Sr. Vice President
Gregory J. Heym
Executive Vice President, Chief Economist
By Jonathan Scheff
Tribeca's transformation from the butter and eggs district to sought-after downtown destination has been going on for decades, but a recent boom in development has some worried that what drew them to the neighborhood are at risk.
The influx of residents is overburdening fine public schools, creating more congestion on streets and sidewalks and diluting the area's Old World character.
Still, TriBeCa charms those who visit and choose to move there. It's close to the open spaces along the Hudson River and has fine restaurants and high-end shops, set amid cobblestone streets and beautifully designed 19th-century warehouse buildings.
The neighborhood has bounded back since the terrorist attacks on the nearby World Trade Center nearly six years ago. Real estate prices are sky high and hotels and buildings are sprouting up like mad.
Among the economic forces that have influenced the neighborhood are investments by actor Robert De Niro, who began the Tribeca Film Festival (which opened Wednesday), invested in real estate and restaurants, and is erecting the Greenwich Hotel.
The redevelopment of Ground Zero also is contributing to resurgence of the area, with a new transportation hub, residential and commercial construction and cultural institutions planned on TriBeCa's southern border.
"When I came to TriBeCa five years ago, I was staying at the TriBeCa Grand, and I remember waking up in the morning and feeling like I was in Paris," said Nancy Schaefer, managing director of the festival.
A smattering of artists and 'pioneer' residents remain from the days when TriBeCa was an untamed neighborhood with few amenities, but they are being squeezed out by newcomers with big bucks to spend on renovating lofts and plopping large apartments on top of residential buildings. . "It's not all people sipping Chardonnay on their terraces," said Sherri Kronfeld, marketing manager of The Flea Theater on White Street.
TriBeCa runs from Canal Street to Vesey Street, between Broadway and the Hudson River. Bordering neighborhoods inlcude SoHo and West Village to the north and Battery Park City and the Financial District to the south.
If you do nothing else in TriBeCa, eat. As famous for its restaurants as it is for its idyllic streetscapes, the neighborhood houses some of New York's finest eateries, from the grand and upscale to the old-fashioned corner diner.
105 Hudson St.
No one can discuss the TriBeCa dining scene without mentioning Nobu, the celebrated Japanese restaurant.
305 Church St.
Inexpensive and delicious, this Chinese canteen is best known in the area for its sandwiches such as the variety with short ribs and kimchi.
The Gee Whiz
295 Greenwich St..
The Gee Whiz manages to present a classic diner feel while pleasing patrons of all tastes, with breakfast and grill standards as well as enormous specialty sandwiches.
136 W. Broadway
Another staple of TriBeCa, the patio at Edward's never empties during warm weather, where locals and visitors sip on Bloody Marys and revel in the relative tranquility of lower Manhattan.
253 Church St.
A small, elegant restaurant with TriBeCa takes on Korean fare such as bulgogi and jap che, receives superlative reviews from residents, including one newcomer who said, "I have tried most of the restaurants in TriBeCa and this one is by far my favorite."
2 Harrison St.
As elegant and curious as the mushroom after which it is named, this keystone of TriBeCa dining offers chef David Waltuck's interpretations of French cuisine such as sea scallops with mint and cucumber.
"They kind of roll the sidewalks up a bit after the work day," said Jason Kakter, who works in the area. In such a family-oriented neighborhood, many residents go to SoHo or the West Village for nightlife. "But there are places; you just have to look for them," said Sherri Kronfeld, marketing manager of The Flea Theater, who often frequents the Tribeca Tavern with her co-workers. "We definitely hang out in the area," she said. "We don't have to leave."
16 N. Moore St.
This pub has become as famous for its popularity as its setting, located between the former residence of John F. Kennedy Jr. and the firehouse where the movie Ghostbusters was filmed. IT has great burgers, too.
Tribeca Tavern & Cafe
247 W. Broadway
A laid-back tavern that attracts many of the artists on White Street as well as a fair representation of suits from Wall Street, this watering hole occupies an entire city block, with two lounges and a pool table.
