993 Fifth Avenue

Between 80th and 81st Street

View from across Fifth Avenue

View from across Fifth Avenue

By Carter B. Horsley

This very distinguished, limestone-clad apartment building at 993 Fifth Avenue was designed by Emery Roth and has a prime Fifth Avenue location a block-and-a-half from the entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

View from roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Top of building as view from the roof of the Metropolitan Museum showing many patches over the years to its facade

It has a very distinctive top and a very ornate base.

In a February 2, 2004 article in The New York Observer, Gabriel Sherman wrote that "the estate of banking tycoon Arthur Altschul is pulling no punches in its efforts to sell the family home at 993 Fifth Avenue, after the co-op board scotched an earlier multimillion-dollar deal to sell the apartment in October," 2003.

"According to sources," the article continued, "Melinda Nix of Sotheby's International Realty had the original listing on the four-bedroom spread, but after her buyers were turned away by the building's co-op board in the fall, the property hit the market on Jan. 21 with a high price tag - $11.5 million - and high-profile broker Deborah Grubman of the Corcoran Group, along with fellow Corcoran broker Carol Cohen, to represent it. The 5,200-square-foot apartment, where former MTV News anchor turned CBS correspondent Serena Altschul grew up, occupies the entire 12th floor at 993 Fifth Avenue at 80th Street, overlooking the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The 12-room apartment features a library and master bedroom with open views of the museum and Central Park, a renovated kitchen, a wood-burning fireplace and planting terraces."

View from the northwest

View from the northwest

Mr. Altschul was a former general partner at Goldman, Sachs and Co., and chairman of General American Investors and the Overbrook Foundation, a charitable group founded by his parents with assets of more than $150 million. Mr. Altschul was a major collector of American late 19th Century and early 20th Century art. He died in 2002 at the age of 81.

View from the southwest

View from the southwest

Other prominent residents have included Roy R. Neuberger, who was also a prominent art collector, and Howard Rubenstein, the famous public relations consultant.

Building entrance

Building entrance

The building has a very handsome, dark-wood paneled lobby and sidewalk landscaping. It has a three-stone rusticated base and permits protruding window air-conditioners.

In "Mansions in the Clouds, The Skyscraper Palazzi of Emery Roth" (Balsam Press Inc., 1986), Steven Ruttenbaum provided the following commentary about this building:

"The year 1930 witnessed the opening of Roth's last great Italian Renaissance-style luxury apartment house in Manhattan. Number 993 Fifth Avenue...was greeted with acclaim upon its opening....Each apartment in this seventeen-story building occupied an entire floor, and each of its fifteen or sixteen rooms was 'beautifully laid out, very formal,' and was 'eminently suited to people [of wealth].' Two or three rooms in each apartment had a wood-burning fireplace. Each master bedroom was equipped with a dressing room and large bathroom, which 'big windows, closets, arches, niches, and the most civilized, continental way of recessing all the familiar accessories into its cream-colored tile walls....The exterior architectural styling of 993 Fifth Avenue was just as lavishly executed as the interior spaces....The entrance was flanked by two-story pilasters and was crowned with three grand cartouches surmounting each other up the facade....Like the base, the upper floors were embellished with classical balustrades and ornate window surrounds that incorporated broken pediments and more cartouches. The water tower itself was capped by a pyramidal red tile roof and was punctuated by urn-shaped finials. Buildings like 993 Fifth were a dying breed, the last gasp of an obsessively materialistic age."

For more information on 993 Fifth Avenue see its entry at CityRealty.com

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