What is the fun of living in New York City if not to relish its ridiculous real estate, even if some of the hardware in its apartments is worth more than your year’s salary?
We’re taking you from the edge of Queens and Brooklyn to downtown Manhattan up to the east side, giving you glimpses of the city’s glitziest, most glamorous buildings.
Based on talks with local real estate experts on everything from amenities to architecture to spectacular views, here are our picks, in no particular order, for the most luxurious places to live:
1) New York by Gehry
Sample rental price: $3,438/month for one bedroom, one bath
In early 2011, New York by Gehry, at 8 Spruce St., added some new splash to the Manhattan skyline, going up just a few blocks from 1 World Trade Center. The exterior has twisted metal that resembles ocean waves, and each residence has huge bay windows giving a view of the entire island.
The 870-foot-tall, 899-rental unit building oozes luxury, with each aspect of it handpicked by architect Frank Gehry, including the hardware and fixtures, and the metal accents in the exterior reflected in the apartments.
"Gehry is the world's greatest architect … and the complexity of the facade is just full of surprises from every angle," Carter B. Horsley, editorial director at CityRealty, a New York City listings site, said of the building. "The building features 22,000 square feet of interior and exterior amenity space, including athletic facilities and a pool, several places to eat, a library, a spa, screening room and a children's playroom.
2) Fifteen Central Park West
Sample sales price: $1.9 million for a $1,916-square-foot two-bedroom, 2 1/2 bath
Designed by architect Robert A.M. Stern and completed in 2008, this all-limestone building sits right at the edge of Central Park. The 201-condo structure, which offers some of the city’s most expensive apartments, boasts a pre-war style with modern amenities such as a 14,000-square-foot fitness center, a 75-foot pool, a spa and steam rooms.
“It’s very lavish,” said Justin Schuss, founder and CEO of RentalEngine.com, another listings site. “The most unique thing about it might be the roster of residents," he said, which have included Denzel Washington, Bob Costas and Alex Rodriguez.
3) The Plaza Hotel
Sample sales price: $1.5 million for a 500-600 sq. foot Deluxe Suite
The Plaza Hotel at 768 Fifth Ave. is one of the city’s most famous buildings. During a restoration that was completed in 2007, upper floors were converted into condos. However, residents in the condos have access to the five-star hotel’s amenities, such as room service.
Other amenities include a 24-hour butler service, a spa, gym, salon, and immediate access to the Shops at the Plaza.
“You basically get all the glitz and glam of being at The Plaza Hotel, but you can own it … and you walk out right into Central Park," said Eric Hantman of Prime NYC, a boutique real estate company.
4) Trump SoHo
Sample sales price: $1.9 million for a 781-square-foot one-bedroom, 1 1/2 bath
The glamorous exterior of the Trump SoHo at 246 Spring St. reflects its luxurious offerings (for example, all the furnishings in the building are Fendi Casa).
The young hotel, which opened in 2010, rises 46 stories above SoHo and has 391 rooms. The rooms may be purchased as condos. Condo owners can use their rooms for 120 days per calendar year, with the opportunity to use it for 29 consecutive days in a 36-day period.
“It's the only structure like this in NYC," Hantman said. "The other great part about Trump SoHo is because it's the tallest building in the neighborhood … once you're clearing like the 18th floor, you pretty much have open views of both rivers and the city."
5) The Edge
Sample sales price: $1.1 million for an 884-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bath in the north tower
Over in Williamsburg, The Edge, with its north tower (205 units) at 34 N. 7th St. and south tower (360 units) at 22 N. 6th St., offers gorgeous views of Manhattan and allows residents to step out of their building and right onto a city-bound ferry.
Designed by the Jacobs Group, the all-glass condominium towers opened in the fall of 2009.
In addition to the ferry, the Williamsburg location is also desirable because prices are slightly cheaper outside Manhattan, Schuss said. While it's a bit of a hike to the nearest train stations, “they give you very few reasons to leave, with a full basketball court, lounge, game room, and more” among the amenities, he explained.
6) Trump Tower
Sample sales price: $3.5 million for a 1,100-square-foot two-bedroom, two bath
At 725 Fifth Ave., the 68-story mixed-use Trump Tower rivals its downtown sibling Trump SoHo in luxury and aesthetics. The first 26 floors are luxury offices, and floors 30 through 68 are condos accessed by their own entrance.
To top off its high-class appeal, a Gucci flagship store is situated in its Fifth Avenue corner.
What Horsley loves most about the building, however, is its unique architecture.
"It took a basic straight line form but what it did is it had step plans which gave it incising," he said of the building, which was completed in 1983.
7) 200 Eleventh Ave., "Sky Garage"
Sample sales listing: $12.95 million for a 3,248-square-foot three bedroom, 3 1/2 bath penthouse
Designed by Selldorf Architects, 200 Eleventh Avenue is another young building, having opened in 2011. Affectionately dubbed the "Sky Garage," it is among the most unique on our list.
While it only has 15 units, with a gym and a doorman as its amenities, the Sky Garage got its nickname from allowing its residents to drive their cars onto an elevator and ride to their floors. They can then leave their car in an enclosed garage next to their apartment.
"Residents of the building get hoisted into the air in their car and they can get out of their car [essentially] into the living room," Schuss explained.
8) 515 East 72
Sample sales listing: $815,000 for a 687-square-foot one-bedroom, one bath
With its address as its namesake, in addition to its beautiful and secluded Upper East Side location, residents of 515 East 72 have access to a half-acre park, one of the largest on-site private parks in the city.
“That’s probably the most unique, to have that amount of land for your residents to walk out onto,” Schuss said.
Among its other amenities are a fitness and relaxation center with private trainers and exercise classes, a squash/basketball court, a rock climbing wall, a full-service spa, a pool and a playroom.
9) The Carlton House
Sample sales listing: $8.8 million for a 2,380-square-foot three-bedroom, 3 1/2 bath
In addition to its lavish amenities, The Carlton House at 21 E. 61st St. is being completely renovated by architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle into 68 units, with sales officially launched on April 9. Located just a block from Central Park on the corner of 61st Street and Madison Avenue, it sits on one of the most posh corners of the city.
Inside it has a huge swimming pool, a fitness center and a game room.
10) 27 on 27th
Sample rental listing: $3,734/month for a two-bedroom, two bath
Named by its number of stories and the street it’s located on, 27 on 27th, at 42-17 27th St. in the Hunters Point section of the up-and-coming Long Island City.
The 141-apartment building opened for rental in February. The floor plans are unique, as the apartments are shaped differently depending on where they are in the building. The eight luxurious penthouses also come in various shapes and sizes.
"Building units have amazing finishes and floor to ceiling glass windows with clear views of the Manhattan skyline," Schuss said of 27 on 27th, which is among his favorite buildings in the city. "Furthermore it houses a private movie theater.”