450 PARK AVENUE

(Southwest corner at 57th Street)

Developer: Peter Sharp

Architect: Emery Roth & Sons

Erected: 1972

By Carter B. Horsley

This 33-story tower of almost 300,000 square feet of office space is the handsomest black skyscraper in the city. (The Marine Midland Building at 120 Broadway is more prominent, but is notable mostly for its great red pierced cube sculpture on its Broadway plaza by Isamu Noguchi that sets it off so smartly.)

Emery Roth & Sons has designed more major New York office buildings than any other architectural firm, often as associated architects. This is one of its finer efforts and not surprisingly reflects the very refined tastes of its developer, who also owned the Carlyle Hotel and was a major art collector.

The slick curtain wall is very sleek and the proportions excellent, but the beauty here is in the very original and graceful fenestration pattern that uses subtle curves and clusters multi-story groups of windows.

Like the Mobil Building at 150 East 42nd Street, this tower has indented its top floor of windows to create, very effectively, a modern abstract cap.

This building has an attractive, but very superfluous and underutilized plaza on its eastern boundary on 57th Street.

This intersection is one of the city's more odd, or rather eclectic, ones. It also has the very impressive and classical Ritz Tower on the northeast, the rather prosaic and depressing 22-story office building built in 1954, at No. 460 on the northwest corner, designed also by Emery Roth & Sons, and the conventional, but handsome setback building at No. 445, built in 1947 and designed by Kahn & Jacobs, on the southeast corner, that has a fine, assertive fenestration pattern created by recessed window banding with protruding mullions.

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