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210 Central Park South

Between Seventh Avenue and Broadway

210 Central Park South

210 Central Park South

By Carter B. Horsley

While there are many buildings with unobstructed views of Central Park, few take as much advantage of them as this 23-story apartment tower that was developed by Bernard Spitzer who also built the taller, larger and curved apartment tower that adjoins it to the east.

Although it is overshadowed by many of its taller neighbors along Central Park South, this building has the highest fenestration ratio: its north wall is virtually all windows. Erected as a condominium in 1966, however, it is not a simple glass box for all the north-facing apartments have glass balconies that are angled at their sides giving the facade a multi-faceted appearance.

The 88-unit building, which has a garage, is setback in a plaza with a driveway. While the tower rises without setbacks, the interruption of the street's "building line" is a bit disruptive and not contextual, but Central Park South is better known for its distinctive roofs than for homogeneous facades. Indeed, while plazas and driveways are not always urbanistically recommended for many high-rise residential zones, the south side of Central Park South has always had quite narrow sidewalks and several commercial buildings such as hotels so the driveway is not as disruptive as it might be on Park Avenue.

The balcony pattern here is rather unusual as the facade is divided into four columns" of balconies but each column has a different width. Despite the vertical alignment of these "columns," the building's facade has a decidedly horizontal motif, which also distinguishes it from its neighbors. It was designed by the Office of Michael Schimenti.

The building has a doorman, an elevator person and storage space. It also allows pets.

Although architecturally the building might be more at home along the Palisades in New Jersey or in Florida, it is surprising that there have not been more buildings with glass balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows. Another example overlooking the park at be found at 1045 Fifth Avenue, a smaller building that has narrower balconies and dark glass (see The City Review article).

There is considerable traffic here as The Avenue of the Americas is an entrance to the park drive north and Seventh Avenue is an exit for the park drive south. This area of northern midtown has undergone major changes over the past two decades with the erection of major skyscrapers two blocks south, the proliferation of theme restaurants in the area and the redevelopment of Columbus Circle to the west with the opening in early 2004 of the twin-towered Time Warner Center.

This building replaced four brownstones.

The area may have too many tourists, but the spectacular, protected views of the park and the parade of horse-drawn carriages entering the park make up for them, and much else.

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