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Avonova, 219 West 81st Street

Between Amsterdam Avenue & Broadway

Carter Horsley
Review by Carter Horsley
Carter Horsley Carter B. Horsley, a former journalist for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Post. Mr. Horsley is also the editorial director of

This 13-story apartment building is located at 219 West 81st Street on the northeast corner at Broadway.

The building was erected in 1912 and was designed by Gaetano Ajello, who was the architect also for 473, 505, 575, 645 West End Avenue, the Rexor Apartments on Broadway at 116th Street, the Luxor Apartments on Broadway at 115th Street and 17 East 89th Street.

The building underwent a significant overhaul in the 2000s during which its façade was restored and new windows were installed as well as new plumbing, elevator and mechanical systems.

Gruzen Samton was the architectural firm for the conversion.


The building has a three-story limestone base and its mid-block, 3-step-up entrance is in a deep light court, one of five at the building. The entrance is landscaped and well-lit with wall sconces.

The beige brick building has arched windows at the top floor and delightful putti holding escutcheons above some fifth floor windows.

It has an exposed rooftop watertank and some protruding air-conditioners.


The building has a landscaped roofdeck and a concierge but no garage.

Added during its renovation in the 2000s was a lower level amenity center designed by Allen + Killcoyne that has a fitness center, a clubroom and catering kitchen, a children's playcenter, and storage units.


Apartments have crown moldings and Bosch laundry appliances. Kitchens have Viking appliances, pearlescent lacquer cabinetry with frosted glass accents, Caesarstone countertops and under-cabinet lighting. Master baths have Crema Calacatta marble flooring, shower and bath enclosures in Thassos marble, vessel sinks and Zuma soaking tubs.


An article by Vivian Marino in the December 11, 2010 edition of The New York Times said that the building had been acquired from the developers by Aby Rosen, who owns numerous major properties in the city including the Lever House and the Seagrams Building on Park Avenue.


It is very close to Zabar's one block south on Broadway and there is a subway station at 79th Street.

The building is just to the west of the Barrington apartment building at 203 West 81st Street, a smaller but similar building with a deep light court that is two steps down from the building line.

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