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205 East 59th Street

205 East 59th Street

205 East 59th Street has rounded balconies

By Carter B. Horsley

Construction on this attractive, 27-story, midblock, apartment tower began in 2004 on the former site of the Coronet and Baronet movie theaters across from Bloomingdale's on Third Avenue between 59th and 60th Streets.

The two demolished theaters were just to the south of Cinema 1 and Cinema II, midblock theaters that still survive.

In their excellent book, "The A.I.A. Guide to New York City, Fourth Edition," (Three Rivers Press, 2000), Elliot Willensky and Norval White observed that at Cinema 1 and Cinema 2, which each had their own marquee beneath a two-story-high blue-mosaic wall, "Modern architecture met the movies for the first time (in New York)." The buildings opened in 1962 and were designed by Abraham W. Geller & Associates. "A duplex that has since become a triplex, it was at first a piggyback pair. Geller and his wife, who did the interiors, produced a simple elegance with counterpoints of rich paintings and graphics. Now shopworn and somewhat degraded within," Mr. Willensky and Mr. White continued.

The Baronet and Coronet Theaters on this site opened a few years after Cinema I and Cinema II and were flashier in style although about the same size. The four theaters combined with three other individual movie theaters within two blocks made this area a pretty substantial entertainment district. Coupled with the fact that there are many restaurants on 58th Street one block to the south and Serendipity, the dessert emporium and store, around the corner on 60th Street, this would be a bustling location even if Bloomingdale's were not across the street.

View from the east

View from the east

The full block south of Bloomingdale's was for many years occupied by Alexander's department store, which was demolished by Vornado Realty Trust and replaced by One Beacon Court, a silvery and sparkling mixed-use skyscraper designed by Cesar Pelli & Associates that is one of the tallest buildings in midtown.

While Third Avenue to the north has been largely populated by tall luxury apartment towers in the sixties and seventies, this important corner of the Midtown District had been something of an anomaly because of the long-closed Alexander's store and the general blandness of much of the Bloomingdale's exterior.

This 62-unit condominium project, which also has the address of 993-7 Third Avenue, was developed by The Zucker Company, which has erected major residential towers at 30 East 85th Street and also at 34th Street and First Avenue.

The first two floors of this L-shaped salmon-colored brick building are retail and the third floor is a fitness center.

Designed by Richard Dattner, the architect of the handsome 72nd Street Broadway subway pavilion and the wonderful Public School 234 in TriBeCa, this building has curved facades and a "pooch park" for dogs as part of a 5,795-square foot outdoor area with views of the Queensborough Bridge to the east on the fifth floor landscaped by Thomas Balsey Associates.

Storage space is available for residents in the cellar for about $500 a square foot and each apartment has a remote-controlled gas-burning fireplace and at least one balcony.

Two apartments on every floor have solariums and living rooms on odd-numbered floors have ceilings that are 20 feet 8 inches high.

There are 21 one-bedroom units, 30 two-bedroom units and 10 three-bedroom units priced from about $1,500,000 to more than $3,000,000. The penthouse contains 2,706 square feet.

The building entrance on 59th Street is narrow and has a glass canopy supported by thick stainless steel pipes that conjure a goliath's jungle-gym. The entrance has sliding doors and a wall of water cascading down striated slate stones with bamboo trees. The lobby's floor is golden granite and three columns in the lobby are wrapped with steel mesh and the ceiling has have back-lit white onyx panels. The curved concierge desk is in front of a curtain of stainless steel beads. Other features include a tiered mahogany-decked verandah with Asian-themed landscaping and shaded meditation gardens.

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