New York Times

December 24, 2019–James Barron

The Hidden Perk That New York’s Mega-Rich Now Demand

Porte cochères take up space — more space than many New Yorkers’ apartments — and space is, of course, valuable. At more than 2,000 square feet, the porte cochère at 40 East End Avenue, a new building on the Upper East Side, is at least three times the size of the average Manhattan apartment (733 square feet, according to the rental website RENTCafe).

“Porte cochère” — pronounced port KO-shair —is a French term that originally described an entrance to a building large enough for a coach to be driven into an interior courtyard. Think palaces. Think Louis XIV.

The modern porte cochère is all about invisibility, or at least providing cover from prying eyes on city streets.

Celebrities, V.I.P.s and ultra-high-net-worth types, especially those who are not regulars in the gossip columns, do not want to be seen coming and going. The porte cochère is their shield from photographers, professionals and fans or mere passers-by with cellphones held high.

In 2019 New York, many of those residents live in buildings where apartments sell for seven or eight figures. “Only a building that’s catering to a very affluent tenantry could afford to do this,” said Mosette Broderick, a professor at New York University.

Scott J. Avram, a senior vice president of Lightstone, the developer at 40 East End Avenue, called the porte cochère “more important than a lot of more traditional indoor amenities,” like private dining rooms, reading rooms and game rooms.

“The predominant buyer at this price point will have a car,” Mr. Avram said. “Five million to 25 million. That’s a homeowner and a car owner. A lot of them have drivers. So, whether you’re driving yourself or being dropped off, a car is a part of your life.”