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The Alexandria, 201 West 72nd Street

At The Northwest corner of Broadway

Carter Horsley
Reviewed 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 CityRealty.com.
 

The Alexandria at 201 East 72nd Street on the northwest corner at Broadway was the most attractive new building on the Upper West Side in decades when it was built in 1991.

The 25-story, 202-unit condominium building abounds in nice architectural touches and its location in the lee of the taller Ansonia one block north makes it highly visible from the south.  Its distinctive watertank enclosure is a wonderful Post-Modern concoction of Egyptian motifs.

While most other new buildings of the period have tried to be contextual (with strong urging from the city's zoning), this building, which was developed by Peter L. Malkin, Arthur G. Cohen and William Zeckendorf Jr. and partners and designed by Frank Williams & Associates and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill has gone the extra distance and been original.

Bottom Line

With its highly sculptural form of angled turret bay windows, indented balconies, stepped setbacks and distinctive watertank enclosure, this very visible building significantly brightens up this very important intersection and is a fine compliment to the even more decorative Ansonia across 73rd Street.

Description

The building is distinguished not only by its octagonal watertank enclosure that looks like a pharaoh’s dressing room but also by its many setbacks, its turreted corner at Broadway and its indented balconies with white grill railings.

The façade of the building is richly colored in reds, whites and greens and sports very handsome white grill balcony railings.

In their great book, "New York 2000, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Bicentennial and the Millennium," Robert A. M. Stern, David Fishman and Jacob Tilove described the Alexandria as "the most flamboyant of Broadway's new generation of apartment houses."

The building is not far from Riverside Drive and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Amenities

The Alexandria has a full-time doorman, a sun deck, laundry facilities on every floor, basement storage, a health club, a pool, a landscaped garden.

Apartments

The apartment layouts are quite spacious and many of the units have very tall ceilings.

Apartments have tall ceilings.

Apartment 8I has an 11-foot-long foyer that leads to a 17-foot-long corner living room with a 10-foot-long sleeping alcove and an enclosed kitchen.

Penthouse1C is a three-bedroom unit that has a 48-foot-long foyer/gallery leading to a 24-foot-long living room next to an 11-foot-long dining room adjacent to an 11-foot-long enclosed kitchen.  The living room has a 24-foot-long terrace facing south and the dining room and gallery share a 26-foot-long balcony facing north.

Apartment 10C is a three-bedroom unit with an entry past an enclosed kitchen to a dining room and 31-foot-long living room. 

Apartment 14E is a three-bedroom unit with a 23-foot-long entrance gallery leading to a 27-foot-long living room, an enclosed 11-foot-long kitchen and an 11-foot-square breakfast room.  The apartment also has a 46-foot-long north-facing terrace.

Apartment 18A has a 9-foot-long foyer that leads to a 19-foot-long corner living room adjacent to a 12-foot-long dining room next to a pass-through kitchen.  The three-bedroom unit has a very long terrace on two sides with entrances from the dining room and one of the bedrooms.

History

The building replaced a two-story building that housed the Embassy movie theater that was designed by Peter Copland and Schwartz & Gross in 1938, and was formerly a site occupied by the Hotel St. Andrew that was designed by Andrew Craig in 1893.

Authors Stern, Fishman and Tilove noted that developer William Zeckendorf Jr. had planned to expand the theater on the site "to become a 1,250-seat, five-screen complex, but the plan proved uneconomical when his attempt to assemble the full Broadway blockfront failed."

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