A Rare Peek Inside Tribeca's Eclectic Lofts

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When I walk around the streets of Manhattan, I like to engage in one of my more secret New York City hobbies: stealing furtive glances up at apartments. From a richly toned small abode filled corner-to-corner with tchotchkes, trinkets and artwork to an austere condo decorated with modern furniture and bare light fixtures, I am endlessly curious to see the way my fellow New Yorkers inhabit their domestic spaces. Perhaps, in a place where residential square footage is at a premium, we city dwellers are all a little more naturally voyeuristic when it comes to real estate.

The Friends of Duane Park's 12th annual "Inside Tribeca" loft tour on Oct. 16 is the perfect way to satisfy these interests in the name of charity. For the price of dinner and drinks-$50 in advance or $55 day of-tour takers will have the rare opportunity to step inside more than 10 Tribeca lofts while helping preserve and maintain the second-oldest public park in New York City.

"If I went to a foreign city for the day and I had the chance to see how 10 or more people live-I can think of no better way to get to know an area," Jennifer McAllister-Nevins, co-chair of the tour, observed.

McAllister-Nevins also pointed out that the eclectic domiciles featured for the event-from a home displaying the works of artists Keith Haring and Andy Warhol to a first floor mixed-used gallery, studio and home in the former New York Egg Auction Building-are as diverse as the Tribeca community itself.

"Yes, things have changed in Tribeca but we have retained that sense of community and our diversity is essential," said McAllister-Nevins. "We are a neighborhood made up of artists, families, single people, couples?We have megalofts but we also have lofts for families of four who are trying to make it in the city and aren't multimillionaires."

Marina Galazidis, whose Duane Street apartment is featured on the tour, gives new meaning to the communal nature of this fundraiser. She has lived on the same street in the neighborhood for nearly her entire life. Her mother, landscape architect Signe Nielsen, who owns a few floors in the same building, redesigned Duane Park in the 1990s. Her stepfather, architect Roy Alony, designed Galazidis' loft. With exposed brick walls, light maple wood floors and few doors, Galazidis wanted to maintain the feeling of openness that characterizes many loft spaces.

One of the hallmarks of the tour this year is a home with a "boxes within boxes" architectural style, notes the "Inside Tribeca" press release. As McAllister-Nevins explained it, a family was able to carve a duplex unit into a network of smaller areas and nooks, giving it the appearance of a larger footprint.

"It is cut up into five different levels. You walk in and think it has only two bedrooms, and then you walk down a flight of stairs and see another two bedrooms," McAllister-Nevins said.

For those whose interest is piqued, order your tickets with haste. The organization caps the number of tickets sold to 400 to control foot traffic, and they usually sell out. Tickets to the self-guided tour, which comes with a description of the buildings by local historian Oliver Allen and a short paragraph on the highlights of each apartment, are available at www.duanepark.org or can be purchased on the day of the tour at 12:30 p.m. at the park.

An apartment with a stunning art collection with works by Keith Haring and Andy Warhol. Photos courtesy of the Friends of Duane Park

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