Walking into Cindy Gallop's New York City apartment, you wouldn't guess it was once a room used by the YMCA. In fact, the more than 3,000-square-foot bachelorette pad at Apt 6S, 213 W. 23rd St., is a true departure from the room's modest past. The historic YMCA of Greater New York building was reportedly sold in 2000 and that Y branch left the premises by 2003. The building was divided into 12 apartments and one, measuring more than 3,000 square feet, became the birthplace of what would eventually be dubbed "The Black Apartment."
However, the conception of Gallop's brainchild did not begin there. Rewind a couple years earlier to Gallop sitting at the Glamour Bar in Shanghai, sipping her second martini. It was there, while visiting one of her favorite places in the world, enjoying her favorite drink, that she thought to herself, "I wish I lived somewhere like this." Soon after purchasing her new space, the public speaker and advertising consultant began the 2½-year process of painting her canvas.
"Nelly was in my bathtub with two models."
Once lacking pigment, walls were painted black and embellished with an array of collectibles and artwork from Gallop's travels. She says "many art galleries should paint their walls black because the art pops against it." Guests frequently comment that the apartment is comfortable and homey -- the kind of place one you could spend hours enjoying.
The open concept makes the large apartment seem even more spacious. There are no walls; only black drapes that section off the master and guest bedroom. Each of the bedrooms has its own bathroom, one of which carries its own story: the music video for "Nasty Girl" of the Biggie Duets album was filmed here. "Nelly was in my bathtub with two models," Gallop mentioned. The rapper/singer apparently asked one of her designers, "Do you think your friend would sell the apartment?"
The unusual nature of the apartment raises the question: Will it be difficult to find a buyer? It's been on the market since September 2013 and it's on the pricey side, even for New York's Chelsea neighborhood. Homes on the market here currently have a median list price of $1.855 million.
For Gallop, this is a non-issue. "I am very relaxed about the part that it may take some time to sell it. I believe that there are more people like me who want to live somewhere unique." She added, "We have had several people interested."
After a decade of memories made in the unusual home, Gallop said that she is ready to begin her next adventure. After selling the home, her plans are to rent for a while before deciding what her next purchase will be. "I'm confident of my ability to reinvent an equally enjoyable environment somewhere else," she said.
While only one buyer can be the next owner of "The Black Apartment," anyone can apply Gallop's free-thinking attitude to their living space.
"I really would like to urge more people to think more individually of their homes, be very comfortable with yourselves, not give a damn about what other people think, do what makes you happy, and bring that into your home," she said.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misquoted Cindy Gallop as saying "many art galleries paint their walls black because the art pops against it." Gallop said "many art galleries should paint their walls black because the art pops against it." It also quoted her as saying "lax" instead of "relaxed" in the statement: "I am very relaxed about the part that it may take some time to sell it. And her comment, "I'm confident of my ability to reinvent an equally enjoyable environment somewhere else," was mistakenly rendered as "I want to reinvent and equally enjoy the environment."
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