The tallest residential
building on Park Avenue when it was erected, this slim, 43-story tower opened in 2000
and was developed by the Zeckendorf General Partnership and the
Whitehall Real Estate Fund. has only 38 apartments.
Most of the apartments above the 15th floor
have stunning vistas in many directions.
The building, whose quoins extend the full
height of the tower, replaced a pre-war, Italian Renaissance-palazzo-style
building designed by Ernest Greene in 1910 as a cooperative with
18 apartments that were subsequently subdivided into 24. That
building was eventually acquired by the Jewish Agency that sought
state permission to evict tenants including the Syrian Consultate
and the Syrian Mission to the United Nations after which the agency,
an umbrella organization, occupied the building along with the
World Zionist Organization and the Weitzman Institute.
The building was designed by Frank Williams
The limestone, cast stone and beige-brick tower
is a Post-Modern design that seeks to carry on the avenue's predominantly
Italian Renaissance-palazzo tradition, albeit here exploded to
a huge scale.
Before World War II, only two towers broached
the avenue's traditional cornice line height of about 15 stories:
the Ritz Tower on the northeast
corner at 57th Street and the Delmonico
Hotel on the northwest corner at 59th Street.
When three other post-war high-rises of much
inferior quality- 715, 900
and 1065 Park Avenue - in the 1970s
there was considerable controversy over them and their possible
deleterious impact on the famous boulevard. There was no similar
outcry, however, about this project, perhaps because it is so
close to the midtown business district and also because it is
close to the Ritz Tower that for years was the avenue's tallest
This handsome, spindly tower, which seems taller
than 43 stories because it has 10-foot-high ceilings, joins the
Four Seasons Hotel nearby on 57th
Street between Park and Madison Avenues in giving the district
north of 57th Street a new skyline.
It is set back only on the north and west sides
at the 15th, 33rd and 43rd floors resulting in what Robert A.
M. Stern, David Fishman and Jacob Tilove described in their excellent
book, "New York 2000, Architecture and Urbanism Between The
Bicentennial And The Millennium" (The Monacelli Press, 2006),
as an "awkward silhouette."
"The detailing was heavy-handed, with
cast-stone corners, double-height pilasters below each setback,
and two cast-stone-clad mechanical equipment enclosures set atop
the building. In terms of sheer space, however," the authors
continued, "the interior left little to be desired....The
second floor provided ten suites for use as servants' quarters,
and the basement held fifteen private climate-controlled wine
cellars and thirty-eight storage rooms....But for all the luxury
(and sales success), the building was deemed a poor addition to
Park Avenue. Paul Goldberger found 515 Park to be 'particularly
ungainly'" and he found its facade "a pretentious muddle."
A full-service building with many amenities,
this building came onto the market with excellent timing as the
demand for large luxury apartments in prime locations pushed prices
to record highs in the late 1990s. Many of the apartments sold
for $15 million and up.
Apartments have entrance foyers and twelve
of the 38 apartments are duplexes. The building has a fitness
center, wine cellars, and a dining room entered from the lobby
that is available for catered affairs, and a residents' only library.
The Zeckendorf organization has been one of
the city's major developers for many years and in recent decades
pioneered the redevelopment of many areas with important projects
at Union Square and on Eighth Avenue in Midtown and at 96th Street
and Broadway. A few years after they completed this project, they
built 15 Central Park West that was designed in Post-Modern style
by Robert A. M. Stern.
Not too long after it opened for occupancy,
some of the building's residents complained about mold in the
building, but the issue faded away in not too long a time.
Despite its closeness to the Midtown Business
District, the location of 515 Park Avenue is relatively quiet,
but close to many famous stores, boutiques and restaurants. There
is excellent public transportation nearby.