By Carter B. Horsley
one of the city's most elegant and distinguished apartment buildings.
is it entirely clad in limestone, but its many unusual and notable
design elements predate Art Deco flourishes with a quite bold,
yet restrained composition.
was erected in 1915 and converted to a cooperative in 1978.
building's facade is nicely modeled to accent its verticality,
but is punctuated by a very large wrought-iron entrance marquee
and large balconies on the fourth, fifth and twelfth floors. The
13th floor has arched windows below the building's simple cornice.
building, which has no doorman and no concierge, has only 26 apartments.
It was designed
for Bing & Bing by Emery Roth, the architect who would later
design such masterpieces as the San Remo and Beresford apartment
towers on Central Park West and the Ritz on Park Avenue and 57th
In his fine
book, "Mansions in the Sky, the Skyscraper Palazzi of Emery
Roth," (Balsam Press, Inc., 1986), Steven Ruttenbaum observes
that 601 West End Avenue "exhibits an eclectic mixture of
neo-classicism and the Vienna Secession" and is "notable
for its discipline and sobriety." The building, he wrote,
originally had only one apartment per floor.
to Peter Salwen, the author, Jesse L. Lasky, the theatrical and
burlesque producer, lived here. In his fine book, "Upper
West Side Story, A History and Guide" (Abbeville Press, 1989),"
Salwen wrote that Lasky had been convinced by his brother-in-law,
Samuel Goldfish, a glove merchant, to go into the movie business
and "they teamed up with neighbors Cecil B. DeMille and Adolph
Zukor (both of West 114th) to form Lasky-Famous Players, with
studios on West 23rd and West 56th." "Goldfish, forced
out in 1915, changed his name to Goldwyn," Salwen continued,
"and created the organization that became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The original business moved its headquarters to sunny California
soon afterward, but still did business under a West Side name:
Paramount Pictures, named for the Paramount apartment house (still
standing) at 315 West 99th....Even as young men, it's pleasing
to report, they showed the imagination that would make Hollywood
great. Glove importer Goldfish had realized he could avoid customs
duties by shipping crates of left and right gloves separately
to, say, New York and New Orleans, leaving them unclaimed, and
later buying them for five dollars or so at the abandoned-property
auction, where it was a good bet no one else would bid against
him for a shipment of unmatched gloves."
has no sidewalk landscaping and discrete air-conditioners.
has inconsistent fenestration.
It is one
block to the east from Riverside Park and one block to the west
of convenient neighborhood shopping on Broadway. It is also very
convenient to excellent crosstown bus service on 86th Street and
not far from a local subway station at 86th Street and Broadway.
This area has undergone significant upgrading in the 1980's and
1990's and is now one of the most desirable on the Upper West