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1158 Fifth Avenue

Between East 96th Street & East 97th Street

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.
 

Although many observers define the northern boundary of the Upper East Side as 96th Street, it really extends much further along Fifth Avenue and this is one of the nicest of the many luxury apartment houses in the area.

This handsome, large, 15-story apartment house, designed in French Renaissance-style by C. Howard Crane and Kenneth Franzheim, was built as a cooperative in 1924 and has 58 apartments.

The building has one of the most elegant and magnificent lobbies in the city, a large, vaulted, eight-sided space that is richly decorated in Adamesque style.

The building, which has sidewalk landscaping, has a doorman and a concierge and the window reveals flanking the entrance are a fine deep red sculpted polished granite.

The building has fireplaces, a gym and three slightly arched windows above its canopied entrance.

In their impressive tome, "New York 1930, Architecture And Urbanism Between The Two World Wars," (Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1987), Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins take special note of this building in light of the fact that the city s zoning changed at 96th Street:

"By the mid-1920's the apartment house boom, which was in full swing, had resulted in the creation of a 150-foot-high wall facing the park. In its bland uniformity, as much a reflection of the taste for self-effacement shared by architects and clients alike as an expression of the prevailing zoning, this wall represented one of the fullest realizations of the French academic ideal of urbansime, transforming Olmsted's simulacrum of open country into a front yard, or more grandly put, a place at metropolitan scale.

"This homogeneous urban backdrop was typically expressed in a Modern Renaissance vocabulary. Many of the apartments presented only slender frontages along the avenue....But the truly prestigious addresses of the period filled large portions of their blockfronts."

"This building," they continued, "was the first of the large-scale projects." "Somewhat atypically - perhaps because of its uptown location - 1158 Fifth Avenue had relatively small apartments ranging from seven to nine rooms," they added.

North of 96th Street, Fifth Avenue is an impressive mix of luxury apartment buildings, Mt. Sinai Hospital and several institutions such as the New York Academy of Medicine and the Museum of the City of New York.

Here, the park views are more bucolic than just to the south where the reservoir takes up much of the park. Indeed, this northern sector of Central Park is very lovely and in the late 1990's the Harlem Meer at its northeast corner was renovated and Mt. Sinai built attractive new facilities and much of the 90's underwent a significant upgrading with many new apartment towers and restaurants, especially in the Carnegie Hill area just south of 96th Street.

The area has several private schools and a local subway station at 96th Street and Lexington Avenue. The 96th Street westbound bus crosses Central Park at 97th Street.

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