The Upper East Side Book logo

Madison Avenue logo

15 East 69th Street

Northwest corner at Madison Avenue

View from the southeast

15 East 69th Street viewed from the southeast

By Carter B. Horsley

This staid and rather severe red-brick building along one of the city's most chic stretches was converted into condominium apartments from a hotel in 1999.

This red-brick building along one of the city's most chic stretches was converted into condominium apartments from a hotel in 1999.
<p>
The property, which occupies the blockfront along the avenue between 69th and 70th Streets, used to be the Westbury Hotel and its last operators were Trust House Forte.
<p>
As a hotel, it had entrances both on the avenue and the sidestreet, but Chelsfield Westbury LLC, the converter, decided that retail space on the avenue was too valuable to waste on a grand entrance. Indeed, this is a very prime retail location and new retail tenants in the building initially included Sulka, Purdy and Alfred Dunhill and later Gucci took over several of the storefronts.
<p>
The block between Fifth and Madison Avenues on 70th Street contains not only The Frick Collection, the finest museum in the city, but also some of the city's top art galleries such as Knoedler and Hirschl-Adler, all in very impressive former mansions.
<p>
The Westbury's only competition for many years as a deluxe hotel on the Upper East Side was the Carlyle on Madison Avenue at 76th Street and the Stanhope on Fifth Avenue at 81st Street and at the time the developers here decided to convert the property to residential uses the city's hotel market was very, very tight, but so was the residential market.
<p>
The building had an attractive restaurant, The Polo Bar, which is now closed and the hotel had been popular with many wealthy persons seeking a discrete and quiet ambiance in a great location.
<p>
The building's facade was cleaned but not substantially altered as it is within an historic landmark district.
<p>
The 21-story building has only 47 apartments.
<p>
There are several good restaurants and many famous boutiques in this neighborhood and there is good bus service. A local subway station is at 67th Street and Lexington Avenue.

The property, which occupies the blockfront along the avenue between 69th and 70th Streets, used to be the Westbury Hotel and its last operators was Trust House Forte. As a hotel, it had entrances both on the avenue and the sidestreet, but Chelsfield Westbury LLC, the converter, decided that retail space on the avenue was too valuable to waste on a grand entrance. Indeed, this is a very prime retail location and new retail tenants in the building included Cartier and Sulka. Sulka took over the former main entrance space under the marquee but in 2001 gave up the space and it and some of the other retail spaces were then leased to Gucci. For many years, the hotel had a large and popular restaurant known as The Polo Lounge on the avenue.

The conversion spruced up the building's facades but their multipaned windows were placed, sadly, by picture windows that look out of place with this style of understated neo-Georgian-style design.

The former hotel was always understated but attracted a very elegant and discrete clientele, including members of the Mellon family, because of its superb location and the fact that there were only two other major large luxury hotels on the Upper East Side, the Carlyle a few blocks north on Madison Avenue and the Stanhope on Fifth Avenue at 81st Street.

The block between Fifth and Madison Avenues on 70th Street contains not only The Frick Collection, the finest museum in the city, but also three of the city's top art galleries, Berry-Hill, Knoedler and Hirschl-Adler, all in very impressive former mansions.

View from the northeast

View from the northeast

The building's facade was cleaned but not substantially altered as it is within an historic landmark district.

The 21 -story building, which has a three-story limestone base and rusticated quoins, has only 47 apartments.

There are several good restaurants and many famous boutiques in this neighborhood and there is good bus service. A local subway station is at 67th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Use the Search Box below to quickly look up articles at this site on specific artists, architects, authors, buildings and other subjects

 

Home Page of The City Review