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Park Millennium, 111 West 67th Street

Between Columbus Avenue & Broadway

81
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.
 

Park Millennium is the name of the residential condominium section of the impressive, 545-foot-high, mixed-use tower that occupies the full block bounded by Broadway, Columbus Avenue and 67th and 68th Streets. 

The building was originally called Millennium Tower. It was developed by Millennium Partners and completed in 1994. 

It was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox, Gary Edward Handel & Associates and Schuman Lichtenstein Claman & Efron and replaced the four-story Ansonia Post Office building that H. J. Feldman designed in 1955. 

It is the tallest of three major towers developed by Millennium Partners at the north end of the intersection of Broadway and Columbus Avenue just to the north of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The three buildings are known collectively as Lincoln Square. 

This 47-story building was the most important post-war, mixed-use tower on the Upper West Side until the erection of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle a decade later. 

It contains a 12-screen movie theater complex including an Imax theater, a 117,000-square-foot health club, a post office, retail space and 368 residential condominium apartments. 

The founders of Millennium Partners are Christopher M. Jeffries, Philip E. Aarons and Philip H. Lovett.

Bottom Line

This full-block, orange-masonry tower dominates the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts district and, in addition to its amusing and large cineplex, has fabulous views at the heart of the Upper West Side.

Description

The building is clad with orange, dark red and charcoal brick and aluminum and glass. While the textured masonry is not exquisite, the massing of the tower is quite striking with protruding, vertical sections of the façade providing a modern gloss and flair. 

In their great book, "New York 2000, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Bicentennial and the Millennium," Robert A. M. Stern, David Fishman and Jacob Tilove noted that "For its bulk, the design drew a considerable amount of protest." 

Brendan Gill, writing in The New Yorker, found it 'hard to imagine any structure less suitable for a comparatively small block in that severely congested area.' He described the 'immense structure' as 'grossly overscaled' and objected to the 'exceptionally busy' mix of uses. Despite objections from community groups and residents, the as-of-right building went ahead as planned. The most unusual aspect of the design, according to Herbert Muschamp [then the architecture critic for The New York Times], who liked the building, was at the top, where 'a cantilevered steel and glass cube juts from the southeast corner; it's a bit as if the old Pepsi-Cola Building [500 Park Avenue] [Skidmore, Owings & Merrill] had blown across town and got stuck on the West Side skyline,'" a rather far-fetched observation. 

Mr. Stern and his co-authors said that the movie complex "was a lame attempt by Gensler & Associates to re-create the glamour of the movie houses of the 1920s, with each theater getting its own design treatment," adding that "Muschamp applauded the effort, describing the complex as 'a movie palace for the multiplex age,' with each theater 'named for some vanished dream palace of Hollywood's golden age....There are sphinxes. Palm trees with golden trunks and feathery black fronds. Mayan temple arches. Neoclassical festoons. Pagodas. Spanish baroque wrought iron grilles. Miles of Art Deco carpeting.' " 

“In actuality,” Mr. Stern and his co-authors continued, “a few decorative details aside, the theaters were bland boxes with none of the transporting drama of their picture palace namesakes, which led Susanna Sirefman to write that ‘the context of post-urban Manhattan as the site for this suburban freak is inexplicable.  The kitsch, overscaled architecture and tacky theme-park interior of this vulgar vertical film mall is disturbing.’ Despite ‘the embarrassingly gauche architecture,’ Sirefman was forced to admit, ‘New Yorkers seem to love the space for its comfort.’” Sirefman is the author of an architectural guide to New York published by Ellipsis in 1998. 

The cineplex has, in fact, stood the test of time remarkably well given the very tragic loss of most of the nation’s original and very wonderful and delightfully ornate movie palaces. It is a poignant reminder of their lost magic, especially given the vertical scale of the 8-level “place.” 

On the Columbus Avenue side of the development's base is a very large wall sculpture entitled "Dichroic Light Field" by James Carpenter that is composed of thin blades of laminated glass and anodized aluminum that protrude about two feet from the façade.

Amenities

The building has a 24-hour doorman and concierge service and a special membership rate to the 117,000-square-foot Reebok Club that has a 75-foot-swimming pool, two basketball courts, a rock-climbing wall, an outdoor-running track, a rooftop lounge, volleyball, soccer and boxing facilities.

Apartments

Many of the apartments at Millennium Tower have spectacular vistas to the east over Central Park. Apartments have 9-foot ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathrooms and Eurostyle kitchens with granite counters and floors and GE appliances, washers and dryers, granite window sills, a centrally monitored alarm system. The building has a doorman. Apartments range in size from 396-square-foot studios to 829-square-foot one-bedroom units, to 1,027-square-foot, two-bedroom apartments to 2,405-square-foot three-bedroom apartments. 

Apartment 20C has a open kitchen and a 16-foot-long bedroom. 

Apartment 29E is a three-bedroo9m unit that has a 26-foot-long living room with a 11-foot-long, open dining area next to an enclosed kitchen. 

Apartment 23A has an entry foyer that leads to a rounded, 9-foot-wide gallery that leads to a 28-foot-long, corner living/dining room next to a 23-foot-wide kitchen with a breakfast area with a banquette that opens onto a 17-foot-long family room that leads to a 12-foot-long playroom.  The apartment also has a 14-foot-long study, two bedrooms and a 12-foot-long maid’s/home office. 

Apartment 22H is a five-bedroom unit that has a 10-foot-wide entry foyer that opens onto a 20-foot-wide living room and a 21-foot-wide open dining room next to a 15-foot-long kitchen. 

Apartment 37A has an entry hall that leads to a 42-foot-long living/dining room next to a 19-foot-long kitchen.  The apartment has four bedrooms and a 24-foot-long family room.

 

History

The second major building in Millennium Partner's Lincoln Square complex was One Lincoln Square, which was completed in 1995 and deigned by Gary Edward Handel & Associates and Schuman, Lichtenstein, Claman & Efron. That building is a 30-story tower with 143 apartments that is the most visible of the three developments as it is at the northern end of the open spaces in front of Lincoln Center. While its design also incorporated a large red-brick masonry base at 67th Street, the tower, placed at 66th Street, had a much more modern glass and metal façade. The third building, the Grand Millennium, was also a rather modern looking 32-story apartment and retail building on the west side of Broadway between 66th and 67th Streets. 

While the Millennium Tower is marred by its unattractive masonry base, all three Millennium Partners' buildings here very significantly reinforced the Lincoln Center district with their expansive retail spaces, which originally included a large Barnes & Noble bookstore at One Lincoln Square and, until 2007, a huge Tower Records in the Grand Millennium. The crowds attending the movie theaters at the Millennium Tower give a constant pedestrian traffic to an area otherwise congested mostly at curtain time at Lincoln Center. Together, this area is surpassed in liveliness only by Times Square and its Theater District.

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