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660 Park Avenue

Northwest corner at 67th Street

660 Park Avenue

By Carter B. Horsley

One of the most impressive and exclusive buildings on Park Avenue, this 12-story building was erected in 1927 and has only 11 apartments.

It was designed for Starrett Brothers in Italian Renaissance-style by York & Sawyer, an architectural firm best known for its bank buildings.

The luxurious and elegant building has the city's most spectacular maisonette, a 27-room triplex with its own entrance on the sidestreet that leads up marble stairs into the apartment's foyer. The maisonette has its own address, 666 Park Avenue.

The lower two floors have double-height entertaining rooms, including one that is 46 feet long, 22 feet wide and 18 feet high. The apartment was specifically designed for Ms. William K. Vanderbilt II, the former Virginia ("Birdie" Graham Fair, a daughter of James Graham Fair, a mining magnate who opened the Comstock Lode of silver in Nevada and became a U. S. Senator. Mrs. Vanderbilt subsequently sold her palatial apartment to Seton Porter, a founder of the National Distillers Corporation and husband of Fredericka V. Berwind, a daughter of a coal magnate.

660 Park Avenue from southeast


In his excellent book, "Park Avenue, Street of Dreams," (Atheneum, 1990), James Trager said that Mrs. Porter was "once called the most beautiful woman in Philadelphia," and had been previously married to the head of the Morgan Harjes Bank in Paris and had "organized and endowed the first privately founded military hospital at the front" in World War I. In 1938, according to Salwen, the apartment was purchased by Fan Fox, whose family had founded the major department store in Hartford, Conn., and her husband, Leslie B. Samuels. After her death in 1970, the apartment was acquired by Arthur Sackler, the owner of a medical advertising agency and a medical publication and a major art collector. He died in 1987, but his widow, Gillian, remained in the apartment.

The building's facade has a balustrade and belt course above the third floor that distinguishes the difference between the maisonette and the rest of the building, which as one apartment per floor. Apart from the maisonette, the building is similar to another developed by Starrett Brothers and designed by W. L. Rouse and L. A. Goldstone at 760 Park Avenue and completed in 1924, according to Andrew Alpern's excellent book, "New York's Fabulous Luxury Apartments with Original Floor Plans from the Dakota, River House, Olympic Tower and Other Great Buildings," (Dover Publications, Inc., 1987).

The building has a marquee entrance, a doorman, a concierge, and no balconies, no garage and no sundeck.

For more information about this building check its entry at


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