The apartments on screen that made them want to live in New York | ET REALITY


Moving to New York is almost always a decision based in part on fantasy. It’s impossible to escape the fictional versions of the city that proliferate in books, art, music and, perhaps most vividly, movies and television shows, with their typically romanticized (and typically misleading) depictions of studios with stabilized rents and affordable brownstones. To coincide with T’s issue on New York-themed home design, we asked a handful of designers, architects, and other creatives about the movie and TV interiors that shaped their vision of the city they now call home.

Toshiko Mori, architect: “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)

He moved to New York in the late 1960s.

I came to New York from Japan with my family to attend high school. One of my first assignments at the summer school I attended that year was to write an essay comparing Ira Levin’s 1967 novel “Rosemary’s Baby” to Roman Polanski’s film adaptation. The building in the film is called Bramford, but the exteriors, as is known, were those of the Dakota on the Upper West Side. What caught my attention about the apartments in the film was their aspect of interiority: the way they seemed to harbor secrets. I also remember his little framed views of the New York City skyscrapers. Although the movie is, of course, a horror story and the building turns out to be cursed, “Rosemary’s Baby” only made me more excited about the idea of ​​living in New York. Being from Japan, I was used to stories about ghosts and evil spirits. So, in an absurd way, it made the city feel more familiar.

John Derian, 60, designer and retailer: “Easy Living” (1937)

He moved to New York in 1992.

I was a child who watched all the old movies on television on Saturdays: the one at 12, the one at two, the one at four and, if I could get my way, the one at six. One of my favorites was the screwball comedy “Easy Living,” starring Jean Arthur. The film takes you all over New York through multiple homes, from a mansion on Fifth Avenue to a small room in a boarding house where Arthur’s character lives for seven dollars a week, culminating in a luxurious Hollywood Regency-style suite. at the fictional Hotel Louis with soaring ceilings, a grand piano and an ornate bathtub. “Wow,” I thought. “All this in one city? Sign me up!” I still love the smoke and mirrors of a good set, and I’m basically doing the same thing today in my stores, creating a bit of fantasy.

Stephen Alesch, 57, designer: “Batman” (1989)

He moved to New York in 1994.

Growing up in Milwaukee and then the Los Angeles area, I loved Batman comics. When Tim Burton’s “Batman” came out, I ate it up. The Gotham City of the movie was exaggerated Manhattan and the neo-gothic sets left me speechless. I loved the gloomy, damp streets, the balconies high in the fog, the buttresses and the water towers. One interior that particularly caught my eye was Vicky Vale’s (Kim Basinger) attic, with its shiny tile walls and wide steel arch covered in rivets. During my first stay in New York in 1991, I couch surfed with friends and walked the streets for hours, looking at the Chrysler Building, Tudor City, and the fire escapes of the Lower East Side. I couldn’t help but see the city through a black lens. After a few years I moved permanently to New York and I still push for projects to have rivets and try to add a vaulted buttress whenever I see an opportunity.

Loren Daye, 48, interior designer: “She has to have it” (1986)

He moved to New York in 1996.

I was 21 years old and living in Chicago when I first saw “She’s Gotta Have It.” Much of the film takes place in Fort Greene, but the protagonist, Nola Darling (played by Tracy Camilla Johns), lives in a half-empty loft in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, among pieces of wood, buckets of paint and her collages. The loft is painted almost entirely white and has incredible arched windows and geometric lamps suspended from the ceiling, the entire space anchored by her bed in the center. The bed has a latticed headboard where he lights dozens of candles every night; It’s like a sanctuary to her sexuality. That room was my dream, it represented freedom, honesty and self-realization. A year after seeing the movie, I arrived in New York. In 2003 I finally found a place in Fort Greene and I’m still here.

Billy Cotton, 42, interior designer: “Interiors” (1978)

He moved to New York in 2000.

When I moved to New York to study Russian history at Hunter College I had no idea I would become a designer. But I do remember watching Woody Allen’s “Interiors” (I think my parents had the VHS cassette) when I was a kid in Burlington, Vermont. The matriarch of the story is Eve, an interior designer played by Geraldine Page, and the film’s ramblings of Sparsely Furnished Apartments formed my idea of ​​an extremely glamorous New York. Now, looking back at the film’s spare, monochromatic interiors, I feel that they are strangely prophetic of the current trend of entirely beige, cream and white spaces. But they are also somewhat timeless. This city throws so much visual energy at you on a daily basis and I love the idea of ​​having just a couple of good things that you can take with you from place to place.

Tal Schori, 43 years old, architect: “Hunger” (1983)

He moved to New York in 2003.

I grew up in the suburbs of New York in the 1990s and the city always had a somewhat intimidating appeal to me. This was summed up in the vampire noir “The Hunger,” which I first saw as a teenager. David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve play undead lovers John and Miriam Blaylock, who live in a luxurious pre-war house near Central Park. Dramatically lit through sheer curtains, the house, with its high ceilings, elegant French doors, paneled walls, ornate moldings, and opulent stone wainscoting, exuded a certain languorous luxury and dark transgressiveness. They seduced me. In 2003, I came to New York and rented a modest one-bedroom room in a 1960s brick co-op in Ditmas Park.

