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The Antoinettes, 480 Park Avenue

Between East 58th Street & East 59th Street

Carter Horsley
Reviewed 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.
 

One of the few remaining great residential buildings on Park Avenue south of 59th Street and north of Grand Central Terminal, 480 Park Avenue has a grand lobby that would put most grand hotels to shame.

A very long and broad corridor, glistening with marble and fine detailing, the lobby is a fitting introduction to the quite large rooms in the cooperative building's apartments.

Designed by Emery Roth and completed in 1929 for developer Sam Minskoff, the buff-brick, limestone and terra-cotta building replaced the Hotel Clarendon and some old apartment houses.

All the apartments have wood-burning fireplaces and high ceilings and the building offered maid and butler service and its own restaurant. The restaurant and maid and butler service no longer exist, but the building remains very elegant.

Sam Minskoff was a Russian immigrant who started his career in New York as a plumber and built his first apartment house in New York in 1908. He worked with Roth first on the Myron Arms and the Jerome Palace on Broadway between 82nd and 83rd Streets in 1922, buildings that Steven Ruttenbaum noted, in his book, "Mansions In The Clouds, The Skyscraper Palazzi of Emery Roth," Balsam Press Inc., 1986, were in and of themselves not architecturally distinguished, " but when taken in their urban context, they be described as quintessential New York 'background' buildings because they define the cityscape we know so well....In 1924, Roth designed another apartment house for Sam Minskoff on Broadway at 210 West One Hundred First Street. This structure was similar to the Myron Arms and the Jerome Palace in its size, materials and details. What made it special, however, was the penthouse apartment he designed at the top for himself [Roth] and his family....Roth did not endow...[480 Park Avenue] with the same boxy appearance he gave the previous Minskoff buildings; instead, the upper floors were stepped back in a rather asymmetrical manner that resembles adobe pueblos of the southwest United States. This picturesque composition is crowned by a water tower clothed in a luxuriant skin of Renaissance details."

The doorman building was erected in 1929 and has 21 floors with 134 cooperative apartments.

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