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Sheffield 57, 322 West 57th Street: Review and Ratings

between Eighth Avenue & Ninth Avenue View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 322 West 57th Street by Carter Horsley

The dark-brown brick Sheffield 57 is a 49-story apartment tower at 322 West 57th Street that was built by Hyman Shapiro in 1978 and designed by Emery Roth & Sons.

Bottom Line

The conversion of this humongous, through-block building to condominium apartments got rid of its great, open-air, rooftop paddle tennis court and reduced the number of apartments by about 250, but it’s no longer the proverbial big obnoxious kid on the block in an generally drab neighborhood and now offers a plethora of amenities in a very desirable and lively location.


This large cruciform tower is located mid-block and extends through the block just to the east of the very handsome, pre-war Parc Vendome apartment complex.

It is just to the west of the Hearst Tower and across 57th Street from the green apartment tower known as Central Park Place.

It is very close to Columbus Circle and Central Park and is very convenient to public transportation.


The building has a double-height lobby with concierge and a large plaza and through-block driveway to 56th Street that overlooks the landscaped center gardens of the very handsome Park Vendome apartment complex just to the west.

It also has a laundry on every floor, valet service, a health club with swimming pool, a 345-car garage, about 109,000 square feet office space and some retail space.

The top two floors of the tower include a fitness center, a spa, a Pilates studio, a landscaped sun deck and glass-walled swimming pool that is open in the summer and enclosed in the winter, a private restaurant, a screening room, a children’s playroom, and a lounge offering breakfast and evening cocktails.


Apartment 16V has a foyer that opens one to a bathroom and closets and leads diagonally to a 17-foot-long living/dining room with a pass-through kitchen.

Apartment 18H is an one-bedroom unit that has a foyer that opens on a pass-through kitchen and leads to a 20-foot living/dining room.

Apartment 23B is a two-bedroom unit that has a 12-foot-wide foyer that leads to a 22-foot-long living room next to an open kitchen.

Apartment 24H2 is a two-bedroom unit that has a foyer that leads to a open kitchen and a 20-foot-long living/dining room.

Apartment 29D is a studio with a 19-foot-living/dining room and a pass-through kitchen.

Apartment 40H is a four-bedroom unit with a very long entry foyer that leads to a 22-foot-long living room that is next to a 20-foot-long dining room off an 11-foot-long kitchen.  The apartment also has a 31-foot-long entertainment room.


It originally had 845 rental apartments and was one of the largest residential projects in midtown.  When it was erected, the area around it was something of a no-man’s land for while its immediate surroundings were not unattractive, this neighborhood left much to be desired in terms of liveliness, amenities and urban grace.

According to Robert A. M. Stern, David Fishman and Jacob Tilove, the authors of the great book “New York 2000, Architecture and Urbanism between the Bicentennial and the Millennium,” this project “began life in 1972 as an addition to one of the city’s immense courtyard apartment buildings, the Parc Vendome (Farrar & Watmaugh, 1931), which lay immediately to its west.”  “The project was initiated by the developer Hyman Shapiro, who had purchased the Parc Vendome – a pair of slab-like buildings along Fifty-sixth and Fifty-seventh Streets separated by a landscaped courtyard – a few years before, planning to transfer its air rights to the through-block site next door and build a nearly 1,000-unit apartment building to be known as the Parc Vendome Addition,” the authors continued.

“The development,” the authors wrote, “would include a 450-car garage built beneath the tower and beneath a portion of the Parc Vendome’s courtyard, a through-block driveway, a small plaza adjacent to the tower, and a larger, 13,000-square-foot-bonus plaza on Ninth Avenue between Fifty-sixth and Fifty-seventh Streets, provided in exchange for the extra square footage.  The disconnection of the bonus plaza from the proposed new building was unorthodox but justified by Shapiro’s intention to connect the two by way of the Parc Vendome’s courtyard.  The new cruciform apartment tower was to rise sheer, set back only slightly from the sidewalk.  It required waivers of height and setback requirements from the City Planning Commission, which approved the project.”

