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45 East 89th Street

Between Madison Avenue & Park Avenue   |    Carnegie Hill

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 this behemoth incurred the wrath of many Upper East Siders for its great height, it is one of the city's finest post-War II high-rise apartment towers.

While its soaring height looms over Madison Avenue, the tower itself is setback both from the avenue and the sidestreets.

The surrounding plazas, all paved in large bricks similar to those on the tower, permitted the tower to rise as tall as it did under the then applicable zoning.

The tower's main redeeming feature is, in fact, its brickwork, a very large, reddish brown "iron-spot" brick whose warm color harmonizes well with its surroundings. The design, by Thomas Lehrecke of Oppenheimer, Brady & Lehrecke, is distinguished by its full-walled balconies and the modulation of its façades.

This is the finest project of the developer, Rose Associates.

The tower's plazas, which have pyramidal planters, often suffer from windy gusts as a result of the tower's exposed height.

This sentinel, which has a large driveway on Madison Avenue, was an important pioneer in new development north of 86th Street at the time and was important in upgrading its Carnegie Hill neighborhood.

While it can be argued that it broke the scale of the area, so did the Carlyle Hotel and the great multi-towered apartment buildings of Central Park West.

In fact, this tower helped mitigate the terrible aesthetic damage inflicted on the Upper East Side by the giant Mt. Sinai Hospital tower, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill about a dozen blocks to the north.

This building has a rooftop health club and the 248 condop apartments, all two- and three-bedroom units, have 9-foot-high ceilings, which was higher than the standard then current.

A standout, yes, but a handsome one.

One critic has likened, in a derogatory fashion, its street-level appearance to a fortress, yet the analogy is not entirely inappropriate as a few blocks to the north on the avenue stands the ruins of the Squadron A Armory, a similarly colored battlement. 

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