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Riverbank at 560 West 43rd Street: Review and Ratings

Carter Horsley
Review of 560 West 43rd Street 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

One of the handsomest apartment buildings in New York, this 44-story tower was erected in 1988 by the Macklowe Organization, which also developed the stunning, black-glass, mixed-use Metropolitan Tower at 135 East 57th Street, River Tower at 520 East 54th Street and the River Terrace at 515 East 72nd Street, some of the most distinctive new towers in the last two decades of the century. The River Terrace subsequently became the Miraval.

This huge, slab tower, which is known as Riverbank West and is now run by Roseland, has many spectacular views because of its location close to the Hudson River.

It is close to another very attractive apartment tower on the same block, the Strand at 500 West 43rd Street and not too far from the handsome twin towers of Manhattan Plaza between Ninth and Tenth Avenues just to the west. It was the first of several major new residential towers on West 42nd Street that would include the Atelier and the Orion and River Place.

There is excellent crosstown bus service on 42nd Street although the nearest subways are at Eighth Avenue and 42nd Street at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Bus Terminal.

This location is close to the Intrepid Museum on the Hudson River to the west and Times Square to the east. There are many off-Broadway theaters nearby as well as numerous restaurants and Ninth Avenue in this area is famous for its food stores. The large and impressive Javits Convention Center is a few blocks south and an entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel is nearby.

This 44-story building was completed in 1987 and its utilitarian tower has two low setbacks and a two-story limestone base on 43rd Street. The building has 418 apartments, a health club, a sundeck, a garage, a concierge, a recreation room, a children's room, storage space, valet service, a bicycle room and T-1 Internet connections.

It allows pets. Its addresses are 560 West 43rd Street and 551 West 42nd Street and 550 11th Avenue. About 85 percent of the apartments have balconies with glass railings and the building has a curved entranced marquee.

In discussing the remarkable renaissance of this area, Robert A. M. Stern, David Fishman and Jacob Tilove in their great book, "New York 2000, Architecture and Urbanism Between the Bicentennial and the Millennium," noted that "the residential boom bean in earnest with Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer's forty-four-story, 418-apartment Riverbank West..., a rental building developed by Harry Macklowe, who purchased the 375,000-square-foot parcel in 1981 from the 42nd Street Redevelopment Corporation, which retained a 25 percent interest in the property. Hugh Hardy conceded that Riverbank West's beige and terra-cotta brick cladding and off-the-shelf aluminum windows made for a 'very conventional building.' But the architect nonetheless succeeded in enlivening the building with a handsome patterned façade, staggered cantilevered concrete balconies with glass handrails and a distinctive syncopated top that Carter B. Horsley believed 'finely mimicked the Art Deco roof' of the McGraw-Hill Building a few blocks east along Forty-second Street. Originally, Hardy proposed a more dramatic statement, calling for a black-and-white façade, a palette rejected by the developer but one the firm as later able to bring to the area in a second apartment building....Although it sported a Forty-second Street address because Macklowe thought it 'sounded good,' the building was entered on Forty-third Street via a gated, 10,000-square-foot landscaped courtyard with a circular driveway that provided a sense of security for the isolated site. Riverbank West also provided more than 19,000 square feet of retail space and substantial health club facilities, a strategy widely imitated by subsequent developers, who recognized the relative lack of amenities in the immediate vicinity."

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