By Carter B. Horsley
This large, attractive apartment building was
designed by J. E. R. Carpenter, the foremost architect of luxury
residential buildings in the city of his generation.
His other buildings on Fifth Avenue include
810, 825, 907, 920, 950, 988, 1030, 1035, 1060, 1115, 1120, 1143,
1148, 1165 and 1170 as well as 2 East 66th Street.
The building was developed by August and Pauline
Schmidt, the owners of the Lion Brewery in New York and completed
In his excellent book, "The New York Apartment
Houses of Rosario Candela and James Carpenter" (Acanthus
Press, 2001), Andrew Alpern notes that the Schmidts retained ownership
of the building until 1987 when it was bought by the Goldstein
family for $23.5 million and was converted by the Goldsteins two
years later to a cooperative, but the Goldsteins "retained
possession of the original maids' quarters that occupied a rooftop
penthouse structure, along with rights to the surrounding roof
area." "In 1997," Alpern continued, "they
constructed three new penthouses to replace the maids' rooms.
These 1600- to 2000-square foot, two-bedroom duplexes with 19-foot-high
living room ceilings were built four feet above the roof level
as clearance for necessary structural and mechanical support elements."
This building and its alterations are quite
similar to 1148 Fifth Avenue, directly across 96th Street, which
was also designed by J. E. R. Carpenter. In his book, Mr. Alpern
notes that two days after the filing of plans for 1148 Fifth Avenue,
"the Board of Estimate limited building heights on upper
Fifth Avenue to 75 feet." "Owner/developer Mary Jennings,"
Mr. Alpern continued, "filed a mandamus action claiming that
her filing two days before the passage of the zoning change entitled
her to a building permit. With the support of James Carpenter
who vigorously opposed the height ban, she won and construction
began more than ten months after the filing date. In 1950, roof-top
maids' rooms were converted into penthouse apartments, and in
1994 the penthouse parapet wall was cut down, the top floor facade
was altered, an an iron railing was installed to provide a park
view to the front penthouse apartment (similar to alternation
made in 1932 to 1030 Fifth Avenue)."
While not as grand as some of Carpenter’s
other buildings further south, or 1158 on the same avenue blockfront,
1150 Fifth Avenue has very handsome apartments, many with large
The building has a four-story limestone base,
extensive sidewalk landscaping, a doorman, a concierge, large
attractive layouts with large entrance halls, good views of Central
Park, and a large lobby. It is at the exit of the eastbound 96th
Street Central Park transverse road, but, fortunately, the westbound
traffic across the park uses 97th Street.
Large, white spandrels at the building's base
unfortunately distract considerably from the building's exterior
ambiance. It has no garage, no balconies and no health club.
The cross-street here is quite handsome and
many important cultural institutions are nearby to the south on
Fifth Avenue’s "Museum Mile." The Carnegie Hill
neighborhood here has many fine schools and attractive restaurants
and religious institutions. A local subway station is at 96th
Street and Lexington Avenue and Mt. Sinai Hospital is a few blocks
to the north on Fifth Avenue. A large children’s playground
is just within Central Park on the south side of 96th Street.