By Carter B. Horsley
The handsome, 14-story, red-brick, Beth Israel
Hospital Singer Division building at 170 East End Avenue that
overlooked Carl Schurz Park across the avenue and the charming
low-rise residential buildings of Henderson Place across 87th
Street was demolished in 2005 and construction started on a new
19-story, 110-unit condominium apartment building on the site
that extends from 87th to 88th Streets.
The new building has a tower fronting on the avenue and two low-rise
wings on the side-streets with a large garden with a waterfall
The lower two floors of the complex are faced with limestone and
granite and the rest are faced with limestone-colored pre-cast
concrete. The center section of the tower on East Avenue above
the entrance is be mostly glass.
Peter P. Marino + Associates is the architect.
In 2004, Beth Israel sold its building and
two adjacent apartment buildings on 88th Street to Skyline Developers
LLC, an affiliate of Garden Homes Development, which announced
its intention to "create world-class, family-oriented luxury
condominiums featuring spectacular views overlooking Carl Schurz,
Gracie Mansion and the East River." The sales price was reported
to be about $700 a buildable square foot, one of the highest on
record for a residential project.
Skyline Developers LLC is the corporate umbrella investment vehicle
for much of the principal activities of Orin Wilf. Mr. Wilf is
a third generation member of the Wilf organization whose business
activities are commonly known as Garden Homes and Garden Commercial
In 1955, Harry and Joseph Wilf established
Garden Homes when they began constructing single family homes
in New Jersey. Since then, Garden Homes and numerous affiliated
concerns and organizations have been developing single-family
homes, condominiums, apartment complexes, shopping centers, office
buildings and hotels. The organization continues to own and manage
their own properties. While the geographic concentration of Garden
Homes activity has been in New Jersey, development of residential
and commercial properties has expanded to encompass New York City,
New York State, California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
Maryland, Florida, Arizona and Israel.
Garden Homes Development is based in Short Hills, New Jersey and
has operations in 37 states.
Its other activities in New York City include
condominium apartment conversions of properties at 280 Park South
and 75 West Street. It has also converted 41 Broad Street for
the Claremont Academy Preparatory School and converted 37 Wall
Street to 350 rental apartments.
The new building has a garage and a children's
recreation zone that includes a toddler paint room, a computer
area for preschoolers, and miniature golf, video games and billiards
for older children.
The building also has a squash court and an interactive driving
Some of the apartments have fireplaces and balconies.
The former hospital building was erected in
1929 as Doctors' Hospital and was acquired by Beth Israel Medical
Center in 1987. Beth Israel is located on Stuyvesant Square at
First Avenue and 16th Street and this facility was known as Beth
Israel North and Beth Israel Herbert and Nell Singer Division
and housed the Insall Scott Kelly Institute for Orthopaedics and
Sports Medicine and the Hyman-Newman Institute for Neurology &
Neurosurgery. In 2001, the medical facility had about 210 beds
and more than 800 employees. Beth Israel is operated by Continuum
Health Care System, a conglomerate of hospitals that also includes
Roosevelt Hospital, St. Luke's Hospital, Long Island College Hospital
and New York Eye & Ear Infirmary.
The building's unusual facade is quite bold
with deeply-inset, multipaned windows, many balconies with glass
railings, and a center section facing East End Avenue clad only
in glass. Vertically, the north and south wings on the avenue
are broken into three sections with different pier arrangements
in limestone-colored, pre-cast concrete. The two-story base on
either side of the entrance is rusticated limestone.
The building has a lot of amenities including
a garage, a children's recreation zone that includes a toddler
paint room, a computer area for preschoolers, and miniature golf,
video games and billiards for older children.
Mr. Marino is well-known for interiors he created
for Giorgio Armani, Stephen Schwarzman and David Martinez. He
also designed a new Fifth Avenue store for Fendi. The large garden
will have some sculptures of sheep, which Mr. Marino told a reporter
was "a play on the rural and the urban."
In the spring of 2004, Orin Wilf, the developer,
went to the 14th floor of the hospital building then on the site
and looking out the window at the park and water views said "I
will guarantee you I will buy this property." A few months
later he bought the townhouses at 13-15 West 54th Street for $41
million for his company's New York offices.
At the opening of the building's sales office
at 530 East 88th Street, Mr. Wilf was asked by CityRealty.com
why he decided not to retain the quite attractive, pre-war facade
of the former hospital building on the site. "It was handsome,"
he conceded, but the site, he continued, deserved something more
Mr. Marino's design of the lobby, kitchens
and bathrooms in the new building are extremely sleek and sumptuous
and very, very beautiful.
The building has a very high fenestration ratio
and a Mondrianesque-grid patterning.
A large waterfall in the building's garden
will be visible through the lobby from East End Avenue.