Carter B. Horsley
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.
It has a
very distinctive top
and a very ornate base.
February 2, 2004 article
in The New York Observer, Gabriel Sherman wrote
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.
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."
Mr. Altschul was a former
general partner at
Goldman, Sachs and Co., and chairman of General American Investors
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.
prominent residents have
included Roy R. Neuberger, who was also a prominent art collector,
and Howard Rubenstein, the famous public relations consultant.
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
Palazzi of Emery Roth" (Balsam Press Inc., 1986), Steven
Ruttenbaum provided the following commentary about this building:
"The year 1930 witnessed the
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
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