By Carter B. Horsley
This building has an extremely attractive masonry
facade of yellow and brown pitted bricks highlighted by brightly
colored terracotta decoration. It was erected in 1924 by the Mandel-Ehrich
Corporation and converted to a cooperative in 1953.
Henry Mandel, the developer, was one of the
city’s most prolific and important builders after World War
I and one of his most distinguished projects had been the Pershing
Square office building at 110 East 42nd Street, which was noted
for its very fine masonry.
This 14-story apartment building, which has
very attractive foliated entrance doors, had Tuscan masonry motifs
similar to the Pershing Square office building and would five
years later influence his far larger project, the London Terrace
apartment complex on West 23rd Street as well as the Lombardy
and Tuscany apartment hotels, completed in 1928 and 1928, respectively.
The architects for this building were John
Sloan and Albert E. Nast. Their design called for light-colored
yellow and brown bricks with no setbacks and terracotta ornamentation
at the entrance and on the fifth floor, a higher stringcourse
and around the penthouse.
The entrance is particularly attractive, if
not enchanting, with good-size terracotta figures made by the
Atlantic Terra Cotta Company of an immigrant worker, a Dutch burgher,
a frontiersman and an Indian brave, noted Andrew Alpern in his
book, "Luxury Apartment Houses of Manhattan, An Illustrated
History," (Dover Publications Inc., 1992). In an aside, Alpern
remarked that these figures were "hardly Tuscan." Three
arched windows above the entrance are flanked by an arched terracotta
decorative element that reads almost as Moorish grill shutters.
The building originally was planned to contain
six duplex apartments with elliptical staircases and 36-foot-long
living rooms with 11-foot-high ceilings and windows on three sides,
one full-floor apartment and a doctor’s suite on the street.
Apartments had more than one fireplace and there were servants’
rooms on the ground floor and the roof. Alpern wrote that in 1992
only two of the apartments had survived as duplexes and that the
remainder were converted in 1948 by architect Simon Zelnick to
simplex apartments. The building now has a total 15 apartments.
The building’s canopied entrance is flanked
by bronze lanterns and the tops of the street-level, fourth, 12th
and 14th story windows have arched decorative elements. The building
is close to "Museum Mile" on Fifth Avenue, the boutiques
and art galleries of Madison Avenue, Lenox Hill Hospital and the
77th Street local subway station at Lexington Avenue. It has a
doorman, but no sidewalk landscaping, no garage and no sundeck.