Tucked between the High Line and a $20 million penthouse atop a high-rise designed by French architect Jean Nouvel is one of New York's least-known prisons, the Bayview Correctional Facility. The once medium-security, all-female lockup was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and is now available to the right buyer. And with the glut of tiny studios renting for exorbitant prices all over Manhattan, you won't even have to knock down walls between cells to make apartments.
An eight-story brick edifice with terrace views of the Statue of Liberty, an indoor pool, and charming murals that encourage the incarcerated (“You can change your life by altering your thoughts”), it is a unique property planted in one of the toniest neighborhoods of Manhattan. Not far from Chelsea Piers and many restaurants (Pluck's favorite: Hill Country Barbecue), this is a prime opportunity for the real estate magnate with imagination. Why gut a building with such character? Manhattan loves gimmicky bars (at least for a year or two) so imagine a club based in a closed women's prison. (I think I saw that movie once, late on cable).
It once housed 153 women serving time for robbery and assault. They were evacuated prior to the storm, but superintendent Wendy Featherstone rode out the storm on a second floor cot. No one was injured during the flooding, but the entire first floor was flooeded. The $600,000 worth of flood damage is still being abated, as the facility was already slated to be closed as a cost-cutting measure.
It's time for a millionaire criminal mastermind to step in and make the best use of this property, or perhaps a budding billionaire superhero. If Batman owned Arkham Asylum, I bet the Joker wouldn't escape every weekend to wreak havoc. As for crime writers, there are a few who could afford the property and turn it into a museum-slash-learning institution where criminal justice and criminal writing could both be taught. Whaddaya say, Patricia Cornwell? I'm sure there are plenty of aspiring forensics students and crime writers who'd love to apply for a sabbatical at the newly renovated Bayview retreat.