By Carter B. Horsley
One of the few, new, tall, post-World War II
buildings on the Upper East Side west of Lexington Avenue, this
30-story tower is one of the most luxurious.
The building has a very attractive, two-story
granite base and a very impressive entrance on the side-street
with a large marquee flanked by flowerboxes.
Above its low-rise base, the tower, which rises
in several setbacks to a slanted crown, is freestanding. Most
units have corner balconies and there are some terraces.
The large, slanted crown of the building is
illuminated at night.
Clearly, the developers, Donald Zucker and
Joseph Slifka, wanted to create a first-class property befitting
its prime location close to Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue and the
staggering vistas from many of its units.
The original scheme called for 104 units but
by the time the building was completed several were combined and
the building has 90 apartments, all with solid wood doors, cherry
wood floors and, most rare for a post-war building, plaster walls.
As if in deference to its aspirations, two
old low-rise buildings immediately to the west on 85th Street
were rebuilt into luxurious, modern townhouses designed by Gwathmey
Siegel Associates, a nice complement, and, more importantly, a
major improvement to the streetscape.
The design of the tower by Schuman, Lichtenstein,
Claman & Efron is fine in its proportions, but the choice
of a pale, salmon-colored brick was unfortunate. Some older apartment
houses nearby are clad in light-beige brick and the architects
here deserve credit for attempting to find a compatible, contextual
color as well as a distinctive one. The color is a bit odd, but
not offensive and the brickwork seems less than perfect, and the
mansard-like watertank enclosure is a little clumsy. Still, the
overall impression here is of considerable quality and modern
apartments at such an extremely desirable location and with such
views are very rare.
The condominium tower was completed in 1987.
The developer bought the air rights to the three buildings to
the south on Madison Avenue for $1.5 million and the estimated
construction cost of the project was over $60 million. An article
by Lisa W. Foderaro in the February 27, 1987 edition of The
New York Times said that "the overall sellout price on
the condominiums is $96,967,000.
In addition to a concierge and doorman, the
building has elevator operators and a garage and some of the apartments
have bidets. The windows were imported from the Netherlands, the
glass and ash-blond kitchen cabinets were form France and the
kitchen sinks from Germany and all the bathrooms have marble walls
and floors and whirlpool baths. Although it does not have a health
club, pool and sundeck, its second floor is leased to the David
Barton Gym, which has extensive facilities.
When it was erected, the building offered four,
4-bedroom duplexes on the top two floors for about $5 million
The only real drawback is that 85th Street
is a major access street to a transverse road in Central Park
to the Upper West Side.