Last night, Anuj and I stopped by Good Housekeeping’s 3rd Annual Green House, the first LEED-certified private residence in Manhattan. The house happens to be located just up the block from us, on 122nd street in Harlem. It was a festive affair – organic wine, passed appetizers, and a large number of publishing industry professionals wearing Good Housekeeping-branded flip flops to protect the newly finished, responsibly harvested wood floors. There were even a few celebs (Russell Simmons, Maurice Dubois – much more handsome in person).
We attended at the invitation of Robin Wilson, who did the interiors of the home. And what a home! 3+ floors of top-of-the line appliances, fixtures and furnishings. This was a life surely beyond our grasp, but it was fun to sip the wine and dream. I stupidly forgot to bring a camera, so I’m hoping some of the design blogs – and even Good Housekeeping itself – will do some kind of photo spread in the next few days/weeks.
I will say that as exhilarating as it was to be in a beautifully designed home (with a backyard, master terrace, and partially-completed roof deck), the growing pains of gentrification were felt. Clearly, this kind of to-do is unusual for the neighborhood – something Anuj and I have sensed in the three years we’ve lived in Harlem – but something that was a little more evident last night. There we were on the ‘green carpet’ – photographers swarming, town cars ushering guests to and from the brownstone – and across the street sat lifelong residents on the steps of their own brownstones who surely felt their neighborhood was slipping away before their eyes. Maybe I’m projecting – but when borough President Scott Stringer whispered to his wife (?) aide (?) that he needed to ‘get across the street and shake some hands’, I knew this was at once a great day for sustainable architecture and design, and a potentially grievous day for the community. How long before all the brownstones on these blocks are converted into magazine-worthy homes? How long before Anuj and I have to pack it up a find a new affordable rental?
Pics to come.