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936 Fifth Avenue

Southeast corner at 75th Street

936 Fifth Avenue

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 Museum Mile.

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 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.

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