets of the neighborhood, Il Baretto. This Italian cafe and wine bar has much more to offer than just wine and at unbeatable prices for Midtown Manhattan. Located just across the street on the corner of 11th Avenue, this quaintcafe has health conscious quality cuisine including imported cheeses served with crostini and figs marmalade; a nice selection of large salads for less than ten dollars; and main dishes such as Filet Mignon for only 12 dollars. These prices were like a flashback to the past!
One unique aspect of New York City is the mix of cultures and people living together on this small island called Manhattan. Whether you are rich or poor, straight or gay, religious or atheist, black or white, this city welcomes you with open arms. One Saturday evening a good friend and I visited Japas 55 Karaoke Bar where you can truly understand New York City as the melting pot of the world.This Japanese establishment was full of a happy mix of New Yorkers sitting around the bar. The microphone was passed from one person to the next each taking turns singing a selected song. Everyone joined in and cheered the one singing regardless of how out of tune their voice was. I felt like I had been transported into a future where all people live in peace and harmony.
Automotives of the Future
New York City is a place for unique experiences. One interesting choice I came across was to test drive a car from the near future. 11th Avenue between 57th Street and 47th Street is lined with a diverse selection of automotive dealerships. One can window shop or even test drive from the world’s top car manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti, Nissan, Lexus, Audi and Cadillac. The Smart Car dealership is located just outside the lobby entrance of the Mercedes Building. This small fuel efficient “toy like” car is the perfect choice for a city dweller. Lease rates are as low as just $99 per month and the electric version of the car gets 122 miles per gallon. Now that is a flash to the future!
The inimitable service provided by such owner and host, Lauren Berger, was as unique as my stay in this futuristic home. Lauren extends such impeccable old-fashioned personalized service that it’s hard to believe that I have stepped into the future. Her beautiful smile and great sense of humor immediately puts you at ease. She personally caters each guest to assure they feel at home the moment they arrive at one of her outstanding properties. Orchestrating the small details from flower arrangements, to the fine bedding, to arranging catered dinner parties on the spacious terrace, she makes each guest feel like a treasured family member, and right at home. Nothing could be as unique as this!
My stay at the Mercedes House flew by like a spaceship at warp speed. Encapsulated in the stainless steel elevator, I transported myself to the ground floor, passed through the lobby and back out into twenty-first century Manhattan. Having had a glimpse of what the future brings for this beautiful city, I continued on my way with a smile on my face.
This property was chosen for the Unusually Unique category due to the modern zig-zagging
design of the building combined with the exceptional views. This property would also be suitable
for the categories of Ultra Luxurious, Outstandingly Located, Super Romantic and Vacation
Rentals for the Sports Enthusiast.
For availability and reservations at Lauren Berger Collection you may call her at (888) 522-1099,
(239) 671-2920 or (646) 629-9669.
RELATED LOCATIONS: for more vacation rental options in this general area, check the article recently written about Manhattan, New York.
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