One of the strangest and most contentious building conversions in recent NYC real estate history is now complete and available for dissection. Greek shipping heir Alastair Economakis and his wife Catherine sent East Village old-timers into a tizzy four years ago when they announced plans to turn an East 3rd Street apartment building into their own single-family home. Tenants, many of them in rent-controlled apartments, were given a generous period of time (and, by some accounts, a nice sum of money) to move out, but the outrage lingered over another perceived nail in the East Village’s bohemian coffin.
Well, the Economakis clan moved in last month, and quickly opened their mansion to Villager reporter Lincoln Anderson, whose account of the new interior trappings probably won’t win the owners any new friends. “The kitchen overlooks an airy living room that’s two stories high: Obviously, a whole section of the second floor was removed to create this space,” write Anderson. He also seems mystified by “an upside-down river of beams” bisecting the living room. Also, there’s a “wrestling room” devoted entirely to horseplay. That last feature suggests that even if it’s too late to reverse course on the building, the Economakis family still has a fight on its hands.