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Lincoln Plaza Towers, 44 West 62nd Street

At The Southeast corner of Columbus Avenue

84
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 is one of the best of first major new apartment towers that sprouted up around Lincoln Center for The Performing Arts.

While the 1990's brought a new generation of larger and more visible towers to the area, this 30-story tower, designed by Horace Ginsbern & Associates, is one of the neighborhood's surprises.

Rising without setbacks, this tower's form is highlighted by its curved balconies that are not frilly grills but extensions of the building's rough-hewn, striated façade. The rounded balconies catch the tower, which was completed in 1973, "in an embrace of cylindrical columns," as Norval White and Elliot Willensky observed in their marvelous book, "The A.I.A. Guide to New York City, Third Edition," published in 1988 by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

The cylindrical shapes predate by 14 years those used in the design of the Corinthian apartment building at 645 First Avenue, designed by Der Scutt and Michael Schimenti. The Marina City twin-towered project in Chicago also uses rounded balconies, but they are more frilly and ring the building entirely while these are broadly spaced. It is surprising that more projects have not experimented with rounded balconies, which are quite attractive and softening, but they cost more and are less efficient in provided square footage and in usage.

The solid balcony walls not only offer residents a greater sense of security and structure, but also give the tower considerably more solidity in its appearance than conventional towers. Combined with the building's rough-hewn beige façade, the balconies add to the building's sense of monumentality, quite an achievement in such a dense environment.

The building offers residents of its 158 cooperative apartments all the drama of watching the crowds attending the center across the avenue, but also the benefits of a sidestreet building. Because of the unusual traffic patterns in this neighborhood, this location is less noisy than one might expect.

The building has storage lockers, a gym and a driveway.

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