By Carter B. Horsley
One of the most distinctive and elegant buildings
on the avenue, this very attractive apartment building was erected
in 1929 as a cooperative.
The 14-story building has only 27 apartments
and was designed by Rosario Candela and Kenneth M. Murchison and
erected by John and Joseph Campagna, the son of Anthony Campagna,
one of the citys most important developers of luxury residential
buildings. Candela was the leading architect of luxury apartment
buildings of his era.
It is just to the south of the charming former
town house at 1025 Park Avenue of Reginald deKoven, a composer,
designed in 1912 by John Russell Pope in Jacobean style (see The City Review article). DeKoven on
his wife composed "Robin Hood," a light opera in 1890
that featured a song, "O Promise Me," and he also help
built the Lyric Theater on West 42nd Street. That small building
is a designated city landmark and has been subdivided into cooperative
This red-brick building with a three-story
limestone base, gargoyles and a handsome enclosed rooftop watertank
enclosure. It is notable because its asymmetrical design makes
it appear to be more than one building and because it is also
very compatible with the very handsome former townhouse of Reginald
de Koven, and it is also directly across the sidestreet from another
very interesting mansion, the former New World Foundation building
at 100 East 85th Street (see The City Review
article) that was originally the Lewis Gouverneur Morris house
designed by Ernest Flagg in 1914.
This apartment building has considerable "light-and-air"
because of both the mansions and the Park Avenue Christian Church,
designed by Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson in 1911, diagonally across
In his excellent book, "Park Avenue, Street
of Dreams," (Atheneum, 1990), James Trager provides the following
account of the sites history:
"Quite a few Park Avenue houses went up
in the years before World War I. A private residence designed
by Hunt & Hunt for Amos R. E. Pinchot was finished in 1910
at the northeast corner of 85th Street. Pinchot, a lawyer, was
the brother of Gifford, the conservationist who superintended
the 119,000 acres of forest that surrounded Biltmore House, designed
by Richard Morris Hunt for William Henry Vanderbilts youngest
son, George Washington, and completed in 1896. Gifford headed
the U.S. Forest Service but was fired by President Taft after
joining others in charging the Secretary of the Interior, Richard
A. Ballinger, with conflict of interest - a cause celebre in 1910.
The Pinchot house was later occupied under lease by Mrs. Alfred
Gwynne Vanderbilt, Vincent Astor, and Joseph C. Baldwin before
being purchased by Edward R. Stettinus, a J. P. Morgan partner,
who occupied it until his death in the late 1920s."
Trager also noted that Amos Pinchot had sold
Lewis Gouverneur Morris the lot on the southeast corner at this
intersection, directly across from the sidestreet entrance of
1021 Park Avenue (see The City Review article).
Morris had the building on it razed and replaced with a building
designed by Ernest Flagg that he moved into from his former residence
at 77 Madison Avenue. The new, gable, dark red-brick house had
hip-roofed dormer windows, a cupola over its elevator tower, and
a garage in its east wing. Trager wrote that the daughters of
Morris sold the townhouse in 1967 to the New World Foundation,
"established in 1954 to carry out the testamentary wishes
of the reaper heiress, Anita McCormick Blaine."
This building, which has a doorman, but no
garage, adjoined the garden of Mrs. Reginald de Koven, widow of
the composer, and also backed up on the garden of the Park Avenue
Methodist Church on 86th Street.
The building is not far from to the Metropolitan
Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue and there are numerous schools and
religious institutions nearby. Cross-town buses run on 86th Street
and an express subway station is at Lexington Avenue and 86th
Street as well as major stores such as Barnes & Noble. The
area also has several movie theaters.