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456 West 19th Street: Review and Ratings

at The Southeast corner of Tenth Avenue View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 456 West 19th Street by Carter Horsley

With its curvilinear top sitting atop its rectilinear base, 456 West 19th Street is one of the more striking new buildings in Chelsea.

Occupying the southeast corner at Tenth Avenue, it has 22 duplex apartments.

The top leads one to think, perhaps, of whirligigs and propeller hats but this dark brown masonry structure does not explode with wild colors and is a bit sedate. If it is not as flamboyant as some of its celebrated neighbors such as Jean Nouvel’s 100 Eleventh Avenue and Frank O. Gehry’s IAC Center further east on 19th Street, it is, nonetheless, very well proportioned, quite elegant and fascinating for its blend of fine industrial-strength aesthetics and spring-like morphed form.

Cary Tamarkin and Westport Capital Partners LLC were the developers.

H. Thomas O'Hara is listed in the Department of Buildings as the architect of record for the project.

Bottom Line

With its enormous factory-like multi-paned windows in the base and its sinuous, setback form at the top, this building exudes great energy and power. The fine proportions and rigor of the base solidify its street wall while its dynamic and rhythmic top with simple but subtle patterning rev up its presence on the Chelsea skyline. This building offers very dramatic apartments close to the High Line Elevated Park.


The building invokes the architectural spirits of the Starrett-Lehigh Building, not too far away on the full block between 11th and 12th Avenues and 26th and 27th streets. The Starrett-Lehigh Building is one of the city's major landmarks of modern architecture. It was designed by Russell G. and Walter M. Cory and Yasuo Matsui. Mr. Matsui previously was a collaborator with H. Craig Severance on the design of the Manhattan Company tower at 40 Wall Street that competed, unsuccessfully, with the Chrysler Building for bragging rights as the city's tallest skyscraper.

In their great book, "New York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Two World Wars," (Rizzoli International Publications, 1987), Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins noted that the 19-story Starrett-Lehigh Building of 1931 replaced the Lehigh Valley Railroad freight terminal and "came as close as any American building of its time to the stylistic tenets of the International Style...and was included in...'Modern Architecture: International Exhibition,' held at the Museum of Modern Art in 1932....The sweeping lines created by the ribbons of windows contrasted with horizontal spandrel bands of concrete and brown brick, and were accentuated by the building's curved corners."

In their fine book, "The A.I.A. Guide to New York City Architecture, Fourth Edition," (Three Rivers Press, 2000), Norval White and Elliot Willensky noted that the 9 miles of strip windows at the Starrett-Lehigh Building were "streaking and swerving around" the building.

Mr. Tamarkin's 19th Street building, which also has an address of 140 Tenth Avenue, almost seems to swivel its billowing curvilinear upper portion atop its rectilinear base. The building plays with scale and two floors are actually behind each of its huge, industrial-size, multi-paned windows.

456 West 19th Street sits among other architecturally renowned developments on a sought-after block in West Chelsea.

Curved façades are rare but not new in the city and are employed in such recent projects as One Kenmare Square, where Richard Gluckman gave a gentle wave to the building's eastern façade, 100 Eleventh Avenue, where Jean Nouvel designed a tower with a curved corner facing Frank O. Gehry's I.A.C. building with a billowing-sails-like façade fronting on West Street, and Astor Place at 445 Lafayette Street, where Charles Gwathmey conjured in reflective glass the sinuous curves of the great Lake Point Tower in Chicago but anchored them in a rectilinear base unlike the Chicago building.

The Tamarkin building has a canopied entrance on the sidestreet.


The building has a 24-hour doorman, a bicycle room, personal storage rooms, and a garden. 

The building has low-VOC construction materials, filtered air and water, individual climate controls and UV-blocking windows.


Each apartment has a living room with a 20-foot-high ceiling and an Akari light sculpture designed by Isamu Noguchi in the living room.

Apartments also have 10-inch-wide plank solid oak flooring.

The four duplex penthouses have six-foot-wide fireplaces and terraces that “mirror the waves of its neighboring Hudson River.”

Kitchens have hand-crafted birch cabinetry and Miele appliances and bathrooms have teak cabinetry and Calcutta gold flooring.

The duplex Apartment A has 1,718 square feet with a long foyer that leads to a very large, double-height living/dining room with an open kitchen and an island and a bedroom on the lower level and another bedroom and a study on the upper level.

Apartment C is a duplex unit with a large, double-height, 21-foot-long living/dining room with an open, 11-foot-long kitchen on the lower level and a 21-foot-long bedroom on the upper level.

The penthouse balconies are curved.



Mr. Tamarkin had "first rights" to acquire this site and another at 397 West 12th Street from Victor Zupa, according to an article in the August 16, 2007 edition of The New York Sun by Jill Priluck. The article added that Mr. Tamarking purchased the two properties from Mr. Zupa for $24 million.

Mr. Tamarkin was also the developer of the handsome 9-story apartment building at 47 East 91st Street.

A November 24, 2010 article in The New York Times by Jonathan Vatner noted that “in large part, New York has Cary Tamarkin to thank for the return of casements,” adding that “an architect and developer, Mr. Tamarkin is sometimes referred to as ‘the window guy,’ because of the distinctive casement windows in his New York City buildings, including 140 Perry Street, 495 West Street, 397 West 12th Street and, most recently, 456 West 19th Street.”

“As to the reason for using old-fashioned casements, which are typically more expensive than conventional windows, Mr. Tamarkin said, ‘It’s a kind of commitment to a classic Modernism which is rooted in traditions of authenticity.’ Most of his projects are in neighborhoods rich with warehouse buildings, he said, so he designed them to ‘live comfortably amid their settings,’” the article continued.

The article said that Mr. Tamarkin said “he uses pricey steel casement windows — as opposed to aluminum — because the mullions are slim (‘I don’t like fat-mullioned windows,’ he says) and because the metal shows pockmarks and other signs of use, lending them an old-fashioned character. His windows are also made the old-fashioned way. ‘You’ve got actual little panes of glass that are painstakingly put in one by one,’ he said. ‘They’re very subtle details, but the people buying in our buildings are sensitive to the design. Either you don’t get it and it’s meaningless to you, or you can’t live without it.’”


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 27 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 24 / 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
  • #15 Rated condo - Chelsea
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