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Two Bridges Primer: “One Person’s Oversized Tower… is Another’s Prized Aerie”

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Extell's One Manhattan Square overwhelms the Lower East Side. Here's the view from Straus Square.
Extell’s One Manhattan Square overwhelms the Lower East Side. Here’s the view from Straus Square.

The New York Times’ “Living In…” column this week focuses on the Two Bridges neighborhood, an area that, in the past, “could seem like a land the city forgot.”  Two Bridges has, of course, been discovered, at least by developers, who are ushering in a new era of gentrification.

The article begins with a history lesson on the development of Knickerbocker Village, the historic affordable rental complex. then moves to the present day development frenzy:

If the 20th century was about spreading out — the (Knickerbocker Village) complexes are threaded with gardens, wide walkways, playgrounds and parking lots — the new phase of construction is more vertically focused. First to stretch skyward is One Manhattan Square, whose 823-foot spire, with 815 market-rate condo units, is currently taking shape. At least three projects with similar towers from other developers — all of them a mix of luxury and affordable rental apartments — are planned nearby.

There are passing references to a local campaign to stop, or at least to limit the size of, three new mega-towers currently in the planning stages. And we get to meet one of our future neighbors, who just snapped up one of those 815 condo units at One Manhattan Square:

One person’s oversized tower, of course, is another’s prized aerie, and Dr. Mathew Ulahannan, 65, an internist from New Hartford, in upstate New York, said he chose One Manhattan Square in part for the views. His two-bedroom, two-bath unit in the building, which opens in 2018, cost $2.3 million, said Dr. Ulahannan, who expects to use it as a once-a-month pied-à-terre with his wife, Leena. His daughter, Netha, 32, who is studying to be a doctor in New York, will likely live there full-time, he said. “Change is inevitable, especially in Manhattan,” said Dr. Ulahannan, adding that he is sympathetic about rising living costs. “But there is not a lot of room for everybody that wants to come to New York.”

You can read the full story here.

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