51 W 83

By Joy Bergmann

Wannabe models are here and they’re waking the babies.

It all started last week when Deanna Lo looked south from her apartment and noticed stirrings inside 51 West 83rd Street, a luxury townhouse that had long been on the market for $14.8 million. Someone finally moved in, she thought.

Saturday evening, a party filled the townhouse’s back garden. “It was like the East Village or Meatpacking District – millennials – not the Upper West Side. It was over by 10, so I let it go,” she says.

By Sunday night, bright lights had been strung and another whooping gathering took off, says Lo. “Constant cheering, screaming and clapping for hours.” She didn’t know what was going on, but she did know her 4-month old baby had been woken up twice by the mayhem. She called 311 to complain.

Other neighbors took a more direct approach as the noise continued past 11:30pm, according to Lo. “People starting yelling, ‘Shut up!’ ‘Go to sleep!’ ‘Cut it out or I’m calling the cops.’” That sent the revelers scrambling inside.

Monday morning, still furious about her infant’s sleep schedule being messed with, Lo marched over to the building demanding an explanation. She found a weary but apologetic production team explaining that they were making a “reality show” and that they’d try to keep the talent in check.

Lo asked West Side Rag to find out more.

There were no permits issued by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment for this past Sunday. But, as Stephanie Browne, Press Secretary for MOME, says, permits are not required to film on private property. Similarly, shoots with hand-held cameras that do not impede public movements on public property do not require City permits either.

According to the contact on pink permit signs currently up on that 83rd Street block, there will be brief shoot for an independent feature this week, not a reality show.

So, who’s waking the baby?

“It’s America’s Next Top Model,” says Jonathan Stuart, a 40-year resident who owns the two townhouses sandwiching the set’s building. He knows because he rented office space to the production. The lease runs until August 30th. “It’s a great deal for them and a great deal for me.”

The backyard of the brownstone, with what appears to be a catwalk for the models.

The property was built in 1890 and underwent a massive renovation in recent years; it now boasts 6 bedrooms and 8 bathrooms. Stuart thinks it never sold because it was overpriced, and he questioned the wisdom of renting the luxury property to a reality show. A representative for the owner, which is listed as an LLC on city records, was not available for comment.

Stuart agrees with Lo’s assessment of ANTM’s first weekend on the Upper West Side. “It was really annoying,” he says. “I think [the contestants] got instructed to scream a lot. Like Jerry Springer.”

Production staffers on site Monday evening refused to answer WSR’s questions about the project. A message sent to the production manager garnered no response.

“They’re kids who are running the show – can’t be more than 21, 25,” says Stuart. “The last lecture I gave them was: their interns have to be respectful to the neighborhood. They have to understand this is a residential community and we don’t give a f*** about your television show.”

Locals hoping for a glimpse of long-time host, supermodel Tyra Banks, will be out of luck. Banks remains executive producer, but ended her on-camera role when ANTM finished its 22nd season on The CW. VH1 has resurrected the model-search program and installed a new host, singer/actress Rita Ora.

First day of filming today went amazing ???? #nycsummer2016

A photo posted by Rita Ora (@ritaora) on

Stuart hopes neighbors will give the crew a second chance, “They’re good guys, but they’re young. Experience is a great teacher.”

Standing on his back porch overlooking the set’s garden ­– complete with what appears to be a mini-catwalk – he vows to enforce good behavior. “I have no problem picking up that hose and using it.”

Photos by Joy Bergmann.

NEWS | 30 comments | permalink
    1. Chuck D says:

      “A representative for the owner, which is listed as an LLC on city records, was not available for comment.”

      Why are you shielding the name of the owner or the LLC? Perhaps one of your readers would like to discuss this with them.

    2. JDP says:

      Hell hath no fury than a restless newborn’s mom.

      • Olskoo says:

        It’s just like the real New York except with worse people, mall stores…. and of course those mom’s pushing strollers like they’re weapons, which they actually are. Slow down and smile, mommas!

    3. Nathan says:

      The LLC appears to be “Townhouse West 83rd, LLC”. Someone else could probably figure out how to contact the LLC’s representative, but as noted, they likely won’t reveal the owner’s identity.

    4. Siddhartha says:

      Saturday evening, a party filled the townhouse’s back garden. “It was like the East Village or Meatpacking District – millennials – not the Upper West Side.”

      Lines like that are infuriating to people like myself who grew up and currently live on the UWS (in my mid-20s, thank you). While I don’t consider myself a ‘millenial,’ I am still of that generation, and find it insulting.

      • uppawestsidah says:

        of course you’re insulted; you’re a millennial – everything to you is an insult if it doesn’t come along with a trophy, a like, or some twitter follower… stop complaining

    5. anon says:

      This is news? Lol. And the UWS is home to a lot of millenials – and people who stay up and make noise past 11:30pm. No one else is obliged to to cater to a newborn’s sleep (and I say that as someone expecting a baby in December).

      • Independent says:

        Quiet Hours in all five boroughs of New York City, as specified in Local Law 113, are from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. Reasonable noise levels are expected at all times.


        • lynn says:

          This may be true but it’s not enforceable. I moved from the UES to UWS when York Avenue became known as’dorm row,’ and I can attest to the fact that landlords and the police didn’t give a damn about the noise. Unfortunately I’ve encountered the same problem on the UWS so nothing about this article surprised me.

          • Independent says:

            I have no reason to doubt your experience, which would indeed to appear to be all-too typical. But just because a law may not be enforced does not mean that it is unenforceable. Presumably, the law-in-question could be enforced, at least to a considerably greater degree than it is currently. Of course, that would require the will and resources to do so.

