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Carter's View

At the opening last night of the sales office for 170 East End Avenue, which is under construction next door, Orin Wolf, the developer, was asked by about why he decided not to retain the handsome, pre-war fa?ade of the building formerly on the site that belonged to Beth Israel Medical Center Singer Division.

"It was handsome," Mr. Wilf conceded, but the site, he continued, deserved something more spectacular.

Indeed, the location directly north of the lovely townhouse enclave on Henderson Place and directly across from Gracie Mansion and Carl Schurz Park is highly visible and the new sales office has very large panoramic vistas of the very impressive views the new building will have of the East River.

At the reception, Mr. Wilf donated a check for $100,000 to the Carl Schurz Park Association as guests studied floorplans, a model of the building and examples of the kitchens and bathrooms designed by Peter Marino, the well-known designer of many famous retail facilities and celebrity apartments. Mr. Marino is also the architect for the project, his first residential building project.

His designs of this project?s lobby, kitchens and bathrooms are extremely sleek and sumptuous and very, very beautiful. They are, in a word, spectacular.

It?s too early, of course, to judge the building, but a large model at the sales office indicated that it will be, at the very least, impressive.

The building?s design has a very high fenestration ratio and a Mondianesque-grid patterning that incorporates thin dark balconies with glass railings, deeply inset, multi-paned windows, and limestone-colored pre-cast concrete facades. The two-story base of the building will be rusticated limestone. Different sections of the building have their own pier arrangements and the center of the building is clear glass, which visually attempts to divide the mass of the building into two towers. Low-rise wings extend from the tower on the avenue along the side-streets framing a large communal garden.

At the reception, Mr. Marino sat on one of the large toy sheep that will be placed in the project?s large rear garden in front of a large waterfall that will be visible from the building?s entrance on East End Avenue.

The 110-unit, 19-story building will have units ranging in size from 1- to 5-bedroom apartments and is being developed by Skyline Developers, LLC, of which Orin Wilf is a principal.

Mr. Wilf is a member of the Wilf organization whose business activities are known as Garden Homes and Garden Commercial Properties. In 1955, Harry and Joseph Wilf established Garden Homes to erect single-family houses in New Jersey and subsequently expanded to also develop condominium apartments, office buildings, shopping malls and hotels in the New York metropolitan region as well as in California, Maryland, Florida, Pennsylvania and Delaware, Arizona and Israel.

Garden Homes Development is based in Short Hills, New Jersey and has operations in 37 states. Its other activities in New York City include condominium apartment conversions of properties at 280 Park South and 75 West Street. It is also converting 41 Broad Street for the Claremont Academy Preparatory School and converting 37 Wall Street to 350 rental apartments.

When completed in early 2007, the building will have a garage and a children's recreation zone that includes a toddler paint room, a computer area for preschoolers, and miniature golf, video games and billiards for older children. The building will also have a squash court and an interactive driving range.

The 14-story, red-brick Beth Israel Medical Center Singer Division building between 87th and 88th Streets had been erected in 1929 as Doctors? Hospital and was acquired by Beth Israel Medical Center in 1987.
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Architecture Critic Carter Horsley Since 1997, Carter B. Horsley has been the editorial director of CityRealty. He began his journalistic career at The New York Times in 1961 where he spent 26 years as a reporter specializing in real estate & architectural news. In 1987, he became the architecture critic and real estate editor of The New York Post.
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