This very handsome, Italian
Renaissance-palazzo-style building is distinguished by some very
attractive Venetian-style decorative balconies. It was erected
in 1915 and converted to a cooperative in 1988. It has 55 apartments.
The light beige-brick, 12-story
building has a canopied entrance, flanked by paired pilasters,
with bronze doors. The building's address is incised above the
entrance as are the letters "J" and "P." The
building, which has a cornice and several bandcourses, has a concierge
but no garage.
The building's facade has
protruding air-conditioners and consistent fenestration.
This is an attractive and
quiet stretch of West End Avenue and is convenient to public transportation
and one block from Riverside Park. Neighborhood shopping is convenient
and steadily improving as high-end retailers continue to advance
Marketing for the residential
condominium conversion of the 13-story apartment building at 905
West End Avenue on the northwest corner at 104th Street began
It was one of three similar
buildings designed by Gaetano Ajello for the Paterno Brothers
in this attractive stretch of the Upper West Side. The other two
at 895 and 905 West End Avenue.
In a June 24, 2007 article
in The New York Times, Christopher Gray noted that the
"three apartment houses on the same side were built by the
Paterno family, all designed with a bold elegance by their favored
architect, Gaetano Ajello, who left his name in each cornerstone.
But these near triplets have aged quite differently. The northernmost,
905, has a desolate, blighted look, especially over the entrance,
where leaks from high up have come out through the brick, leaving
behind great whitish salt stains called efflorescence. The cornice
has been ripped off, the brick patching at the edges is a sad
mismatch, and a crude line of electrical conduit runs from the
original grand lamp bases to smaller fixtures set about six feet
too low. By comparison, 895 West End Avenue, across 104th Street,
has had all the luck. Its windows are original; their wooden frames
have a texture that even expensive metal replacements cannot approach.
In the 1990s, the firm of Walter B. Melvin Architects replaced
a missing cornice with an estimable reinterpretation, using off-the-shelf
brackets, but to good effect. Best of all, the first two stories
are in limestone in big rusticated blocks - it's sort of a mini-University
Club - and the stone is blessedly unpainted. Bring a loupe, or
even just a good pair of eyes, and peer up close at the ancient
shells and other sea creatures from millions of years ago. There
is a particularly scary spiderlike specimen below the second window
to the left of the main entrance, and the whorls and patterns
even run through the building's cornerstone. This part of West
End has many good stretches of marine sediment turned to rock.
The last of the three Ajello-Paterno projects, No. 885, has a
fancy canopy and far too fancy replacement doors, but no one has
stripped the stone of its paint. Who knows what delights hide
Ajello's other buildings in
Manhattan include 473, 505, 514, 575, 645 and 884 West End Avenue,
and 160 and 373 Riverside Drive ad the Alameda and Avonova apartments
on the Upper West Side.