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927 Fifth Avenue

Southeast corner at 74th Street

 

927 Fifth Avenue

By Carter B. Horsley

One of the finest and most exclusive limestone-clad apartment houses on Fifth Avenue, this small but extremely elegant building was designed by Warren & Wetmore, the main architects of Grand Central Terminal.

The 12-story building has only 12 apartments and was completed in 1917.

Entrance to 927 Fifth Avenue

The detailing here is extremely fine and the two-story arched entrance with a head-scroll keystone, lanterns and sidewalk landscaping, is particularly handsome.

Facade detailing with Pale Male's nest

Pale Male's nest can be seen above arched pediment just under the cornice

The building's location is sensational as it overlooks the sailing boat pond in Central Park, but is two blocks north of the major park entrance at 72nd Street where there is considerable traffic.

The building, which has a concierge and doorman, but no garage, has fabulous views.

Facade detail

The facade is festooned with a stringcourse with dolphins and shells and large cartouches of birds with spread wings. The latter may have attracted the building's most celebrated tenant, Pale Male, a red-tailed hawk that took the building as its residence in 1993 and according to the December 11, 2004 edition of The New York Times sired 23 chicks to fledging. It is one think for "exclusive" co-ops to decline celebrity singers and actors for ownership, but it is quite another thing altogether for such a building to evict a red-tailed hawk and one of Pale Male's celebrity from its 12th floor perch. The article by Thomas J. Lueck and Jennifer Lee in The Times appeared on the front page with a three-column headline above the fold under the headline "No Fighting the Co-Op Board, Even with Talons." The article, which ran a full half page on the jump, noted that the building's co-op board removed the bird's nest December 7 leading to public protests outside the building. The article quoted Richard Cohen, the board's president who is a real estate developer and husband of Paula Zahn, a television newscaster, as maintaining that the eviction was "a last resort" and that the board members believed the birds would thrive elsewhere and quickly. Mary Tyler Moore, the actress, who lives in the building with her husband, Dr. Robert Levine, a cardiologist, and at the time had her apartment listed for sale for about $18,500,000, was quoted in the article as saying that the board members "are not reversible type people," adding "They just don't want the birds here." In an application to the Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the nest, the building argued that it had "caused deterioration of the building's canopy from bird droppings."

Pale Male returned to the building and rebuilt a nest in the same spot in early 2005.

Although its frontage on the avenue is relatively narrow, this is a supremely desirable address in this very posh neighborhood.

For more information on this building see its entry at CityRealty.com

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