By Carter B. Horsley
This 40-story, 205-unit condominium tower is
one of the anchors of the revitalized Third Avenue that took shape
before the stock market crash of 1987.
Completed in 1986, this tall, freestanding
building reminds one of an asparagus as the top half is more elaborate
than the lower half and the crown almost comes to a point.
Certainly, this building and a couple of its
neighbors sprouted a new skyline for the avenue, which in this
period took on a very gentrified "boulevard" air as
several of the towers, including this one, were setback from the
street, creating a sense of more openness.
Developed by Ian Bruce Eichner, Robert Michaelson
and Martin Gang, this soaring edifice is quite dramatic. Its substantial
plaza, however, is rather quizzical with its rough-cut pink stone,
plantless pergola that bears no relation to the tower, nor to
just about anything else. The pergola, in fact, appears to be
merely a folly and follies are desperately welcome in New York,
especially on the Upper East Side where there are few. Still,
this is neither beautiful nor interesting, just puzzling and as
such detracts considerably from the project’s overall impact.
It is not offensive, as are the spike planters across the avenue
a block or two to the south at another building’s plaza.
It is just quirky, like the gray granite tempietto not far away
in the curved corner plaza of the office building at 135 East
57th Street (see The City Review article).
While this building has no sundeck or health
club, it has striking vistas from many apartments and a superb
location. The building’s massing and proportions are excellent,
although the rooftop enclosure is surprisingly industrial and
disappointing, not in form, but materials.
The design architects were Alfredo De Vido
Architects and Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron was also
involved. Voorsanger & Mills designed the lobby spaces and
Quennell-Rothschild Associates was the landscape architect.
This and Bristol Plaza, one
block north and across the avenue (see The City Review article), compliment each other nicely as two, proud, spindly
monoliths that are quite similar in proportions, not unlike the
shorter and squatter Trump Plaza (see The City Review article) and the Savoy (see The
City Review article)
on opposite sites of the street and avenue three blocks to the
south. These two, unofficial pairings give this section of Third
Avenue a lot of tingling resonance.
The building's entrance is a bit understated
given the eccentricity of the pergola on the other side of the
building and the soaring quality of the tower, which has a great
many angled balconies that give sharp definition to its form.