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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

Carter's View

The asking price for the 14-room duplex apartment on the 15th and 16th floors at 778 Park Avenue that had been owned by the late Brooke Astor has been reduced from about $34 million to $29 million.

It was originally offered last spring at $46 million soon after the widow of the late Vincent Astor passed away last year at the age of 105 by Leighton Candler, a broker with the Corcoran Group.

A October 31, 2008 article in The New York Times by Josh Barbanel reported that "when the great market meltdown of 2008 is long over, and our profligate ways return, the sale of the duplex apartment owned by the late Brooke Astor at 778 Park Avenue may be remembered as the great co-op deal of the age."

Well that meltdown is not long over yet but the apartment is now being handled by Kirk Henckels, Margaret Furniss and Philippa Ward of Stribling.

In Mr. Barbanel's article, Mr. Henckels had been quoted as stating that "to get it sold quickly, they had to make it a bargain," adding "it was a very smart move."

The building is a cooperative and was designed by Rosario Candela and is located on the northwest corner of 73rd Street and Park Avenue. According to Mr. Barbanel's article, the building permits construction "only during regular working hours from May 15 to Sept. 15," a period he described as the "sawdust season."

One of the few pre-World War II apartment towers to rise a bit above the 15-story height of most of the avenue's apartment buildings, this 18-story apartment building was built by developer Charles Newmark.

It has a four-story limestone base and replaced an apartment house known as the Sunnyside and according to James Trager's book, "Park Avenue, Street of Dreams," (Atheneum, 1990), "was sometimes itself called the Sunnyside."

Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins devote considerable attention to Candela in their book, "New York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Two World Wars," Rizzoli, 1987:

"Candela's smaller English Renaissance apartment house at 778 Park Avenue...entered into a remarkably coherent and lively dialogue with his earlier work at 770 Park Avenue; the pair of towered buildings formed a monumental gateway west toward Central Park. At 778 Candela compensated for the regularity of the facades with lavish concentrations of boldly modeled ornament at the corners in the form of quoining and at the limestone base where the second and third-floor windows were grouped together between pilasters supporting fulsome swan's neck pediments to describe a piano nobile."

Completed in 1931, it has one of the avenue's more distinctive watertank enclosures.

An August 2, 2007 article by Brandon Keil in The New York Post stated that William Lauder, president and CEO of Estee Lauder, was approved by the building's board to purchase a 14-room apartment with 5 bedrooms, 7 1/2 baths, wood-burning fireplaces and three terraces on the 14th floor for about $27.5 million. The seller was Sherman Cohen. The apartment was 11 floors above an apartment that was being put on the market at about the same time by Vera Wang, the designer, for $35 million.
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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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