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Carter's View

The 16-story, brown-brick, free-standing, rental apartment building at 680 Madison Avenue has reportedly been sold by the estate of Leona Helmsley for about $170 million to a partnership of the Extell Development Company and Angelo, Gordon & Co., according to an article by Lingling Wei in today's edition of The Wall Street Journal.

The building, which was designed by Kenneth B. Norton in 1950 and contains about 160 units, mostly suites, occupies the entire western blockfront on Madison Avenue between 61st and 62nd Street.

It is known as the Helmsley Carlton House.

Extell recently had converted the former Stanhope Hotel on Fifth Avenue at 81st Street to condominiums.

This building has a three-story limestone base with handsome pilasters and a canopied entrance. Its avenue frontage is filled with well-known boutiques such as Judith Lieber.

The building has several terraces and some bay windows.

For several years, Maxim's, the famous Parisian restaurant, occupied a huge restaurant, decorated by Janko Rasic, in Art Nouveau style, on three levels as well as a bistro in the building on 61st Street that was notable for the large "eye" painted in the urinal bowls of its men's rooms.

The building's site was once the residence of Velvalee Dickinson who, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, "used correspondence about dolls to conceal information about U. S. Naval forces she was attempting to convey to the Japanese via South America."
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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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