The Starrett-Lehigh Building was designed by architects Cory & Cory in a striking International Style, and completed in 1931. A joint venture of the Starret Investment Corporation and the Lehigh Valley Railroad, the building was originally intended for use as a freight distribution terminal, warehouse, and office terminal. To that end, the Starrett-Lehigh is a “drive-in building,” meaning that a truck can be driven from street level to any of the building’s nineteen stories. Because of this fact, when the building opened, its slogan was “every floor a first floor.” The building’s proximity to the Lehigh Valley Railroad’s freight yard and to the commercial piers on the Hudson put it in an ideal position for a thriving business.
The Starrett-Lehigh is one of the largest buildings in Manhattan, taking up a full city block between 26th and 27th Streets, and Eleventh and Twelfth Avenues. It boasts an impressive 2.3 million square feet, making it bigger even than the Empire State building (a “mere” 2.1 million square feet, despite its towering height). Wrapping their way around the building are eight miles of continuous glass windows – even longer than the perimeter of Central Park! That ribbon of glass, offset with red brick, makes the Starrett Lehigh Building an iconic work of architecture. It was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s International Exhibition of Modern Architecture in 1932, and was declared a New York City landmark in 1986.
Today, the Starrett-Lehigh building is no longer a freight hub, but it remains an active and important part of the Chelsea area. Because of its location near the gallery district, many artists, designers, and creative companies have moved into the building, where they can enjoy the high ceilings and expansive office spaces originally designed for Starrett-Lehigh’s industrial past.
Alessandra and Mario De Benedetti had never been in the restaurant business. She was a law professor and he was in finance - both living in Italy. When a passion burns inside you, however, and a desire to live in NYC is so strong, why not change careers and pursue your dream? This is exactly what the dynamic duo chose to do. Working alongside Elizabeth Roberts, architect extraordinaire, the team created a space built for dramatic floral arrangements and an enchanting atmosphere for dining. Alessandra combined her love of flowers by integrating them into the restaurant's splendid cocktails, specialty dishes and magnificent displays. In 2019, their dream finally became a reality as they opened the doors of Il Florista on West 26th Street.
Crossroads Trading Company now has almost thirty locations around the United States, but even in Manhattan they keep their original relaxed Bay Area vibe. The company began in Berkeley in 1991 and has since become a hub for recycling both men and women's clothing with the goal of helping the environment and working to eliminate waste. Locals are welcome to come in and sell their gently used garments for cash or credit... and while there, hopefully browse for something
If one were to close their eyes and walk into Hill Country, there is no doubt that in an instant they would know what kind of food was being prepared. At Hill Country, they take their barbecue very seriously. The food is prepared in their very own custom meat-smoking room, and everything is done in the style of Central Texas barbecue. The atmosphere is kitschy and relaxed, with live American music most nights of the week.
When Ashley Van Goehring, Hotel Giraffe’s director of sales and marketing, led me up to the rooftop bar as part of a tour of the entire building, I did not expect to find such a quiet nook. Despite being in the middle of the busy Flatiron district, the patio’s height and warm red brick border meant that the sky-high courtyard is reasonably silent. It is also beautiful: every inch appeared to be carefully designed with hanging plants, potted shrubs, and striped deck furniture that hinted at the hotel’s name. There is even a metallic giraffe statue in the corner, named after owner, Henry Kallan's granddaughter, Jesse. The seasonal rooftop does not remain quiet at night. Though the garden is only open to guests during the day, at night it turns into a cocktail bar, run by Bread and Tulips, the restaurant attached to Hotel Giraffe. The tucked-away space is also attached to the hotel’s private event room, which has a little roof terrace of its own. Ashley told us that the room had been used as Big’s apartment in the Sex and the City movie, and pointed out the little details that can be seen in some of the film scenes. The small attached patio shows just as much care and attention to detail as the larger rooftop bar, with potted flowers and warm, giraffe-inspired colors. Staring out at the sunny view, Ashley turned to me and said, “It’s nice to be reminded that this city is not just the place where I live. It’s a magical place. ”
Whenever Rebecca, a member of the Manhattan Sideways team, asked her glamorous college roommate from Arizona where she had bought whatever fabulous item of clothing she was wearing, the answer was always the same... Buffalo Exchange. Founded in 1974 by Kerstin Block in Arizona, it was one of the first used clothing shops to open in the country. The store offers its patrons a place to buy, sell, or trade second-hand garments so that they can find a new life in someone else's wardrobe. Today, Kerstin continues to run her company with the help of her daughter, Rebecca, and they have expanded to forty-seven stores nationwide. The company has maintained its funky, fun vibe and reasonable prices even as it has grown so large.