When is an over-sized white elephant not a McMansion? When it’s designed to the exquisite taste of Robert Stern

Over there in Westchester the Bronx (who moved Riverdale?) where the expression “building border to border” was first refined, the architectural world’s largest ego is busy cramming houses into a new “community”. Robert A.M. Stern has completed the first two of a possible 15 (there’s always the hope that bankruptcy will save Riverdale) 12,000 sq. foot hunks of timber and stone and declared them “New Urbanism”. Others call them dreck but Stern is quick to point out the difference: him.

When asked to explain the difference between the houses of Villanova Heights and so-called McMansions, Mr. Stern said: “This is not a house for the Sopranos. These houses have fine detailing; they are based on creative interpretation of traditional designs.”

That settles that. Tony S. wouldn’t appreciate the fine nuances at play here.

[Stern]  said that Villanova Heights was the kind of development that New Urbanists “would like to see happen around the country, where you have a relatively small property and the houses have a strong relationship to street, with clearly identified front doors.”

I know nothing about “New Urbanism” but it sounds like a school of thought peopled by liberals, in which case, the Stern development may indeed be exactly the type of village the practitioners themselves would like to live in, but the rest of us, the “Little Folk” will have to make do with more modest bungalows. I don’t think Riverdale can accommodate all of us if we choose houses this size. There’s always New Rochelle, I suppose.

Next up: Stern teams with The Donald to create “Tent City”.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “When is an over-sized white elephant not a McMansion? When it’s designed to the exquisite taste of Robert Stern

  1. anthonyfountain

    Riverdale is in the Bronx.

  2. GideonFountain

    Hooray! Chris Fountain is picking on Westchester builders (instead of our beleaguered local fellows). Let’s hope this is a trend. Next up, New Jersey!

  3. Unless the border was moved without it making the news, Riverdale is in the Bronx, not Westchester. I think the development belongs in New Jersey, but that’s just me.

  4. lorin

    who needs a garden or a swing set anyway…or space to play softball with the whole neighborhood till way past dark….safely.

  5. pulled up in OG

    Robert A. M. Stern: “We thought of everything.”

    Heard that before.

  6. GideonFountain

    Border was moved, wise guys…didn’t you read about it?

  7. Walt

    Dude –
    Riverdale is the same as Cos Cob. With better places to eat, and mass transit access.
    It might be a great location for the first BJ O’Toole’s.
    OFF TO HAPPY HOUR!!!
    Your Pal,
    Walt

  8. Accolay

    I don’t think Chris even needs to make fun of NJ… they make fun of themselves, intended or not.

  9. Front Row Phil

    I heard New Jersey has just declared war on Greenwich! It’s all your fault, Chris.

  10. Anonymous

    Which part of this article did you write?

    ‘Decline in home sales continues’
    http://www.greenwichtime.com/localnews/ci_12542170
    “Still, she’s positive (Julianne Ward) “It feels to me like the dam is almost breaking and it comes in spurts.” ”
    Always choose a positive realtor to help you make good judgements, I always say.

    “Greenwich market won’t be in free-fall for long”

    How long is long, Chris?
    What does free-fall mean, Chris?

  11. fred

    I dont know why u are so prickly about this. The same crap is being built in Riverside albeit on 1/2 acre lots.

  12. Anonymous

    http://www.villanovaheights.com/the-homes.html

    Don’t worry, you don’t even have to buy to live there, you can lease one instead! For only $3ok/mo. on a one year lease…or maybe less than that, for less than a year even!

    Smells like desperation to me.

    “Are you looking for luxury living on a temporary basis? Our estates at Villanova Heights will also be available for lease. Perfect for the traveling executive, celebrity, or diplomat, we will provide fully furnished, extravagant homes complete with maid service, grounds keeping, and pool maintenance. We are prepared to provide the highest level of quality living to the most demanding of A-List clients. Although your estate will be tucked away in the quiet privacy of our remarkable community, we can also offer 24-hour security for famous clients who may be targets of the media and want to maintain a low profile throughout their stay in New York.

    We are not opposed to discussing any amenities or services that will make your stay more enjoyable. Leasing contract periods are negotiable. Preferably, we would like to lease these properties for no less than one year, and a maximum of five years. Although we are happy to cater to one-time visitors, we also seek the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with our clientele.

    Our leases are expected to start at $30,000, although your chosen property, the services you require, furnishings, and the length of your lease will all be pricing factors. Again, our goal is to ensure that our clients experience the most lavish living available, not only in New York, but the world. When you chose us to make your dreams a reality, believe that we will stop at nothing to make your stay unforgettable. If you are planning an extended trip to New York City and want to experience the absolute highest level of luxury living in your own private dream home, please call us for more information and leasing arrangements at 914.375.1270.”