The cozy couple stroking a Labradoodle in their tastefully furnished glass box high above Williamsburg catches your eye on the street to remind you: money feels good. Yet visiting these glass boxes is the surest tonic to disabuse you of this specious truth. 101 Bedford, with its massive gym and massive roof, promises to vault you into an equally massive monoculture. Does your rat maze have built-in Bose speakers? Or a view of McCarren Park?
Everyone who makes the glass boxes and everyone who lives in the glass boxes agrees: the glass boxes themselves are all the same. What separates some glass boxes from others are the things you have in your glass box that your Facebook friends back in Utica probably don't. Glass box expansion packs. Amenities. For tenants who can afford to live in 101 Bedford, where studios start at around $2,700 a month and one-bedrooms jump to the mid-$3,000s, every day must be Extra Mooga. To actually use the amenities costs an extra $60/month, or $600/year.
"We have a lot of freelancers and entrepreneurs here," leasing agent Joe Ackerman said on a recent tour of the four-building complex. "Most of them do web stuff—tech. I have a real estate guy, he sits up on the roof in a Speedo and makes deals all day."
A majority of the year-old building's 350 units are leased, but Ackerman says there are about to be a few vacancies.
I asked Ackerman if leasing the building was difficult. "No," he replied.
The building's 24-hour lobby features cold storage units so you don't have to be physically present when your grocery order arrives. The sidewalks outside are heated. While we stood in the lobby, a doorman wordlessly produced a plate of brownies for a woman who approached the front desk.
The small, simple joy of turning a key to a private metal box and revealing its mysterious contents has been outsourced to touchscreens, which tell residents if they have mail or packages inside their disco mailboxes.
The common workspace is reminiscent of an airport lounge. "It offers quite the alternative to a WeWork space," Michelle Mazzarella, a marketing agent for 101 Bedford, told us.
The rec room has two pool tables and several flatscreen TVs. It closes at midnight on weeknights and 1 a.m. during the weekend, but if you wanted to stay up a little later so you can finish your movie
with your suitemates, Ackerman said, "that would be OK."
101 Bedford's pet spa is first-come, first-serve. We were unable to meet anyone who can afford to pay for a pet spa as an amenity yet insists on bathing and grooming their pets themselves.
"There are buildings that all have the same things, but they are less than half the size," Ackerman said, as he walked around the kids' playroom, which was eerily spotless. "You think you have it but you really don't. It's just a marketing tool. But here, you can actually use it."
Ackerman estimates there are 20-30 families with children who are growing up in 101 Bedford.
The building recently got a recording studio and a photo studio, which have to be booked in advance for an additional fee.
In a release announcing the new amenities, 101 Bedford's co-developer Yoel Sabel said that “our building has become a hub of creativity in the same way certain residences in Soho and Greenwich Village were years ago,” as if the next Pete Seeger is carrying his Fresh Direct bags to the elevator, or Basquiat is wiping sweat off the elliptical.
"There's a lot of artistic residents who need to be thinking about their art, not worrying about where they're going to find space," Mazzarella added.
Bike storage is free, and the jumbled mass of steel offered a rare display of genuine human expression.
Residents can also buy additional storage in the bike room for $125/month. Ackerman's boast that freelancers inhabit the building may have some truth to it: one cage was filled to the brim with brand new shoeboxes.
101 Bedford's large rooftop has commanding views of Manhattan, at least until more buildings swallow up the waterfront.
Cabanas, chairs, and grills make for a classically suburban grilling experience
Each resident is allowed four guests to join them on the roof.
A "mini beach" lines a row of chairs facing the Downtown Brooklyn skyline. The building also hosts BBQs and yoga sessions at sunset.
Ackerman told us that a man proposed to his girlfriend atop this elevator tower. "I was in the middle of a showing and I looked up and there they were, doing the whole thing," he said. "Then I went back downstairs and all of his friends are in the rec room."
Units with balconies facing the courtyard are pricier than the units facing Bedford Avenue. Units with terraces cost more.
This penthouse, one of 14, costs roughly $6,000/month to rent.
The view from a $6,000, 1,200-square foot penthouse.
The kitchen in the penthouse. All of the building's kitchens employ the green color scheme. "It's a '70s thing," Ackerman shrugged.
The 326 square-foot terraces add another $1,000/month to the cost of a penthouse.
This studio facing McCarren Park is $2,700/month.
Each of the four residential towers has a card/coin-operated laundry room; there are also connections in each apartment for residents to install their own washer/dryer.
The pool, which is open until 11 p.m. on weekends, is staffed with a lifeguard. On our visit, she was blasting "Bitch Better Have My Money" while a toddler happily splashed and squealed.
101 Bedford's gym is huge and smells like an Expensive Gym. Perhaps as a result, no guests of residents are allowed to use it.
The men's and women's locker rooms both have the kind of saunas you'd find in casino spas: tasteful, yet unnecessary (though they are likely nice in the winter time).
A parking space is $250/month.
The screening room seats 29 people, a lot more than your rich uncle's screening room.
There is also a golf simulator.
The wine tasting room, where we're told local restaurants come in to offer samples to residents.
The large party room must be booked in advance.
The two-hour tour ended with the ATM in the lobby. The fee is $2.00.