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988 Fifth Avenue: Review and Ratings

at The Southeast corner of Second Avenue View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 988 Fifth Avenue by Carter Horsley

The 14-story structure at 988 Fifth Avenue on the southeast corner at 80th Street is one of the most elegant and exclusive buildings on the avenue because of its very fine detailing and the fact that it has only 12 condominium apartments. 

Exquisitely designed in Italian-Renaissance-palazzo-style by J. E. R. Carpenter, this building has a sidestreet entrance and sidewalk landscaping. It was built in 1926 and converted to a condominium in 1981, one of the very few on Fifth Avenue.

The building was developed by the Lion Brewery of New York, of which Hugh A. Murray was president.

Bottom Line

There is nothing more depressing than living in a grand pre-war building on Fifth Avenue with few apartments than having to exit it and look at some run-of-the-mill pre-war building. Fortunately, that is definitely not the case here as this building confronts a structure at 990 Fifth Avenue that could almost pass as its twin, even though it only has about half the apartments.


A year older than Rosario Candela’s 990 Fifth Avenue across 80th Street, this J. E. R. Carpenter building is more detailed even it is not quite as graceful. 

They both share 3-story rusticated limestone bases, but this building has rectangular quoins on the fourth floor beneath a very ornate and prominent decorative bandcourse beneath arched window frames on the fifth floor. It also has much more substantial balconies in the center of its 11th story on both the sidestreet and the avenue and a very prominent “sub-cornice” above its 12th story. 

One façade treatment that is very lovely is the thin “rope” quoins at the building’s corners. They do not distract from the building’s strong boxiness, but add a delicacy of detailing that is memorable. 

To top it all off, Carpenter designed a balustraded roofline to give his composition a pleasant formality. 

Because the building just to the south, 985 Fifth Avenue, is setback in its driveway plaza, many of the apartments in this building have some important vistas to the south down Fifth Avenue.


This building has a doorman and sidewalk landscaping and is pet-friendly.


The ninth floor apartment has a 13-foot-wide entrance gallery that leads to a 27-foot-wide living room overlooking Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a 16-foot-wide library and a 13-foot-wide dining room. The unit also has four bedrooms, a 23-foot-long kitchen and a 10-foot-long pantry. 

Another full-floor unit has an 11-foot-square circular entry foyer that leads to a 27-foot-long living room facing the park that connects with an 18-foot-long library next to a 15-foot-long dining room off a 20-foot-long kitchen. The apartment also has a 16-foot-long media room, a 22-foot-long gallery and four bedrooms.


An article by Elise Knutsen at October 5, 2011 noted that Barbara and Richard Shiffrin sold their floor-through apartment in the building for $20 million to Amy Abrams of Brookline, Mass. The Shiffrin’s had acquired their apartment in 2005 for $10.9 million. 

An article by Kim Velsey at the August 8, 2012 noted that Selig Zises, the founder of Integrated Resources, sold his 9th floor apartment to Timberocean LLC for $19.5 million. He had bought it 25 years before. 


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 26 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 31 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 22 / 39


CityRealty Rating Reference

  • 30+ remarkable
  • 20-29 distinguished
  • 11-19 average
  • < 11 below average
  • 27+ remarkable
  • 18-26 distinguished
  • 9-17 average
  • < 9 below average
  • 22+ remarkable
  • 16-21 distinguished
  • 9-15 average
  • < 9 below average
  • #12 Rated condo - Upper East Side
  • #2 Rated condo - Carnegie Hill
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between 23rd Street & Crescent Street
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