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
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.