By Carter B. Horsley
This 18-story, 32-unit cooperative building
was erected in 1955 and designed by H. J. Harmon.
Directly across from the superb Commonwealth
Fund Building with its attractive, tall, wrought-iron fence at
1 East 75th Street that was designed by Hale & Rogers in 1908
for Edward S. Harkness, an original partner in Standard Oil, this
building has a magnificent, quiet location on Fifth Avenue’s
This buff-brick building has a two-story limestone
base with a sidestreet entrance and sidewalk landscaping.
It replaced two famous mansions. The corner
site had been previously owned by Simon Guggenheim and then Otto
H. Kahn and in 1907 Mrs. Grace Rainey Rogers, who had an auditorium
named after her at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, commissioned
Carrère & Hastings to built her a townhouse on the
site and sold it two years later to Edwin Gould, whose family
owned it until 1953. The other house, one in from the corner,
was designed by Warren & Wetmore in 1910 for S. Reading Bertron.
In their excellent book, "New York 1960, Architecture and
Urbanism Between The Second World War And The Bicentennial,"
(The Monacelli Press, 1995), Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins
and David Fishman noted, correctly, that the building designed
by Harmon Associates on the site was "architecturally undistinguished...one
more addition to the avenue that was more memorable for what it
replaced than what it contributed," adding that "its
upper-level setbacks presented disorganized, asymmetrical profiles
to both Seventy-fifth Street and Fifth Avenue."
The relatively plain building, which has a
penthouse with a large bay window, nonetheless, has a magnificent,
quiet location, great Central Park views and very few apartments.
For more information on 936 Fifth Avenue check its entry at CityRealty.com