By Carter B. Horsley
This very handsome and dignified, 14-story
structure is one of the most elegant and exclusive buildings on
the avenue because of its very fine detailing and the fact that
it has only 12 apartments.
Exquisitely designed in Italian-Renaissance-palazzo-style
with rope quoins and a balustraded roofline by J. E. R. Carpenter,
this limestone-clad building has a side-street entrance and attractive
landscaping. It was built in 1925 and converted to a condominium
To the south it adjoins 985 Fifth Avenue (see
The City Review article), which is setback
in a plaza, and it is directly across 80th Street from 990 Fifth
Avenue (see The City Review article),
a very handsome Italian-Renaissance-palazzo-style apartment building
that was built in 1927 and designed by Rosario Candela, Carpenters
successor as the preeminent designer of luxury apartments of the
pre-war era on the Upper East Side.
The building has a quite bold and interesting
bandcourse on the fifth floor, shown above.
The building, which has nice detailing shown
above and below and permits protruding air-conditioners, occupies
the former sites of townhouses built for Nicholas F. Brady and
Hugh A. Murray. Each apartment has 11 rooms.
"In 1926, the $11,000-per-year penthouse
apartment was rented by Sylvia Green Wilks, shortly after the
death of her husband Matthew Astor Wilks," wrote Andrew Alpern
in his excellent book, "The New York Apartment Houses of
Rosario Candela and James Carpenter" (Acanthus Press, 2001).
"In 1940," he continued, "Mrs. Wilks, the daughter
of the infamous eccentric Hetty Green, exchanged the penthouse
unit for two lower-floor apartments. The one on the third floor
served as her home. The other on the fourth floor was used to
store excess furniture from the house at 440 Madison Avenue she
had shared with Matthew Wilks, from other other houses she had
owned, and from the mansion of her dead brother, the eccentric
Colonel Edward Green. The reclusive and equally eccentric Sylvia
Green Wilks died in 1951, leaving an estate of $90 million after
taxes, which was distributed amongst 63 charities."
Right in the middle of Fifth Avenues
"Museum Mile," 988 Fifth Avenue, which has inconsistent
fenestration, no garage and an exposed rooftop watertank enclosure,
shown above, fortunately does not have its Central Park vistas
largely obscured by the nearby Metropolitan Museum of Art as do
several of the nearby luxury apartment buildings to the north.
It is also only a block away from cross-town bus service and is
convenient to a supermarket on Madison Avenue.