By Carter B. Horsley
One of the newer apartment
houses on Central Park West, this 19-story building was erected
as a condominium in 1992 and is one of the few residential buildings
in the city whose top is illuminated at night. It thus joins an
illustrious and exclusive group of such buildings on Central Park
West as the San Remo, the Beresford and the Eldorado.
This building presents an
interesting contrast with a similar tower, which has no illuminated
top, at 279 Central Park West (see The City
Review article) at 88th Street. Both were erected under special
"contextual" zoning that mandated multiple setbacks
above the boulevard's traditional building wall height of about
15 stories and both have similar silhouettes. The building at
279 is notable for its curved-glass corner windows while this
one has traditional non-curved corner windows, but they are floor-to-ceiling
with white reveals while the rest of the building is red-brick.
In her book, "New York,
A Guide to Recent Architecture," (Ellipsis London Limited,
1998), Susanna Sirefman commented on the elaborate planning process
that this building went through and remarked that "a major
topic of discussion was the setbacks occurring on buildings along
the street." "To create this popular cascading effect,
353 meets the street wall at ground plane, rising to a 150-foot
cornice level. A series of stepped-back terraces then recedes
from both the avenue and the street elevations, resulting in a
turret-topped penthouse and watertower," Sirefman wrote.
The "cascading" terraces may be popular for the residents,
but are not necessarily popular with architecture critics unless
they help create a nice composition. Here they do, but in some
other "contextual" and terraced buildings of the same
"generation, they are not.
"The condominium floorplans
are as conservative as the building exterior. One apartment per
floor (there are only 16 in total) allows reiterative elements
to be expressed on the facades. Inside, marble entryways, maid's
quarters, rosewood floors and woodburning fireplaces set the tone.
The views over Central Park are stunning."
Although smaller than 279,
353 Central Park West is a far more attractive building. On the
other hand, it is seven blocks further north.
A subway station and excellent
cross-town bus service is half a block away to the north at 96th
While low key, this is a
very fine building and one of the city's best postwar residential
buildings. The building was erected by Kiska Developers and was
designed by Yorancioglu Architects and The Vilkas Group. It has
no garage and no sundeck.