12. Alphabet City’s apartments include a “flowerbox building” and “the most colorful apartment building in NYC”

Flowerbox Building

Amid the historic apartments of Alphabet City, many dating back a century or more, there are a handful of fascinating architectural marvels. One of the standouts is the Flowerbox Building, located at 259 East 7th Street between Avenues C and D. Built in 2007, the Flowerbox Building includes a vertical garden that waters itself. The building was developed by Seth Tapper, who grew up on the block and whose father David Tapper created the documentary The Street of the Flower Boxes about the block. Between each 12-foot-high floor-to-ceiling window are 18-inch-deep planters that are self-irrigating, containing upwards of 80 different plant species. The seven-story building has just eight units, which have sold for as much as $2.6 million.

246 East 4th Street

Another building that stands out from the rest is located at 246 East 4th Street on the corner of Avenue B, which the Village Voice described as “the most colorful apartment building in NYC.” The bright purple building is accented with dark reds by each floor and the roof, as well as blues and golds.

This was the idea of Antonio “Tony” Echeverri, the building’s owner who repaints the facade every five years using paints he mixes by hand. Hidden away are sculpted angels on the upper stories, as well as fish and pelicans by the interior staircase. Echeverri acquired the building in 1992, a risky decision considering the apartment had hundreds of violations. Eventually, he worked with his team to not only fix up the building but also decorate it so it would please passersby and artists alike.