By Carter B. Horsley
This sedate and distinguished, limestone-clad
apartment building was erected by Michael Paterno in 1928 and
converted to a cooperative in 1953.
Designed in Italian-Renaissance-palazzo style
by Rosario Candela, one of the foremost architects of residential
apartment buildings of his era, and Warren & Wetmore, and
Shreve and Lamb were consulting architects. It has only 15 apartments.
Candela's other Fifth Avenue buildings include 834, 850, 884,
955, 960 and 990. Candela also designed 1 Sutton Place South and
several luxury apartment buildings on Park Avenue.
Although its facade is not as finely detailed
as some of the avenue’s other prestigious pre-war buildings
such as 820 and 998, it is one of the city’s premier addresses
in part because it is close to many of the city’s most fashionable
boutiques and restaurants along Madison Avenue. It is also a bit
removed from major tourist attractions such as the Central Park
The building, which is also known as 856 Fifth
Avenue, has very fine Central Park views, although its location
close to an entrance to a Central Park transverse road makes for
considerable traffic and noise. A floor near the top has arched
windows facing Fifth Avenue.
While the building has no garage, no health
club and no sundeck, it has very high pre-war quality and has
a doorman, a concierge, sidewalk landscaping and a handsome three-story
It occupies the site of the former house of
Judge Elbert H. Gary, whose widow bought an apartment in the new
Andrew Alpern provides some interesting commentary
on this building in his excellent book, "The New York Apartment
Houses of Rosario Candela and James Carpenter" (Acanthus
"During construction, developer Paterno
got into a legal battle with former Governor Nathan Miller, who
lived in the adjoining house, over which of them had the right
to the side street address of 2 East 67th Street. In 1930, after
the building was fully occupied, Paterno won, but it took 20 years
before all the residents were using the side street address. Although
the use of a 'coded' side street address instead of a more obvious
Fith Avenue one has been said to 'separate the knowledgeable from
the newcomer,' the subtle distinction was evidently lost on the
building's initial occupants."