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400 Park Avenue South: Review and Ratings

between West 28th Street & West 29th Street View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 400 Park Avenue South by Carter Horsley

400 Park Avenue South is a stunning and bold, 40-story, reflective glass shard of an apartment tower, the bottom 22 floors containing 269 rental apartments developed by Equity Residential and the top 18 floors with 81 condominium apartments developed by Toll Brothers.

It occupies the southwest corner of Park Avenue South and 28th Street and is known as The Prism.  The rental entrance is at 50 East 28th Street.  The condo entrance is on Park Avenue South.

Christian de Portzamparc, the French architect of One57 and the LVHM Tower, both on 57th Street, designed the project in 2003 for A & R Kalimian Realty, which eventually sold it to Equity Residential and Toll Brothers City Living.

Like the LVMH Tower, this project is rakishly angled but while the LVMH tower is mid-block and mid-rise, this project is more than twice as high and on a corner.

In contrast, the architect’s mid-block, One57 tower for Extell Development is “softer” with a few rounded setbacks, although, of course, it is much taller and therefore more prominent as it was the first of the new generation of “supertalls” and has a highly visible location when seen from the Central Park and the north.

Extell commissioned another project from the architect, Riverside Center, which consists of several angled towers centered about a plaza between 59th and 61st Streets on Riverside Boulevard.  Based on renderings, those buildings do not have the sharpness of this project and their angularity is a bit compromised by their complex form and mixed façades. Extell subsequently sold off this cluster of towers to other developers who decided to use different architects for the buildings.

Gary Edward Handel was the “executive” architect on the project and designed the rental units and Stephen Alton Architect designed the condo units.

Bottom Line

This faceted tower, whose highest peak is 472 feet high, is a pure and very bold work of art that is one of the most dramatic and spectacular works of architecture in the city.


Sculpted asymmetrically, the building has a slightly chamfered and cantilevered corner that extends upward about 15 stories where it becomes the sharp edge of the building’s tallest component that is set back somewhat from Park Avenue South and angled considerably inward next to the non-setback 28th Street façade.

The most complicated part of the building is its narrow southern wing that is angled inward and downward but also seems to have been split asunder from the main body of the building although it also has a slanting roofline like the main tower whose roof sports a hefty top “feather” in the form of a very large window-washing “rig.”

The façades are a pleasant deep blue glass.

There is an angled opening for the entrance to the downtown Lexington Avenue subway station.

On his website, de Portzamparc provides the following commentary:

He “de-massed the building by breaking it into shards, and simply inclined the leading edges of the prisms to open a path for sunlight,” adding that “averaging the push and pull of the façade’s fragments achieves the same degree of slope as terraced setbacks.”

“The result is not only light on the street, but a breath of fresh air.”

In his review of the building at, critic Joseph Giovannini noted that “The crystalline forms establish a zone of their own, opening up the street wall of right-angled, brick-faced buildings with an exceptional – and exceptionally beautiful – surprise: a tall, sheer rock crystal of glass.  The entire shaft of the elegant new landmark, not just the crown, is iconic.  It contributes to the skyline and to the bodyline of buildings.  Yosemite’s West Face transposed to Manhattan.”

“For all the eclat on its corner,” his article continued, “de Portzamparc says the $400 million building grew from the inside out….Portzamparc configured an L-shaped building to match the shape of the site, but kept the ends clear of the adjoining buildings, where he extruded pavilions with windows oblique to the street….The architect configured the two legs of the L as intersecting volumes, and he joined them and the adjacent pavilions with deep reveals whose shadows separate, and profile, the adjacent prisms….The eye looks to the knife-like corners and finds that the blades are crisp and sharp.”

“De Portzamparc designed the tower in 2003, building on the critical and popular success of his previous work, the LVMH tower, completed in 1999 in Manhattan, where he first fragmented a street façade as a way of satisfying code setback requirements,” Mr. Giovannini wrote.

“During planning commission hearings about zoning changes for the project,” he continued, “a former city council member, Margarita Lopez, said she happened to be reading Dante, and in unexpected paean to the building, she said she liked the way the sunlight would follow the architectural lines into the Stygian depths of the subway station at the foot of the tower.  Conversely, in the upward direction, the oblique lines, some converging, force perspective, creating the perceptual illusion of accelerated form; the building is visually dynamic because it plays perspectival tricks as old as the Renaissance, but in a vertical rather than horizontal direction.”

The building has 5,200 square feet of retail space.

The building has entrance marquees including one for its subway entrance.


The building has a concierge and a doorman, a gym and swimming pool, a children’s playroom, a garden courtyard, a residents’ lounge, a media room, a golf simulator room, a conference room and a “sky lounge” on the 27th floor.  The building is smoke-free.



The condo units will have Miele kitchen appliances and glass kitchen counters and marble bathroom vanities

The rental units with have synthetic-stone kitchen counters and Whirlpool appliances.

Penthouse 1 is a four-bedroom unit with 4,020 square feet with an angled, 31-foot-long living/dining room with an open kitchen that leads to a 25-foot-wide den.  The unit also has a large terrace.

Penthouse 3 is a three-bedroom unit with 2,538 square feet and a 27-foot-long, angled living/dining room with an open kitchen.

Apartment 23F is a three-bedroom unit with 2,376 square feet with a 23-foot-wide, angled living/dining room with an open kitchen with an island.  The master bedroom is 25-feet-long.

Apartment 25B is a two-bedroom unit with 1,830 square feet with a 29-foot-long, angled living/dining room with an open kitchen and a large entry foyer.  Each bedroom is angled.

Apartment 37A is a two-bedroom unit with 1,719 square feet and a 30-foot-long angled living/dining room with an open kitchen with an island.

Apartment 23C is a three-bedroom unit with a 26-foot-long rectilinear living room by its entrance and an angled, 21-foot-long dining room with an open kitchen with an island.  The 18-foot-long master bedroom has a sitting room.

Apartment 20I is a three-bedroom unit with a long entry foyer that leads to a 11-foot-long open kitchen with an island and a 23-foot-long and a 6-side living room with windows along four sides.

Apartment 20d is a two-bedroom unit with a long entry foyer that leads to a 15-foot-wide, angled, open kitchen and a 25-foot-long, angled living room.  The master bedroom opens onto an L-shaped large terrace.

Apartment 18G is a one-bedroom unit with an entry foyer next to an open, pass-through kitchen next to a 19-foot-long angled living room with an 18-foot-long terrace.

Apartment 9H is a one-bedroom unit with and an open, pass-through, 9-foot-wide kitchen next to a 15-foot-long angled living room.

Apartment 9G is a one-bedroom unit with an open, pass-through, 9-foot-wide kitchen next to an angled 19-foot-wide living room.


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 31 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 27 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 20 / 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
  • #45 Rated condo - Downtown
  • #5 Rated condo - Flatiron/Union Square
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Key Details
1289 Lexington Avenue
at The Northeast corner of East 86th Street
Carnegie Hill
Refined Residences that Redefine life on Lexington Avenue.
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