By Carter B. Horsley
This handsome building has a very warm brown
brick facade with very attractive and ornate wrought-iron window
grills on the first floor. It is directly across the sidestreet
from the Hunter College Campus Schools on part of the former Squadron
A Armory site and it is just to the north on the avenue of two
very beautiful, low-rise Georgian-style buildings and therefore
has considerably more light and air than most apartment buildings
on the avenue.
Located in the heart of the desirable Carnegie
Hill neighborhood, it was erected in 1926 by Attilio and Louis
D'Antona and converted to a cooperative in 1952. The 15-story
edifice has 75 apartments.
It was designed by Rosario Candela, who is
widely considered to have been the countrys greatest designer
of luxury apartment buildings and he collaborated with many of
the citys most famous architectural firms. He collaborated
with Cross & Cross on the design of 720 Park Avenue and with
Arthur Loomis Harmon on the design of 740 Park Avenue, two of
the boulevard's most prestigious structures. He also worked with
Cross & Cross on the design of 1 Sutton Place South and his
other Park Avenue buildings include 765, 770, 778, 1021, 1105,
1172, and 1220. His other famous buildings include 834 and 960
Fifth Avenue and 19 East 72nd Street.
Candelas buildings, "it is said,
were the grandest of the decade that was itself the greatest,"
wrote Elizabeth Hawes in her book, "New York, New York, How
The Apartment House Transformed The Life Of The City (1869-1930),"
published by Henry Holt in 1993.
"He had a respect for privacy and an eye
for significant detail. He was a complete thinker. He added duplicate
water connections to street mains and multiple switches for ceiling
lights as well as beautifully turned staircases and separate wine
cellars. More significantly, he designed buildings from the inside
out. He placed windows where they received light, balanced a room,
or allowed a graceful arrangement of furniture
also invested unusual energy in the entry hall. In a typical apartment,
he made it a full-sized room with rich views into the interior
because he thought it was important to greet a visitor with a
full sense of a home
. Candela liked puzzles. During the
Depression, he took up cryptography, and during World War II,
he broke the Japanese code," Hawes wrote.
Born in Sicily, Candela came to the United
States in 1909 and graduated from the Columbia School of Architecture
The lower portion of the first floor has a
rough-hewn gray granite base, an interesting alternative to the
traditional limestone facing. The building has a doorman, sidewalk
landscaping, protruding air-conditioners, inconsistent fenestration,
no garage and an exposed rooftop watertank.
There are many fine private schools in this
neighborhood as well as many cultural and religious institutions.