When Alex Guptill and his agent noticed the Draddy was finished in the fall of 2017, they began looking to buy the space. “My agent Steve Gelsomino had some insight as far as where to go for rent,” Mr. Guptill told The New York Times, “which was our first source of information.”
In one visit, Mr. Gelsomino mentioned Draddy’s longtime tenant Peter Montanaro, a musician, composer and sound engineer in the film industry. According to Mr. Gelsomino, Mr. Montanaro had already been thinking about retiring and moving on to other interests, so he was looking for a bigger home in a quieter locale. He agreed to talk with Mr. Guptill and his agent and also arranged for Mr. Guptill to meet with Mr. Montanaro.
The meeting took place on Aug. 18, 2017 at St. John the Divine church’s classical music organ room, after Mr. Montanaro said goodbye to the cat who had greeted him all his years in the house. Mr. Guptill remembers that Mr. Montanaro told him that he could teach him how to apply for rent, but before long, the contract was signed and Mr. Guptill and his agent began the relocation process.
Mr. Guptill was now looking for something more. After years of filming on the town’s streets and recording at the city’s studios, Mr. Guptill said he was looking for something more—warm, soothing and filled with true community spirit. He sent his agent out to look for a studio.
On Feb. 1, 2017, Mr. Guptill and his wife, Chris Morley, signed a contract with the Draddy.
“Alex and Chris would be staying on at Hotel du Vin,” the manager at the hotel, Amelia Jones, said, “which is a very modern aesthetic in the center of town.”
The building next door at 331 West 61st Street, a former bank and much more modern in its design, had since been converted into loft rental apartments. Although it has its own gorgeous atmosphere, the new owners, Rotem and Shai Shein, have decided to raise prices and reduce their inventory, and have sent all rent notices to their tenants.
Mr. Guptill checked into his studio suite at the Draddy on Feb. 2, 2017 and quickly became a fan of the building and neighborhood.
“This is a wonderful place to work, but also a great place to live and a great place to play,” Mr. Guptill said. “As a musician, this is the perfect location. We can be on the studio floor, have dinner with our musicians, watch tennis on their courts and dance at Ziegfeld’s. It’s basically like having a world class studio all within walking distance. I feel a lot more accomplished with this place. It’s like home.”