By Carter B. Horsley
This large, attractive apartment building was
designed by J. E. R. Carpenter, the foremost architect of luxury
residential buildings in the city of his generation. Walter B.
Chambers was the associate architect.
His other buildings on Fifth Avenue include
810, 825, 907, 920, 950, 988, 1030, 1035, 1060, 1115, 1120, 1143,
1150, 1165 and 1170 as well as 2 East 66th Street.
Erected in 1923, the 11-story building, which
has 70 apartments, was converted to a cooperative in 1991. It
is very similar to 1150 Fifth Avenue, which is directly across
96th Street and was designed by the same architect, albeit for
a different developer (see The City Review
In his excellent book, "The New York Apartment
Houses of Rosario Candela and James Carpenter" (Acanthus
Press, 2001), Andrew Alpern notes that the building originally
had 48 units and 30 servants' rooms. "Two days after filing
for the plans of this 13-story building," Alpern continued,
"the Board of Estimate limited building heights on upper
Fifth Avenue to 75 feet. Owner/developer Mary Jennings filed a
mandamus action claiming that her filing two days before the passage
of the zoning change entitled her to a building permit. With the
support of James Carpenter who vigorously opposed the height ban,
she won and construction began more than ten months after the
filing date. In 1950, roof-top maids' rooms were converted into
penthouse apartments, and in 1994 the penthouse parapet wall was
cut down, the top floor facade was altered, an an iron railing
was installed to provide a park view to the front penthouse apartment
(similar to alternation made in 1932 to 1030 Fifth Avenue)."
While not as grand as some of Carpenter’s
other buildings further south, or 1158 one block to the north,
this building has very handsome apartments, many with large entrance
The building has a limestone base, extensive
sidewalk landscaping, a doorman, a concierge, large attractive
layouts with large entrance halls, good views of Central Park,
and a large lobby. It is at the exit of the eastbound 96th Street
Central Park transverse road, but, fortunately, the westbound
traffic across the park uses 97th Street.
Large, white spandrels at the building's base
unfortunately distract considerably from the building's exterior
ambiance. It has no garage, no balconies and no health club.
The cross-street here is quite handsome and
many important cultural institutions are nearby to the south on
Fifth Avenue’s "Museum Mile." The Carnegie Hill
neighborhood here has many fine schools and attractive restaurants
and religious institutions. A local subway station is at 96th
Street and Lexington Avenue and Mt. Sinai Hospital is a few blocks
to the north on Fifth Avenue. A large children’s playground
is just within Central Park on the south side of 96th Street.