Jared Blake, 33, furniture designer and retailer: “Hi, Arnold!” (1996-2004)

He moved to New York in 2005.

For me, Arnold’s room in the Nickelodeon series “Hey Arnold!” It’s legendary. The show is set in a fictional town called Hillwood, but I have no doubt that it is modeled after New York. Arnold had a folding bed, a skylight, track lighting, a giant water dispenser and an original red carpet like the one in “The Shining” (1980), but more mod. I was born in New Jersey and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when I was 7, but I visited New York four times a year to see my father, who lived in Harlem. I think I knew from the beginning that the city was where I was meant to end up. It’s been 16 years since I arrived, and I now realize that I may have subconsciously created my version of Arnold’s room in my apartment in Ridgewood, Queens. I have a folding bed and track lighting, and the whole vibe, like Arnold’s, is very eclectic. I only need the skylight.

Farrah Sit, 41, furniture designer: “9½ Weeks” (1986)

He moved to New York in 2005.

I grew up in Kingston, New York, just two hours away, and as a child, the sensory overload of New York City (the noise, the stench, the heat) was intense for me. So the interiors of “9 ½ Weeks” were a revelation: an expression of austere minimalism and an aspiring art student’s dream. Elizabeth’s art gallery loft was a light-filled box that seemed to float above the chaos of the city. John’s monochromatic, museum-like penthouse, with furniture by Marcel Breuer and Richard Meier, was luxurious and understated. These spaces played with light, shadows and textures, expressing an aesthetic that resonates with me to this day. After 18 years living in New York, I still respond to the intensity of the city by creating a sense of serenity in my work.

Fabiana Faria, 37, retailer: “Las Horas” (2002)

He moved to New York in 2007.

Meryl Streep’s character in “The Hours,” Clarissa Vaughan, lives in a rustic, rambling, flower-filled house in downtown New York, where she often hosts parties. I first saw the movie when she was 14 years old and living with my parents in Caracas, Venezuela. I wanted to believe that one day I would have a house like that in New York, where I could host gatherings of interesting people and be able to walk everywhere, past the butcher or the florist, who knew me. There are several scenes in Clarissa’s wonderful open kitchen, which has a large stove, hanging pots and wooden floors. When I moved to the city, I had no illusions about living in such luxury (I shared a two-bedroom apartment with three other roommates on Roosevelt Island), but I held on to that vision of a warm, lived-in, well-loved New York. . department.

Luam Melake, 36 years old, furniture designer: “Party Girl” (1995)

He moved to New York in 2011.

When I saw “Party Girl” for the first time, I was 22 years old and living in San Francisco. Posey’s character, an aspiring librarian who prioritizes fashion and partying, struck me as a brighter reflection of my life as a clothing-obsessed pseudo-librarian (I worked in a bookstore) who basically made a living just to dress up and spend time. a while. Posey’s character lives in a dingy loft in Chinatown that primarily houses his wardrobe and his record collection. It is a flexible space that she transforms for each party. When I was 24, I moved to New York with just my books and clothes and lived in a series of strange spaces around Chinatown. I was always out and about and absolutely thrilled to be here. I’m still a forward-thinking librarian at Parsons and make flexible furniture designed for better social interactions. I spend less time at parties and more time imagining them.

Minjae Kim, 34 years old, artist and designer: “Basquiat” (1996)

He moved to New York in 2015.

I was in high school in Korea when I first saw artist Julian Schnabel’s “Basquiat,” a film about navigating the New York art scene that seems increasingly authentic to me as time goes on. I was struck by Basquiat’s East Village apartment, covered wall-to-wall with his own work, and the loft apartment of fictional artist Albert Milo (played by Gary Oldman), where art handlers carried paintings large enough to to serve as a backdrop for a theater. I was captivated by the romance of living among one’s own work, in a space oriented towards the creation of art. The film was inevitably a reference for me when I moved from Seoul to Spanish Harlem and even again last year, when I moved to Bed-Stuy, into my first apartment alone.

Eny Lee Parker, 34, furniture designer: “Friends” (1994-2004)

He moved to New York in 2018.

I grew up in Brazil and, like many high school millennials around the world, religiously watched “Friends” to learn English. The apartment decor (the purple walls in Monica’s apartment, the La-Z-Boy chairs in Joey and Chandler’s) didn’t exactly provoke design envy. But I loved how the spaces were a safe and warm environment for these six friends to be themselves. I moved to Williamsburg after I graduated, and funnily enough, it was a lot like “Friends.” Me, my then-husband, my best friend, and her then-boyfriend shared a unicorn of an apartment: a rent-controlled, three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment with a private roof terrace. We went out, ate together and had some parties. I still love the idea of ​​having friends over, ordering Chinese food, and sitting around the coffee table while eating out of takeout containers.

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