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1215 Fifth Avenue

Northeast corner at 102nd Street

1215 Fifth Avenue

By Carter B. Horsley

This apartment house was built in 1929 by Arthur Brisbane, a journalist who four years developed the far larger and more prominently located Ritz Tower on the northeast corner of Park Avenue and 57th Street.

This neo-Romanesque structure was designed by Schultze & Weaver, the architects of the Sherry-Netherland Hotel at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street. It was converted to a cooperative in 1978 and now contains 62 apartments.


"Brisbane was the highest-paid newspaperman of his day, perhaps of any day in terms of purchasing power of money. In the early 1930's William Randolph Hearst paid him two hundred fifty thousand dollars a year to write a six-day-a-week column entitled 'Today,' which appeared on the front page of the Hearst tabloids and hundreds of other newspapers in the United States," wrote Jerry E. Patterson in his book, "Fifth Avenue, The Best Address," (Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1998).

"Brisbane," Patterson continued, "was astonishingly prolific: he wrote five hundred thousand words a year; in fifty-three years of journalism, he calculated that he had written 25 million words. Most of them might as well have been written on the wind so far as posterity was concerned. He was a master of superficiality and platitudes; his columns required the minimum effort on the part of readers; no long words, no opinions that would bewilder them. Although his superficiality was complete, he was energetic; he had a dictaphone (one of the earliest) in his car and crews of secretaries and messengers to rush his copy to the office of the New York Journal, his hometown outlet....Brisbane built 1215 in 1929 as an investment with a triplex apartment for himself on the fourteenth, fifteenth, and penthouse floors that could be reached by a private elevator from the street floor. The two-story living room measured twenty-six by sixty feet....A handsome bronze portrait medallion of Brisbane is set as a relief in the wall along the Fifth Avenue side of Central Park at 101st Street."

The building has a four-story limestone base with a large arched window above the attractive, canopied avenue entrance and arched windows on the first floor. The first floor windows have slightly indented top corners, a subtle touch.

Brisbane died in 1936 and the building, which is just to the north of the Mt. Sinai Hospital, was foreclosed three years later and his spectacular apartment, which also had a two-story-high, 33-foot-long dining room, was subdivided.

The building is just to the north of Mt. Sinai Hospital. It has no garage and is not close to the subways.

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