And a Terrace to Kill For
Newcomers fell in love with their 11th floor touch of the outdoors
by Margaret Mitchell
One of the items stuck to the side of Tim and Shanyn Champeau’s fridge is a cutout from the New York Times Residential Sales column, detailing their purchase, two years ago, from LoHo Realty. It mentions the sunny eat-in kitchen, renovated bath, and bleached hardwood floors. Even the private park and playroom. But as often happens, the newspaper of record has failed to mention the really incredible feature of the Champeaus’ new apartment: the huge terrace.
It hangs along the north-western side of their apartment, on the eleventh floor, and because of the way the Hillman co-op buildings are constructed, it has nothing but the open Manhattan sky overhead.
You step out of the Champeaus’ spacious kitchen onto this huge terrace and there’s midtown Manhattan, stretching undeniably for as far as the eye can absorb. With the Empire State Building, and the majestic Chrysler and everything else, river to river. You catch a glimpse of this view and then all you can think of are long sunsets, an Adirondack chair and a nice drink.
Tim Champeau, a native of Clevelend, is a trumpet player and a singer whose day job is doing voice-overs for television. He’s been the voice of HBO’s Sex in the City for the past six years, and has also been announcing ABC’s Monday Night Football (yes, we’re aware of the inherent schism). Shanyn, born in Boston, is a Science teacher at a midtown private school, where she also serves in an administrative capacity. Both are in their mid-thirties.
They used to live on 24th Street and Second Avenue. Before that, Tim lived in the East Village. They moved into the Hillman co-op a little over two years ago.
“Tim had always been looking through the real estate pages for something in this area,” Shanyn recalls. “So one Sunday we came to some open houses down here and we loved this place.”
“I’d always seen these buildings when I lived in the East Village, and always wondered, how can I get in on that,” Tim relates. “Actually, in the late 1980’s I went to the co-op office to inquire, but they basically told me to get in line... This time around, when we saw it, we could move in the next day.”
The previous tenant was quite fastidious, they say, the place was nice and clean, they took it.
“Where we used to live, on 24th and Second, it was very convenient, you walked out of your apartment and there were all those restaurants, and I worked right down the street. But it was very congested,” says Shanyn.
“We lived on a lower floor, facing the avenue, and it was very loud. The exhaust, the dust, the dirt, it always felt dirty. This area is so quiet, some nights I wake up and I can hear a pin drop. It’s amazing, considering this is New York City. It’s great to live in Manhattan and feel like you have a home.”
Tim refers to it as the Crossing Delancey phenomenon. “This area is almost its own little suburb, onto itself, which is really appealing to us. I won’t use the word Oasis, but it’s close to that.”
There was a bit of unexpected culture shock for them when they discovered the “Shabbos elevators.” Both Tim, who is Irish, and Shanyn, who is Jewish, were flabbergasted. “You mean it keeps going up and down, stopping on every floor?” they asked. They thought it was wild, but by now it’s become just another idiosyncratic element in a tapestry that spells Home.
“We love having a bathroom that has a window in it, and an eat