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775 Park Avenue

East blockfront between 72nd & 73rd Streets

755 Park Avenue

By Carter B. Horsley

Some elegant luxury apartment buildings have a maisonette, a ground-floor apartment with its own, separate entrance.

This grand residential building has four, each with their own very impressive entrances on Park Avenue.

Detail of base of 755 Park Avenue

The architect, Rosario Candela designed them to make the full-block frontage on the avenue more interesting and the Italian Renaissance detailing is superb and very handsome.

The 13-story limestone and brick building, which is also known as 101 East 72nd Street, has only 47 apartments including several duplex penthouses. It was developed by Michael E. Paterno and completed in 1927, replacing 10 buildings on the site including the former residence of Alma Gluck Zimbalist at the 72nd Street corner.

View from the northwest

Although not quite as flamboyant as some of its nearby neighbors on the avenue, 775 Park Avenue is very impressive: its apartments have two to six fireplaces, ceilings range from 10-feet-four-inches to 13-feet tall.

Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins devote considerable attention to Candela in their book, "New York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Two World Wars," Rizzoli, 1987:

"Although Candela designed 775 Park Avenue, as well as 47 Plaza Street in Brooklyn in 1928 on his own, he frequently collaborated with other, more established firms. In the late 1920's and early 1930's, Candela reached his peak in four splendid apartments, one of which, 770 Park Avenue, he designed on his own.

Candela is widely considered to have been the country’s greatest designer of luxury apartment buildings and he collaborated with many of the city’s most famous architectural firms.

Candela’s 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…. Candela 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 in 1915. His other famous buildings include 834 and 960 Fifth Avenue, 720, 740, and 778 Park Avenue, and 19 East 72nd Street, all considered among the most glamorous addresses in the city.

For more information about this building check its entry at CityRealty.com

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