By Carter B. Horsley
This very elegant, 10-story, Italian-Renaissance
style apartment house is one of the most distinguished along Madison
Avenue, or, for that matter, on the Upper East Side.
The large building has only 20 apartments and
was completed in 1908.
It was designed by William E. Mowbray and in
his fine book, "Historic Manhattan Apartment Houses,"
(Dover Publications Inc., 1996), Andrew Alpern noted that the
design of the building "was a virtual duplicate of the 1906
façade of the Home Club, at 15 East 45th Street designed
by Gordon, Tracy and Swartwout," adding that "Copyright
protection for architectural designs did not then exist."
The building, which has very similar façade
designs on the avenue and the sidestreet, was erected by Col.
Francis L. Leland, who was president of the New York County Bank.
It was modeled in part on the Strozzi Palace in Florence, Italy,
and was distinguished by its great cornice and by its very handsome,
balustrated "dry moat." In 1926, however, the balustrated
"dry moat" along the avenue was removed when stores
were created, although the "dry moat" remains on the
The building's arched entrance is particularly
attractive as it is flanked by handsome lampposts and stairs over
the "dry moat" leading into a marble lobby with a grand
Mr. Alpern noted that the developer had obtained
permission from his next-door neighbor, Harriet Mills, to extend
the building's cornice and some decorative terracotta ornamentation
around a corner. In exchange for "invading" Mills' airspace,
the developer agreed to reconstruct her stoop. Four years later,
however, she insisted that the cornice and decoration in her "air
space" be removed and when the developer declined, she sued
and won and for many years the Verona bore the scars of her victory
until a recent restoration.
The tan-brick façade is extremely handsome
because of the excellent brickwork that makes it appear considerably
more detailed than if it clad entirely in limestone. Its one-story
base is covered in limestone and deeply rusticated. The facades
have paired arched windows, decorative balustrades beneath some
windows, cartouches, and belt courses. The apartment layouts had
square dining rooms, large entrance foyers and bedroom wings at
opposite ends of the apartments and bedroom halls had sculpture
niches, Alpern observed.
The building has very few apartments, a doorman,
a concierge, sidewalk landscaping, but no garage and no health