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111 West 57th Street

Between Sixth Avenue & Seventh Avenue

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.
 

There may be other skyscrapers, but “there will never ever be another”…111 West 57th Street.

Surely, Harry Warren was not thinking about the building when he wrote the lyrics for the song for the movie, “Iceland” with Sonja Henie, but Irving Berlin would have probably have had something witty to say about this really slim and dapper skyscraper in search of a place to hang its “top hat” up in the clouds.

It doesn’t dance, of course, but you know its strut, ole 111 West 57th Street, the belle of the SuperTalls.

At 1,421 feet high, this 77-story tower will have 55 apartments and be one of the tallest in the city and the Western Hemisphere, but it is small by the standards of the Mideast and Asia. Its height increased from 1,397 feet earlier in 2014 when it planned to surpass the 1,392-foot-high 432 Park Avenue two blocks to the east.

This tower is much taller, of course, than Extell Development’s One57, just down the block to the west, which is only 1,004 feet tall.  Extell, however, may have the last guffaw when it completes its 1,761-foot-high, 225 West 57th Street one block to the west.

From the small site at this location of a thrift fur store comes forth a jewel of a very tall organ with swirling pipes that uses the air rights of Steinway Hall. 

Designed by SHoP Architects, who designed the wonderful, small building known as The Porter House on West 15th Street at Ninth Avenue, it was developed by JDS, which is headed by Michael Stern, and Property Markets Group, which is headed by Kevin P. Maloney.

Foundation work began in 2014 and completion is planned for 2018.

Bottom Line

“S’awfully nice, s’paradise,” you swoon, but don’t get too tipsy….With a slenderness ratio of more than 23, this tower is real skinny, presumably to be in context with the female residents who will get their gowns nearby at Bergdorf Goodman.

Description

A very original design by SHoP, this tower has a conventional, flush, non-setback façade north towards nearby Central Park but a conventional, stepped façade with many narrow terraces facing south.  The tower has a low-rise base on 57th Street but quickly steps back so as not to totally obscure street views from the east of the grand stop of the adjoining Steinway Building from which it acquired air rights.

The east and west façades of the building are not conventional.

They are rippled with white terracotta piers in a vertically progressive pattern that is somewhat akin to Frank O. Gehry’s stainless-steel, sculpted façade at 8 Spruce Street near City Hall.

That isn’t half the story as the spaces in between the piers have thin, curved yellow elements, presumably bronze, that slither up the tower like thin gold strands of a necklace highlighted décolletage.

The building definitely has a feminine character as it sports a tiara-arrangement of very thin spires at its top.

Given the extremely thinness of the very top of the building, it is not clear where the top apartment “sits” and mechanical spaces begin, but then this is a fancy, teetering bravura whimsy of a tower.

Amenities

The building presumably will have a concierge and doorman.

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