By Carter B. Horsley
This very handsome pre-war apartment building
has a very large and impressive lobby that runs parallel to the
sidestreet on which it has its canopied entrance.
Designed by J. E. R. Carpenter, the foremost
designer of luxury apartment buildings in the early and mid-1920's,
this building was erected by Dwight P. Robinson and Company and
completed in 1928 and has only 48 apartments.
The building replaced the very imposing, gracious
and handsome mansion of Henry Phipps, a partner of steel magnate
Andrew Carnegie, whose huge home with large fenced garden is now
the National Design Museum three blocks to the north on the avenue.
The three-story Phipps mansion also had a very large driveway
and garden on the sidestreet, albeit with only a low balustraded
The window pattern on the avenue of Carpenter's
apartment house, which has a three-story limestone base beneath
a brown brick, Italian Renaissance-style facade, "masks an
intricate set of apartments that permitted higher ceilings and
larger-sized rooms on the upper floors where the views over the
park were better," noted Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin
and Thomas Mellins in their monumental and fine book, "New
York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Two World Wars,"
(Rizzoli International, 1987). The lower floors have 10-foot ceilings
and the higher floors have 11-foot ceilings.
Many of the apartments have very wide and long
entrance galleries and the sidestreet frontage, which is very
deep, is indented to provide more light and air.
The building, which has a concierge and doorman,
has a superb and quiet location, one block north of where most
Fifth Avenue parades end and one block east of a large supermarket.
It is also one block south of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
There is good bus service in the area and the neighborhood has
numerous private schools, good local shopping and several religious
institutions. The building has no garage, no health club and a
few decorative balconies and no terraces.
The building has both its avenue and sidestreet
address on both sides of its Fifth Avenue corner.
In December, 2007, Max Abelson of The
New York Observer reported that Georgia Shreve sold two apartments
that comprised a 17-room, 7-bedroom, penthouse duplex in the building
for $46 million to Scott Bommer, the president of SAB Capital
Management, making it the city's most expensive co-op apartment,
a record previously held by Rupert Murdoch's purchase of an apartment
at 834 Fifth Avenue (see The City Review
article) for $44 million. The article noted that Mr. Bommer
and his wife are moving from 1040 Fifth Avenue and that Ms. Shreve
separated from her husband, Glenn Greenberg, in 2000. (12/24/07)