By Carter B. Horsley
This great and impressive apartment building
was designed by J. E. R. Carpenter, the foremost architect of
luxury residential buildings in the city of his generation. It
was erected in 1931 and converted to a cooperative in 1968. The
15-story building has 56 apartments.
This is one of Carpenters most lavish
designs. His other Park Avenue buildings include 550, 580, 630,
635, 640, 655, 812, 950, 960 and 1050. His Fifth Avenue buildings
include 810, 825, 907, 920, 950, 988, 1030, 1035, 1060, 1115,
1120, 1143, 1150, 1165 and 1170 as well as 2 East 66th Street.
The building is entirely clad in limestone
and the 10th floor corner has a great balcony beneath large arched
"No other penthouse on the avenue can
match the twenty-six room triplex at 625 Park," observed
James Trager in his excellent book, "Park Avenue, Street
of Dreams," (Atheneum, 1990).
"Huge terraces surround the living room,
dining room, gallery, library, and kitchen, while other terraces
surround the 68 by 17 recreation room. All of these
rooms except the kitchen and gallery have woodburning fireplaces.
The bedroom floor has six bedrooms and a maids room. One
bedroom is 336" x 182", another 298"
x 206". Circular staircases connect the three floors.
Helena Rubenstein, the cosmetic queen, owned this penthouse for
thirty years and used its sixty-eight-foot-long salon for parties
and chamber music recitals. A special room was designed to hold
her collection of ultraminiature furniture in glass-enclosed dioramas,
and another to house a set of Venetian shell furniture and a series
of wall murals painted by Salvador Dali. Imperious and demanding,
Mme. Rubenstein enjoyed breakfast in bed while hearing presentations
from her advertising agency people (who were not even offered
coffee). Charles Revson of Revlon, her major competitor in the
cosmetics industry, took over the place after Rubensteins
death in 1965 and behaved in a similar fashion. Revson himself
died in 1975," Trager noted.
The buildings superb location is very
convenient to many restaurants and fashionable boutiques. Cross-town
bus service is just to the north and a local subway station is
at Lexington Avenue and 67th Street. The building has a canopied
entrance, a doorman, a concierge and consistent fenestration.
It has no garage and no health club.