TRUMP PARK AVENUE (FORMERLY DELMONICO HOTEL)
502 PARK AVENUE
(Northwest corner at 59th Street)
Developer: The Viceroy Hotel
Architect: Goldner & Goldner
By Carter B. Horsley
Originally known as the Viceroy Hotel, this
32-story tower, shown at the right, has been switched over the
years from hotel use to rental to co-op and back to hotel use
and then in 2003 to condo use. Its name changed not long after
it opened to the Cromwell Arms and then to Delmonico's after the
fabled restaurant that moved into it after a succession of uptown
moves on October 1, 1929, a few weeks before the stock market
In 2003, Donald Trump took over the property
for a reported $115 million and started its $80 million conversion
to condominium apartments while changing its name to Trump Park
Avenue. When completed in 2004, it will have a duplex penthouse
with 17-foot ceilings and 42 oversized arched windows with a price
tag of $30 million.
The building's elegant massing, however,
was substantially altered in the Trump conversion with the glass-clad
addition designed by Costas Kondylis to several floors of the
west and north facades of the tower close to its top. Surprisingly,
the additions did not raise the ire of preservationists who must
have been asleep at their switches as the additions were very
Built at a cost of about $5 million, the 525-room
property was sold at auction in 1936 for 1.8 million.
Rooftop additions compromise building's architectural integrity
In "Park Avenue, Street of Dreams,"
published in 1990 by Athenaeum, James Trager wrote that the building
had an apartment "that was called the highest-priced apartment
in the world, a fifteen-room triplex occupying the three top floors
and rented for $3,750 a month."
Rooftop additions are out of context
Most of the residential rooms, however, were
quite small, but tenants in 1935, when the building was already
in default on its bonds, including former New York Governor Charles
S. Whitman and Oliver Harriman, Trager noted.
William Zeckendorf Jr. bought the hotel in
1975 and converted back it to a rental apartment building and
greatly improved the building's image by leasing space to Christie's,
the auction house, and Regine's, the expensive disco and restaurant
run by Regine Choukroun. Before long, the building turned into
a cooperative only to be turned back into a hotel in the early
Zeckendorf subsequently built Delmonico Plaza,
a midblock office building at 55 East 59th Street, and in 1998
Christie's announced it would relocate to Rockefeller Center.
The handsome proportions of this building inspired
Charles Sheeler, one of the great American modernists, to paint
it, surprisingly from its back rather than its handsome, well-proportioned,
With its three-story limestone base, pitched
red-tile roof and brown brick facade, the building has always
marked the northern end of the commercial section of Park Avenue
and has complemented the taller, grander and flashier Ritz Tower
two blocks south across the avenue.
In August, 2007, a 5,284-square-foot apartment
was being offered for $42,500,000.