Full gym. Recording studio. Digital multimedia lab. Free high-speed Internet.
Those are just some of the free amenities available at a new condo development called the Castle Braid. Described on its website as “a vision of a seamless interplay between the individual and the vibrant collective they’ve helped to create,” Castle Braid is one of many luxury buildings cropping up in Brooklyn as “live/work” spaces: apartments made for artists to function as both home and studio.
Aside from amenities, the building’s construction is, well, playful. Outside, Castle Braid’s brick façade is a mosaic of reds, yellows, and blues, with a lobby plated in glass at both entrances—one in the front leading into the building proper and one in the back leading into the private courtyard. Yes, a private courtyard. The two story lobby features art created by tenants, and an overhead walkway with several futuristic bubble chairs suspended from the ceiling.
The place, with all its shine and impeccable accessorizing, looks… rich. Most people would love to snatch up an apartment in such a nice development. Some might hesitate, however, when they find out that these luxurious condos are nestled in the heart of Bushwick.
Castle Braid cuts a rather absurd figure on Troutman Street. If it were anywhere else—Tribeca, the Lower East Side, hell, even Williamsburg—it wouldn’t be so out of place. But, because it is surrounded by standard Bushwick real estate on all sides (six family houses, converted townhouses and the like), its polished finish seems ostentatious, almost clownish.
Don’t get me wrong—I would love to live at Castle Braid. Like I said, it’s dressed to the nines. But at a solid $2,000 a month, that’s not happening any time soon.
When I paid Castle Braid a visit last Saturday for a Comedy Festival, there was a very clear sense of where I was going as soon as I walked onto the block. The lobby is clearly visible from the street at night because of the floor-to-ceiling windows and the bright lighting; inside, it was bustling with young, professional hipster types, while neighborhood families watched from their stoops.
As I walked inside, a security guard opened the door for me and smiled. In one corner, a makeshift bar advertised $2 PBRs. In the other, a handful of people sat chatting quietly. Directly in front of me was the show.
At worst, the comedians were harmless. At best, funny. Nothing in particular stuck in my mind except for the final comedian, Julian McCullough, who put in words what I had been thinking the entire night:
“When you’re walking here, there’s just dirt where sidewalk should be and then a $1,000,000 condo… Why didn’t you just build this in Haiti?”