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Inkwell, 520 West 45th Street: Review and Ratings

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Carter Horsley
Review of 520 West 45th Street by Carter Horsley

This fine and very handsome, mid-block, 5-story apartment building is a residential condominium conversion of P.S. 51, a 1905 Beaux-Arts grade school building in Hell’s Kitchen at 520 West 45th Street that was allegedly one of the first to serve its students lunch.

The development is known as the Inkwell.

The conversion was undertaken in 2016 by the Gotham Organization, which also developed Gotham West, a 1,238-unit residential complex nearby. 

It has 18 apartments.

AvroKO, which designed the very handsome restaurant Public in SoHo, and the food hall at Gotham West, was the architect.

Bottom Line

A very handsome, low-rise, red-brick building in Hell’s Kitchen that was typical of the city’s excellent and very attractive school construction around the turn of the 19th Century and which has been given some unusual and very good amenities such as rolling ladders and chalkboards.


The red-brick building has a limestone, one-story base and a broad bandcourse above the fourth floor and an attractive narrow stone cornice.

All the windows are multi-paned and those on the fourth floor are arched.

“Though more of the institutional details, like chalkboards, caged fans and cubbyholes aren’t original to the…building, the effect is convincing all the same….With 13-foot-ceilings, tall windows and either two or three bedrooms, the apartments are Inkwell have the roominess of a turn-of-the-last-century school, with extras thrown in to buttress the theme,” C. J. Hughes wrote in an article in the July 17, 2016 edition of The New York Times.

She quoted Matthew Goodrich, the chief executive officer of AvroKO that “it’s like that Picasso saying, about how art is the lie that reveals the truth,” adding that the project is “not a restoration, but it has the feeling and power of the original use.”


Chalkboards next to apartment entrances for grocery lists, and next to the chalkboards cubbies are stashing sneakers, rolling ladders for storage units near ceilings, and caged ceiling fans to protect basketballs from getting shredded in the building’s gym that is next to the outdoor lounge.

The building has a part-time doorman, a live-in superintendent, a gym and it permits pets.


Ceiling heights are 13 feet.

Apartments have washers and dryers.

Kitchen counters are made of soapstone.

Apartment A on floors 2 through 5 are two-bedroom units with 1,401 square feet with a 24-foot-wide living/dining room with an open, 11-foot-wide kitchen with an island and a gas fireplace in the 5th floor unit.

Apartment B on floors 2 through 5 is a two-bedroom unit with 1,211 square feet and an entry foyer that leads to a 14-foot-wide, living/dining room with an open 14-foot-wide kitchen and a gas fireplace in the 5th floor unit.

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between Gold Street & Flatbush Avenue Extension
Downtown Brooklyn
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