            Have you filed 311 noise complaints?

            (I wish you well and will thank you now for any followup you may post in this thread, as it will likely be closed to new comments before I have a chance to come back to it.)

      • EricaC says:

        Congratulations! And you may feel different about it when you’ve gone six months without sleep. I thought all nighters were fun before children. Afterwards, not so much.

        Best of luck to you. Having kids is great. (Genuinely.)

        • anonymous says:

          no human can go 6 months without sleep and no, months of spotty sleep isn’t going to start making me an entitled brat like so many other moms are

          • mother says:

            Ha you’re in for a treat! You won’t get continuous sleep for awhile unless you’re lucky. Before you know it you will give death stares to people folding the newspaper when your baby is sleeping.

            • EricaC says:

              Well bless your heart! If you can’t take some gentle ribbing, given with genuine good wishes, you’re going to have trouble having a kid. All of us are so confident before they come along. As one of my mother’s friends used to say when pregnant women were rude to her, “may you have a climber!” (But for your neighbors sake, may you not have a child with colic. I have a feeling spotty sleep won’t wear well on you.)

    6. Lisa B says:

      Thank you Jonathon and Victor for keeping our street safe for and from models!

      • Dan Dubno says:

        Haven’t we suffered enough on W. 83rd street? We need this show and the constant traffic annoyances and the honking and noise like a hole in the head. As for the show, America needs this vapidity even less. The builders that renovated the townhouse were completely unprofessional and violated every code and Landmarks ruling in the process… and build a big red elephant they can’t sell… and the neighbors who were very patient during the process are now justifiably losing their good nature.

    7. MJK says:

      Waaah! People are making noise at 10pm in the biggest city in the country. Waaah! Models are taking over one apartment in one building on one block in one neighborhood! Waah! Why WOULD millennials want to live in a community full of NIMBY middle aged cranks?! Your screaming children annoy me. Think I’ll call 311. Next time your kids get out of line on my block, “I have no problem picking up that hose and using it” to enforce good behavior.

      • bravo says:

        MJK, I’m with you. They talk about the UWS as if it were a bedroom community upstate and everyone has to obey their made-up rules and their shrieking bundles of joy.

      • Independent says:

        So, then, I take it you would be just fine if your upstairs or next-door neighbors were to regularly throw loud, wild parties at all hours of the night? Good to know. (They might want to save this post of yours…)

        As to the claim of “made-up rules”, made by the poster “bravo”, I refer to my previous post above; maintaining reasonable levels of quiet between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM is mandated by law. (Additionally, the same or a similar stipulation is found in many leases and co-op and the rules of many co-ops and condos).

        P.S. We were all once “shrieking bundles of joy”. And if people stopped bringing such nuisances into the world, we would die-out as a species.

    8. Upper West Side Wally says:

      Gristede’s has a sale on eggs…

      • LH says:

        Eggs, you say?

      • Ed says:

        Ha Ha Ha. While I love the egg idea, I think you can save some money by tossing water balloons. A bag of those bad boys is considerably cheaper. Now, read carefully. Being a prep school graduate I know about all things mischief. The trick with a water balloon is that you leave a small pocket of air in the balloon. If the sack is completely full of water, there is a good chance of it just bouncing off it’s target. However with a little air…….KABOOM!

    9. Independent says:

      Maybe this modeling/ “reality TV” project could make a deal with the Trumps: Help The Donald’s campaign, in return for help with a larger space, better situated and suited for this endeavor (perhaps even Trump Tower or the like). A bonus could be these folks benefiting from the experience of the lovely Melania and/or Ivanka in modeling and the experience of our hopefully soon-to-be Glorious Leader Donald in “reality TV”. A win-win all around.

      All for Trump and Trump for All!

      • dannyboy says:

        Glorious Leader!

        ‘Glorious Leader!’: Kim Jong Un to Star in His Own Video Game (NBC News MAY 15 2014)

        “List of Kim Jong-il’s titles
        (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia):

        When Kim Jong-il, former leader of North Korea, is mentioned in North Korean media and publications, he is not simply addressed by name. At least one special title is used

    10. dannyboy says:

      “It’s a great deal for them and a great deal for me.”

      Kinda’ losses that Neighborhood feeling.

    11. Frustrated says:

      Ms. Lo’s comment is a rather sad commentary on this community. “Saturday evening, a party filled the townhouse’s back garden. “It was like the East Village or Meatpacking District – millennials – not the Upper West Side. It was over by 10, so I let it go,” she says.”

      This woman is upset about a party in someone’s private garden, with people under 40, until 10pm, ON A SATURDAY?

      I initially thought this was a tongue in cheek comment, but realized my mistake! Please, do look around, and notice that the neighborhood is thankfully attracting folks who are opening restaurants and bars that bring a fresh feeling to the UWS. With this will come people who enjoy being in these establishments after dark. This is a good thing.

      If it’s quiet you want, on a Saturday, before 10PM, consider many of the fine areas outside of the city.

      • Jess says:

        OH how I wish this entire “residential neighborhood” was FILLED to the brim with silent grey haired, practical-shoe-wearing ladies (and gentlemen) who retire by 8pm every night with a cup of tea and a good book? Yes, that would be so much better

        This is city living. If you don’t like being so close to your neighbors, live somewhere else!

        • Independent says:

          You sound awfully disdainful of the elderly (esp. of the well-cultured and genteel elderly). Do you expect to still be partying like it’s NINETEEN-NINETY-NINE after your hair has turned white?