78-82 Reade St.
A watering hole of different sorts, Mocca has been dishing up coffee concoctions, pastries and Mediterranean fare.
241 W. Broadway
The staff of the TriBeCa Film Festival often frequents this French bistro for a bottle of wine after the work day. Residents swear by this multifunctional restaurant as a great dining spot or evening hang-out.
Due to residential conversions of commercial spaces, the graphic design company where Aaron Tilford works now has to move for the third time. "Visible businesses-ground level businesses like boutiques and restaurants-are coming in, but invisible businesses are going away," he said.
103 Franklin St.
Stocked with designer labels and Alan's own line, this retailer dresses the neighborhood's young professionals for weekends and nights on the town.
393 Greenwich St.
One of many boutiques in the area, Trunkt makes the combination of gallery and retailer that is characteristic of SoHo, TriBeCa and Chelsea.
22 Cortlandt St.
This warehouse of designer bargains is ubiquitously synonymous with "shopping" in all over the world.
165 Church St.
This family-owned smoke shop imports handmade cigars from their factory in the Dominican Republic.
Tent & Trail
21 Park Place
Separate from the popular shopping streets of northern TriBeCa, this camping store offers gear, shoes, guides and more.
Tribeca Film Festival
Box office: 866-941-FEST
Founded by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal in response to the attacks of 9/11, the festival is now in its fifth year. A combination of screenings, director talks and free public events, the festival will run this year from April 25 to May 6. This year's Drive-In, a series of free outdoor screenings and events, will include the 20th anniversary of "Dirty Dancing," "Surf's Up" with a luau and "Planet B-Boy" with a Korean b-boy team and a break-dance tribute to James Brown.
The Flea Theater
41 White St.
Box office: 212-226-2407
An off-off-Broadway theater started by Jim Simpson, The Flea features new works often with a political bent, from the likes of A.R. Gurney and Adam Rapp. The space also houses a second theater, The Bats, featuring the cream of New York's nonequity actors. The theater also hosts free events such as Music with a View, Dance Conversations and screenwriting workshops.
Manhattan Children's Theater
52 White St.
Another gem on White Street, the theater performs plays with puppetry, live action and audience participation.
United Artists Theatre
102 North End Ave.
Damien Gray of Citi Habitats swears by the UA Theater as TriBeCa's best-kept secret: a clean cinema with tickets always available and no lines.
Battery Park City
TriBeCa residents flock here for the outdoor amenities, including lawns for sun bathing, ballfields and a bike path along the Hudson.
"If you bought 10 years ago, can you buy into the neighborhood now? No. But it's a community here, because of the people who have been here forever: artists and business people," said Damien Gray, a real-estate agent with Citi Habitats.
Jonathan Phillips, a Vice President at Halstead Property, mirrored Gray's sentiments: "There's not a lot of stuff that is a bargain. If buyers go a few blocks east of Broadway, between City Hall and the Financial District, they'll find properties under the prices in TriBeCa, like 50 Pine Street: a similar kind of property, but at half the price."
Phillips noted that the new demographics are "well-educated families with extremely high incomes."
"But we've seen a couple generations grow up and go through TriBeCa: a lot of second and third generation artists, attorneys -- people who grabbed on and held on."
One-bedroom apartment sales average $840,642, according to Gregory Heym of Terra Holdings. Two-bedrooms cost $1,825,047 and three-bedrooms run at $3,191,333.
Lofts, usually discussed in price-per-square-foot, average $1,094 per square foot, with an average cost of $1,956,500.
Studio rentals will cost $2,340 in TriBeCa or SoHo, according to data from Citi Habitats. One-bedrooms rent for $3,372, two-bedrooms for $5,344 and three-bedrooms for $7,098.
