By Carter B. Horsley
This handsome, 19-story, red-brick
apartment building at 444 Central Park West on the northwest corner
at 104th Street was erected in 1929.
It was designed by Boak &
Paris whose other buildings include 5, 22, 100 and 315 Riverside
Drive, 5 West 86th Street, 336 West End Avenue, 45 Christopher
Street, the Brevoort East Apartments.
It has 123 apartments and was
converted by Curtis Katz to a cooperative in 1976.
It has a very attractive one-story
sandstone base and some sandstone window surrounds on the second
floors. It has arched windows on the first floor and some on the
third floor. Its attractive rooftop watertank enclosure has a
crenellated top and arched windows with stone surrounds.
It has sidewalk landscaping
but inconsistent fenestration and no garage.
The red-brick structure has
some protruding masonry to add texture to its facades. The building
has a canopied entrance, and several terraces. It permits protruding
A July 15, 2001 article in
The New York Times by Christopher Gray was devoted to Boak
& Paris. It said that Russell M. Boak worked as a draftsman
in the office of Emery Roth and that his partner Hyman F. Paris
also did and they founded their own firm in 1927.
"Their early work included
the apartment house at the northeast corner of 106th Street and
Broadway. In the 1930's, though..., their work became more inventive.
They gave 315 Riverside Drive (designed in 1930 at 104th Street)
definite Art Deco overtones, including strips of half-round molded
brick running up the facade and unusual window grills with stylized
floral motifs. In 1932 Boak & Paris designed a pink and black
terra cotta movie house on Broadway near 99th Street - now the
Metro Theater, formerly the Midtown....In 1933 they did their
first building for Samuel Minskoff, an apartment house at 3 East
66th Street. Many elements of their later work appear there: elegant
window grills of iron with brass trim; multicolored terrazzo floors
of geometric style; varicolored marble lobby fireplaces; dropped
living rooms; neo-Classical details reworked in modern style;
sophisticated molded plaster ceiling decoration; and elaborate
iron and brass entry doors, also in modern style....Boak and Paris
split up in 1942. It appears that Paris retired, but in 1944 Boak
entered into a partnership with Thomas O. Raad that also produced
some inventive buildings....Among them were the angular sawtooth-plan
apartment buildings at 430 and 440 East 56th Street, designed
for the Doelger family in the 1950s."