This maroon-bricked building at 336 Central
Park West at 94th Street
displays one of the most graceful and unusual cornices of the city.
The 15-story building was erected in 1929 and converted to a
cooperative in 1971. It has 103 apartments.
It was designed by Schwartz & Gross, one of the city's
most active architectural firms specializing in apartment buildings before
World War II. The firm also designed the Brentmore at 88 Central
Park West and most of its designs were more conventional, though
still attractive. They were particularly active on Park
Avenue with buildings at: 470, 525, 885, 888, 910, 911, 930, 941,
970, 983, 1045, 1070, 1095, 1125 and 1165
This is one of several very interesting buildings in a
pleasant stretch of Central Park West in the 90s. It has protruding
air-conditioners and inconsistent fenestration, as well as two small curved
balconies above its canopied and landscaped entrance.
It is two blocks south of a subway station and the
cross-town bus service at 96th
Like a blooming rare orchid, the top of this pre-war
building across from Central Park just flares
Cornices are protruding rooftop elements that cap a
building's fašade composition. They are horizontal exclamation marks that 'separate a
building from the sky', from a pedestrian point of view. They are the
pronounced precipices that form very important accents, especially since in an
urban setting, where most buildings are built to uniform street walls, are
often seen from severe angles rather than directly.
Although many fine cornices in the city are well-detailed,
often mirroring Italian Renaissance, they generally are straight-edged. Some
have curved fašades beneath them and some have scalloped forms. Here, the
architects have created a gently undulating roofline of great grace.
Norval White, Elliot Willensky and Fran Leadon wrote of this
building in their fine book, The A.I.A. Guide to New York City: "This 16-story apartment
house is crowned with terra-cotta reminiscences of Egyptian-styled cavetto
cornice (Art Deco Egyptian, not the Egyptian Revival of the 1840s). The
tapestry brick enriches the viewer’s experience closer to eye level.”
Peter Salwen’s excellent book, Upper West Side Story: A
History and Guide, perhaps offers a better description:
“[It] was Central Park West’s earliest Art Deco building,
with variegated ‘tapestry’ brickwork and vaguely Egyptian motifs (possibly
stylized papyrus plants) in the flared terra-cotta trim and crowning water
The combination of the fašade's rich dark color, and the
rather delicate detailing of the cornice, is surprising and spectacular. The
most famous Egyptian-style building in the city was the Tombs, a jail and court
building, now demolished, in Lower Manhattan.
Of existing buildings, the Pythian condominium building on 70th Street east of Broadway is full of
Egyptian-style elements in a quite bold, even gaudy, manner. Here, however, the
motif is quite muted and one wonders what would be the visual effect if the
cornice "papyrus" was covered in green-glazed terracotta.
The building has a full-time doorman, a live-in
superintendent, a laundry, a children’s playroom, storage and two separate
wings with 24-hour manned elevators.
17D is a one-bedroom unit with a 22-foot-wide living room that
opens onto an 11-foot-long dining room and an enclosed and windowed kitchen.
The apartment has three large terraces, one is 38 feet long, one is 31 feet
long and the third is 28 feet long.
9F is a two-bedroom unit with a 12-foot-wide entry foyer next to
a 17-foot-wide chef’s kitchen, a 17-foot-long staff room, a 14-foot-long
den/media room and a 27-foot-long living/dining room.
4F is a two-bedroom unit with a 14-foot-wide entry foyer that
leads to a 23-foot-wide living room, a 19-foot-wide dining room, an
18-foot-wide kitchen and a 13-foot-long staff room.
This building, which has
protruding air-conditioners and inconsistent fenestration, has
two small curved balconies above its canopied and landscaped entrance.
"The tapestry brick enriches the viewer's experience close
to eye level," authors Willensky and White noted. The two-story
white stone entrance surround is a bit puzzling since it does
not pick up the wavy papyrus motif of the rest of the building.
The building was erected
by Edgar Levy in 1929.