Recent sales from Halstead Property
A 1,800-square-foot, one-bedroom loft on Lispenard St. between Church and Broadway: $1,695,000
A 1,831-square-foot, two-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom condo on Leonard Street between Church Street and Broadway: $2,250,000
A 1,787-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo on Hubert Street between Hudson and Collister streets: $2,795,000
A 2,420-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom condo on Laight Street between Washington and West streets: $3,100,000
A 4,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom condo on Jay Street between Greenwich and Staple streets: $5,995,000
Current rentals from streeteasy.com
A 1,543-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo at 200 Chambers St. for $15,000 per month
A three-bedroom, two-bathroom duplex loft at 36 Laight St. for $11,500 per month
A 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom loft at 146 Duane St. for $8,150 per month
A 1,800-square-foot, two-story loft with one bedroom and one bathroom at 45 Lispenard St. for $6,250 per month
A 1,300-square-foot loft with one bedroom and one bathroom at 41 White St. for $4,800 per month
Like many neighborhoods in Manhattan, the frenzy of development causes all the neighborhood buzz. New projects such as 101 Warren and 200 Chambers bring the din of construction, but they will also herald a much-anticipated Whole Foods. But all that construction -- and the families it continues to bring to the neighborhood -- continues to challenge space-deprived schools, which are among the city's best.
Old-time residents remain baffled at the extreme rise of prices in the neighborhood, and locals across the spectrum note the increased foot traffic due to tourists visiting Ground Zero, which is on the neighborhood's souther fringe.
Laura Stevens, executive director of the Manhattan Children's Theatre on White Street, lives in TriBeCa with her husband and children.
What do you love about TriBeCa?
Great schools, great restaurants, great parks ... I don't know if it's as good for non-families, but for 30-somethings, it still has an edge to it and a cool feeling, with the Nobus and Montrachets. I like the fact that I can not go above 14th St. Up there, everything is intense. I can't imagine living somewhere else in New York and not being annoyed.
Who lives in the neighborhood?
Over the past five years, there has been a huge growth of families. It's become the new hub of families -- or rather, New York families. I have a 2-1/2 year old and I'm 37 and that's average. There are good parks and you can walk around here, like a real neighborhood.
In an area famous for its restaurants, can you pick a few favorites?
Cercle Rouge started a couple years ago, and then they realized that there are lots of families here, so they adapted and brought in clowns, but they also had a great burlesque show at New Year's two years ago. They have great food, a cool atmosphere.
Of course, I love Nobu for the sushi, and other staples: Odeon, Edward's, Danube. A new place, Petrarca, is doing great.
Are there any issues affecting the area?
It's growing so quickly that there aren't enough schools, especially middle schools. And there's only one grocery store for all of these people. The Whole Foods [arriving soon near the World Financial Center] will absolutely help. Concerning the filming and construction in the area, it is what it is. I think people are used to that.
As a theater person, what would you recommend in the area?
The Flea Theater, which is just finishing an Adam Rapp play, has a hidden gem, The Bats, a company of very talented non-equity actors. There are the Battery Dance Company, SoHo Photo Gallery … you can check www.walkonwhite.com for all the theater and arts in the area.
Transportation: The 1, 2, 3, A, C and E trains all make stops in the northeast corner of the neighborhood. Buses 1, 6, 20 and 22 also serve the area.
Crime: The 1st Precinct is one square mile including TriBeCa, Battery Park City, City Hall and Wall Street. The region's crime has dropped from 3,048 total cases in 2001 to 2,016 in 2006. Robbery decreased from 192 to 120 incidences, as did assault (167 to 90), burglary (426 to 253), grand larceny (2,100 to 1,470) and grand larceny auto (157 to 77). The numbers of murder and rape cases remained the same, at one and five, respectively.
Schools: PS 150 (PK-5), 334 Greenwich St., 212-732-4392; PS 234 (K-5), 292 Greenwich St., 212-233-6034; other schools near TriBeCa include Battery Park City's PS 89 (PK-5) and PS 289 (6-8), both at 201 Warren St., 212-571-5659, and Stuyvesant High School (9-12), 345 Chambers St., 212-312-4800.
Post office: Canal Street Station, 350 Canal St., 212-925-3378
Library: New Amsterdam Branch, 9 Murray St., 212-732-8186
Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.
Thursday, April 26, 2007