By Carter B. Horsley
Although many observers define the northern
boundary of the Upper East Side as 96th Street, it really extends
much further along Fifth Avenue and this is one of the finest
of the many luxury apartment houses in the area.
This handsome, large, 15-story apartment house,
designed in French Renaissance-style by C. Howard Crane and Kenneth
Franzheim, was built as a cooperative in 1924 and has 58 apartments.
The building has one of the most elegant and
magnificent lobbies in the city, a large, vaulted, eight-sided
space that is richly decorated in Adamesque style. The building,
which has sidewalk landscaping, has a doorman and a concierge
and the window reveals flanking the entrance are deep red sculpted
polished granite. It also has a gym.
In their impressive tome, "New York 1930,
Architecture And Urbanism Between The Two World Wars," (Rizzoli
International Publications, Inc., 1987), Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory
Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins take special note of this building
in light of the fact that the citys zoning changed at 96th
"By the mid-1920s the apartment
house boom, which was in full swing, had resulted in the creation
of a 150-foot-high wall facing the park. In its bland uniformity,
as much a reflection of the taste for self-effacement shared by
architects and clients alike as an expression of the prevailing
zoning, this wall represented one of the fullest realizations
of the French academic ideal of urbansime, transforming
Olmsteds simulacrum of open country into a front yard, or
more grandly put, a place at metropolitan scale.
"This homogeneous urban backdrop was typically
expressed in a Modern Renaissance vocabulary. Many of the apartments
presented only slender frontages along the avenue....But the truly
prestigious addresses of the period filled large portions of their
This building, they continued, "was the
first of the large-scale projects." "Somewhat atypically
- perhaps because of its uptown location - 1158 Fifth Avenue had
relatively small apartments ranging from seven to nine rooms,"
North of 96th Street, Fifth Avenue is an impressive
mix of luxury apartment buildings, Mt. Sinai Hospital and several
institutions such as the New York Academy of Medicine and the
Museum of the City of New York. Here, the park views are more
bucolic than just to the south where the reservoir takes up much
of the park. Indeed, this northern sector of Central Park is very
lovely and in the late 1990s the Harlem Meer at its northeast
corner was renovated and Mt. Sinai built attractive new facilities
and much of the 90s underwent a significant upgrading with
many new apartment towers and restaurants, especially in the Carnegie
Hill area just south of 96th Street.
The area has several private schools and a
local subway station at 96th Street and Lexington Avenue. The
96th Street westbound bus crosses Central Park at 97th Street.
This building has no health club and no garage.