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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

1107 Fifth Avenue

Between East 91st Street & East 92nd Street

86
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 CityRealty.com.
 

One of the grandest pre-war apartment buildings on Fifth Avenue is 1107 Fifth Avenue on the southeast corner at 92nd Street in Carnegie Hill. 

This 14-story building was built by the George Fuller Company in 1925 and designed by W. K. Rouse & L. A. Goldstone.

Its fame was based on the 54-room triplex penthouse that was created for Marjorie Merriweather Post Hutton, who had owned the townhouse on the site when she was married to E. F. Hutton, the stockbroker.

The huge apartment, once described by architectural historian Andrew Alpern as “certainly the largest and very possibly the most luxurious apartment ever created anywhere,” was subsequently broken up.

The building has 26 apartments.

Bottom Line

Surrounded by Central Park, important museums and mansions, numerous private schools and handsome religious structures, the pre-war apartment building at 1107 Fifth Avenue offers luxurious sidewalk landscaping and an attractive entrance.

Description

The building has a three-story rusticated limestone base and the fourth and fifth floors have two-story-high limestone pilasters and pediment window surrounds on the fourth floor. The composition of the lower five floors of the building echoes the design of the former Otto Kahn Mansion that is now the Convent of the Sacred Heart School on the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 91st Street.

The designation report for the Carnegie Hill Historic District noted that “the portion of the building that originally contained the triplex is distinguished on the exterior by a large Palladian window at the twelfth story of the Fifth Avenue façade and corner balconies at the 13th floor.

The eighth-floor façade on Fifth Avenue has a large decorative balcony in its center.

There is a bandcourse above the 11th floor and the building has pronounced cornices above the 13th floor except at the corners where there are small terraces.  The roof has several attractive tall chimneys.

The building has some discrete air-conditioners.

Amenities

The building has a concierge, and a doorman, but not sundeck and no garage.

Apartments

The typical floor between the 2nd and 12th floors originally had four apartments and the two facing Fifth Avenue had 20-foot-long living rooms with fireplaces.

The original Hutton penthouse was served by a private porte-cochère entrance that was recessed behind three arches the base of the building on the side-street.

The existing top floor penthouse has a 15-foot-wide entrance gallery that leads to a 27-foot-long living room with a wood-burning fireplace and an entrance to the 28-foot-long south terrace and the 75-foot-long west terrace.  The apartments has a 21-foot-flong library, 19-foot-wide master bedroom and a 18-foot-long bedroom, all with fireplaces facing Fifth Avenue and the bedroom has an entrance to the 100-foot-long north terrace.  The apartment also has a 19-foot-long dining room adjacent to the 21-foot-long pantry and the 17-foot-long kitchen that opens onto the 36-foot-long south east terrace.  There is also an 11-foot-long staff room.

The same penthouse floor has a one-bedroom apartment with a 19-foot-square living room that opens onto the north terrace and a 14-foot-square bedroom that opens onto the 34-foot-long northeast terrace.  This unit also has a 9-foot-long enclosed kitchen.  This apartment was formerly the laundry in the Hutton triplex.

History

There are many spectacular apartments in New York, but few rise to legendary status over the years as did Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt II's 27-room maisonette at 660 Park Avenue, Arthur Brisbane's duplex in the Ritz Tower at Park Avenue and 57th Street with a 20-foot-high, 70-foot-long living room, William Randolph Hearst's five-floor apartment with a triple-height hall in the Clarendon at 137 Riverside Drive, and Stewart Mott's quadruplex penthouse at the Galleria on West 57th Street.

Probably the most famous, however, was Marjorie Merriweather Post Hutton's 54-room, triplex penthouse in this building.

The apartment included a silver room, a wine room and cold storage rooms for flowers and for furs along with a self-contained suite of rooms for Mrs. Hutton's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Post, according to Mr. Alpern.  A floorplan of the Hutton triplex in Mr. Alpern’s book indicated about 18 servants rooms.

In his book, "Fifth Avenue, The Best Address," (Rizzoli, 1998), Jerry E. Patterson wrote that "The decoration, judging from contemporary photographs, was an uneasy mixture of eighteenth-century, much of it reproduction, along with homey Americana. The general effect was hotel-like. Mrs. Post, as she called herself after her fourth divorce, spent very little time in this huge layout [and] the apartment was vacant for many years before it was converted into six nine-room apartments."

Mrs. Post did not limit her vistas to New York and also owned Mar-a-Lago, the impressive estate in Palm Beach, Fla., that was acquired by New York developer Donald Trump and is now a club.

The triple-arch driveway on the side-street, which is similar to the one that is the main entrance at One Sutton Place South, is not active and its entry is now part of doctors' offices.

A long article in the June 12, 2008 edition of The New York Times by Penelope Green describes a rather curious and fascinating renovation of one of the apartments created out of the Post residence.

It was bought by Steven B. Kinsky, who runs a private equity company, his wife, Maureen Sherry, a former managing director at Bear Stearns, and their two sons, two daughters, and LuLu, their dog.

They commissioned Eric Clough to design the interiors of the 4,200-square-foot apartment with the instructions that they did not want it to be a "cookie-cutter" space. Mr. Kinsky, who also runs a charter school company, told him that he wanted a poem he had written to be put in a wall and Ms. Sherry suggested it be put in a bottle and hidden "like a time capsule."

Mr. Clough, according to the article, got inspired and contacted many friends and "before long, his firm, 212box, was knee-deep in code and cipher books, furniture-makers were devising secret compartments" and doing research on 40 historical figures. The renovation took a year and a half and was brought it about $300 a square foot.

Over time, the family began to discover a lot of unusual things and eventually Mr. Clough sent Mr. Kinsky a letter with a poem that directed the family to a hidden panel in the front hall with a book that led them on a scavenger hunt in the apartment with 18 clues.

"...the finale involved, in part, removing decorative door knockers from two hallway panels, which fit together to make a crank, which in turn opened hidden panels in a credenza in the dining room, which displayed multiple keys and keyholes, which, when the correct ones were used, yielded drawers containing acrylic letters and a table-size cloth imprinted with the beginnings of a crossword puzzle, the answers to which led to one of the rectangular panels lining the tiny den, which concealed a chamfered magnetic cube, which could be used to open the remaining 24 panels, revealing, in large type, the poem written by Mr. Kinsky," the article stated.

According to ny.curbed.com, Ms. Kinsky was president of the building’s board  and had made an offer to buy the penthouse for about $21 million but the offer was rejected by the estate of Monique Uzielli in favor of a $27.5 million offer from Carlos Rodriguez Pastor. Ms. Uzielli brought the apartment in 1958 and lived there until her death at the age of 98 in 2011. Ms. Kinsky got the board to vote for creating a roof deck over the penthouse at which point Mr. Pastor demanded to be released from his $2.5 million deposit to purchase the penthouse.

Other residents of the building have included Ralph Lauren, the designer, and Howard Stringer, the head of Sony.

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