Is this the ugliest brownstone in Chelsea?

The iconic New York brownstone, with its high stoop and decorative cornice, made its appearance in the early 19th century and quickly became a stylish, single-family home favorite.

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Over the decades, some have been updated, their facades altered and made over to suit their owners’ tastes.

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There’s this Modernist example in Turtle Bay, the concrete grill townhouse in the East 60s, and the futuristic bubble-window brownstone in the East 70s.

But what explains the refrigerator unit-like redesign of this home, part of a beautiful stretch of three-story row houses dating back to the turn of the last century?

Perhaps its super comfy inside. And a garage—that can be convenient.

Here’s the price (and photos) of the upper duplex, courtesy of a Corcoran listing.

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17 Responses to “Is this the ugliest brownstone in Chelsea?”

  1. penelopebianchi Says:

    EWWWWW!!!!!

    Everything is hideous! The horizontal windows; the color, the revolting proportions!

    Why was that allowed to be built?

    Horrific!

  2. RD Wolff Says:

    Looks more like a damn dentist’s office than a residence!

    $11,000 a MONTH!!!!!!!!
    Gezus, I bought an entire 22×96′ brick store in-town, built in 1910, with a full basement, 13′ ceiling with it’s original tin and overlooking the city park for $15,000 here.
    The real estate tax on the whole building is $990/year

  3. Artnoize Says:

    In 1985, this building was still known as The Fifteenth Street School, founded by the actor Orson Bean.
    It was a “Free School” (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/07/nyregion/thecity/07free.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)
    I have a photograph of the building.

  4. Pontifikate Says:

    Typically bland “modernist” building. Nothing terribly wrong with it except that it disrupts a beautiful, contiguous line of old brownstones. I like good modernist architecture, but not in this place.

    • penelopebianchi Says:

      OMIGOSH! I have always been a decorator……(43 years) I am 66; (my whole life after college as an English Lit majr(!

      Orson Bean was on TV!! (a brilliant!!!) he started the “New School”!

      did I see him on the “Tonight Show”! I have clear pictures and even his commentary on the TV!

      He was a brilliant man; I knew at the time he had NO aesthetic sense.

      Fascinating all these years later!

      He was a character; a genius; and a visionary! When was the lasime you heard of Orson Bean??”

      Googling him right now! He was everything I admired as a youth! And I still do!

      I completely agree! I love when neighborhoods……stay “neighborhoods..” this sticks out like a “sore thumb ” in the worst way!

      Kinda sad. The reason for “design review boards; zoning; and the “taste police”! I am a member of one in Montecito, California)

      Interesting!

      Penelope

  5. William Krause Says:

    “Refrigerator-like”—a not too cool sneer, but at least the modern façade escapes the narrow, barred windows needed by the others. Those probably have small rooms & dark interiors. Q. Is it possible that the projecting stoops rest on city (public) property? Either way, I’d prefer any one of those to the near-by high-rises. Thanks for your posts.

  6. Artnoize Says:

    That building also has a private parking garage.

  7. William Krause Says:

    PS: The more I consider the “ugly” Chelsea house, the more sensible it seems. The street entrance aligns with the building line (meaning a hassle-free future lest it turn out that the other stoops rest on city property) small details like the raised lettering on the house number look elegant; the entryway iron fence provides a bit of sidewalk privacy and one one can only infer that the building has a sound infrastructure.

    It looks OK to me. Neighboring painted “old ladies” look great, too.

    • penelopebianchi Says:

      I agree with you ; William……just not in that row. It made me cry!
      Can’t we put that “practical” one somewhere else? It sticks out like a “sore thumb”!

      How do you know? Maybe those other houses have “opened up” spaces and kept the windows and architectural beauty!?Q!

      Oh well!!

      My husband said the funniest thing tonight…….”(short story: the world is going to hell in a hand basket”; and then….”it is a good thing I am on my way out”! Now that made me really sad . (he is 75; I am 67)

      I am hoping some of we “oldsters” will help save elegance and taste!

      Do you think??

      • William Krause Says:

        Dear Ms. Bianchi, Please forgive if I’ve offended your sensibilities about the “ugly” Chelsea house. I, too, like the old 19th century brownstones. Despite that, things evolve; like it or not. In the end matters of taste give way to one’s own autonomy; we choose our own books, our clothes, our surroundings and all the rest, as much as we can, without too much regard for the opinions of others. Even so, I suspect the owner of the “ugly” house might feel good about investing & living in an attractive area. While the “ugly” house may indeed appear a bit on the brutal side, this one seems OK compared to others—a machine for living? No concealing filigree, no bubble windows.

        PS Did you know that in populous Cairo, Egypt, people have moved into cemetery mausoleums & live there? with illegally piped-in water & electricity? (Referred to as a Hosh.) They bribe the police; tell the deceased’s families that they will guard & maintain the structures. . . from a Domus magazine report of just a few years ago.

        WK

      • penelopebianchi Says:

        You, sir did not offend my sensibilities in any way; in fact, you are perfect gentleman. (a rare and appreciated person!)
        I find it a complete eyesore in the midst of a lovely row of houses (whose interiors and even rear elevations can be remodeled to maximize light etc.)

        My “eye” for good architecture winces; when I see this! OUCH!!!

        Your comparison to books and clothes are not relevant to my opinion on “permanent ” structures in neighborhoods! I am a big proponent of personal freedom of dress, religion, books, etc.

        It is actually shocking how swiftly the lack of “aesthetic zoning” (is that even right?) Can in a very short time completely ruin a beautiful neighborhood!!!

        Funny; I kind of like the living in the “Mausoleums”; They are gorgeous structures…..just as long as the “illegal piped-in water and electricity is hidden! I love beauty; and I truly hate to see it destroyed . It physically pains me.

        I am lucky enough to live in a community that had the first “zoning restrictions” (to preserve beauty and charm and nature” west of the Mississippi! When we drive to and fro through other communities we are more appreciative every day!!!

      • William Krause Says:

        Ms. Bianchi. . . A shortened translation of my long-winded note of yesterday: Each to their own taste.

        About ‘ModernMausoleumLiving’—esthetics & legalities aside, this practice might contradict some well established basics of hygiene, no? But possibly as a new slick magazine…?

        Thanks for your remarks. WK

  8. penelopebianchi Says:

    PS “Pontifikate” said in one sentence my philosophy !

  9. Ron Mitchell Says:

    Sensible, shmensible, it’s UGLY. It is a blight on an otherwise lovely row of brownstones. The architect and the developer ought to have been drawn and quartered and set afire using the blueprints as kindling.

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