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The Savoy in Lenox Hill: Review and Ratings | CityRealty

88
Carter Horsley
Review 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.
 

This 42-story condominium apartment tower at 200 East 61st Street on the southeast corner at Third Avenue is known as The Savoy and was erected in 1986 by Morton L. Olshan and his partners. 

It has 218 apartments. 

It is very similar in its trefoil design to Trump Plaza, the slightly smaller cooperative apartment building at 167 East 61st Street, diagonally across Third Avenue, which was erected two years earlier. 

Both buildings were designed by Philip Birnbaum & Associates. 

This building is slightly more angular than Mr. Trump’s and has stainless-steel accents rather than Mr. Trump’s bronze.

Bottom Line

A catty-corner clone to Donald Trump’s Trump Plaza diagonally across Third Avenue, this tower is close to Bloomingdale’s, movie theaters and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge.

Description

More angular and muscular and with more public plaza space than its unofficial “twin,” Trump Plaza, across the Third Avenue, the Savoy still offers all its neighbor’s advantage of a full-service trefoil tower. 

Its rooftop watertank enclosure has large octagonal windows.

Amenities

This building has a doorman, a concierge, a live-in superintendent, a garage, a health club and a roof deck.

Apartments

Apartment 14G is a duplex with a 23-foot-long living room with an angled, corner terrace that leads to a 10-foot-long dining room next to a 7-foot-long kitchen on the lower level and two bedrooms and a library on the upper level. 

Apartment 9A is a one-bedroom unit that has an entry foyer that leads to an angled, 26-foot-long living room with an angled, corner terrace and a dining area next to the enclosed kitchen. 

The penthouse has a 30-foot-long, angled living/dining room with a fireplace, an angled terrace each of whose sides is 40-foot long and a 15-foot-long kitchen with a greenhouse dining area on the lower level and two bedrooms on the upper level. 

Apartment 28D is a one-bedroom unit that has an entry foyer next to the angled and enclosed 11-foot-long kitchen and opens to the 20-foot-long, angled living/dining room with an angled terrace.

History

In their great book, “New York 1960, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Bicentennial and the Millennium,” Robert A. M. Stern, David Fishman and Jacob Tilove noted that when Olshan started building one could look “at the rendering of the Savoy on the construction fence [and] get the impression of a mirror image of Trump Plaza.” 

Olshan, the authors continued, “did not counter the claim, instead commenting, ‘They both have the same architect…and they complement each other making a sort of gateway to the northern residential area.’  The differences, he noted, could be found in the squared, not rounded, balconies of the Savoy, and the provision of two public plazas at street level, as opposed to Trump’s one.  But the other details – the nearly identical plans of the towers, both of which rose over street-hugging retail bases, and the use of the same materials – were too much for Trump, who filed suit against Olshan and Birnbaum.  It was hard to argue that Trump’s claim to have a wanted a distinctive building was false – an unusual clause in his contract with Birnbaum stated that the drawings were ‘not to be used for nay other building.” 

The authors concluded that “the two buildings functioned as unidentical twin gateposts to the Third Avenue residential corridor..."

Which three-winged tower is better is difficult to decide. 

The Savoy has a flashier and more attractive base with a brightly colored, trellised sundeck on its setback, while Trump's tower form is a bit more soothing and a bit further removed from the area's hubbub. 

By contemporary standards, both were far above the norm for the time, although they both have disappointingly low ceilings despite the regular roundup of amenities such as a health club, a concierge, a garage and a sundeck. 

The trefoil layout of each tower placed on a low-rise retail podium, of course, is the real winner, opening up unusual vistas and angles for both residents and passersby.

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