“Construction quickly got under way," the authors observed, "but in December 1974 Shapiro, faced with financial difficulties, abruptly halted six of his building projects, including the Parc Vendome Addition.  The brutally scaled and detailed tower, nearly topped out but with only about half its brick cladding in place, sat in an unfinished state, a crane standing atop its roof, for three years until the project was taken over by Rose Associates, which renamed it the Sheffield and saw to its completion. The Sheffield was built as originally designed by Emery Roth & Sons with only a few changes: six apartments on the upper floors were eliminated to provide space for a swimming pool with a retractable roof, a tennis court, health club, and several communal rooms, one of which had a barbecue pit and was capable of seating 200.  The project also included 90,000 square feet of office space in the first five floors and an attached five-story through-block building entered at 320 West Fifty-seventh Street.”

“The fate of the Sheffield’s bonus plaza on Ninth Avenue was not nearly as happy," the authors noted, "because different owners had taken over the Parc Vendome as a result of Shapiro’s financial reverses, plans to use its courtyard as a connector between the Sheffield and the Sheffield’s bonus plaza went unrealized.  Consequently, the plaza, separated by more than 200 feet from the Sheffield, remained out of sight and out of mind for Rose Associates.  But the city had not forgotten about it, and Rose Associates was denied a Certificate of Occupancy for the Sheffield pending the plaza’s completion, which eventually came to pass in 1980.  As designed by the landscape architects Abel & Bainnson, the plaza was severe and hard-edged, though a waterfall, planters and a small sunken stage with amphitheater-style seating provided some relief.  From the first, it was a failure.  Students at nearby John Jay College of Criminal Justice had offered to provide security patrols, and staff of WNET/Channel 13 across the street had agreed to organize programs in the plaza, but the promises were soon forgotten, a planned café never materialized, the waterfall was turned off, and before long the homeless move in, at one point co-opting electrical outlets to plug in television sets.”

“No physical improvements were made to the scandalously public eyesore until 1998, when Rose Associates hired the prolific landscape architect Thomas Balsey to replace the lackluster plot with a dynamic landscape of sloping surfaces, elliptical curves, and bright colors.  When it reopened in July 2000, Balsey Park (renamed by Rose Associates in honor of the designer, whom they deemed an ‘unsung hero’ of public spaces) was a success.  Where the plaza had previously run bluntly into the blank western wall of the Parc Vendome, Balsey created a softer border of trees behind an undulating green corrugated metal fence.  A curving grass-covered mound covered the area of the former sunken amphitheater, a children’s play area was installed at the south end, and an oval-shaped coffee kiosk was placed at the northwest corner next to café tables and chairs situated in a raised terrace accessible from the sidewalk.  A conspicuous path through the park cut the corner of Ninth Avenue and Fifty-seventh Street, encouraging pedestrian traffic," the authors said.”

When the Sheffield was completed, the headquarters of Channel 13 were nearby but so were automobile showrooms, the oppressive and unattractive New York Coliseum, the city’s former convention center, and Eighth Avenue was the city’s pre-eminent boulevard of porn.

A generation or so later, however, this location is one of the most vibrant in the city.

William Zeckendorf Jr. erected the very impressive green Central Park Place apartment tower on the northwest corner of Eighth Avenue and 57th Street and also began the major transformation of the avenue with the important World Wide Plaza development of the former site of Madison Square Garden several blocks to the south.

The Coliseum site was redeveloped into the twin-towered Time Warner Center, Donald Trump rebuilt the former Gulf & Western Building into another of the glitz and successful mixed-use skyscrapers and also began construction of his huge residential complex along the Hudson River to the west, and the Zeckendorfs built 15 Central Park West, one of the most successful apartment buildings in the city’s history. 

To the east, several very tall towers – Metropolitan Tower and Carnegie Hall Tower on 57th Street and CitySpire on 56th Street – and a host of “theme” restaurants such as Planet Hollywood, the Hard Rock Cafe, the Harley Davidson Cafe and Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde began to shift the epicenter of Midtown to the west, a move greatly reinforced by the renaissance of Times Square in the late 1990s and the building of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle after many years of controversy.

In 2005, the Hearst Tower, distinguished by its stainless steel criss-cross façade with jagged corners, designed by Sir Norman Foster was topped out immediately to the west of this tower and in 2012 One57, a 1,004-foot-high, mixed-use tower developed by Extell Development, began to rise across from Carnegie Hall.

In 1990, Rose Associates filed an offering plan for the building’s conversion valued at about $140 million but that offered was abandoned by the nation entered a recession.

The Sheffield, will a rental building, was sold by Rose Associates in 2005 to Swig Burris Equities, YL Real Estate Developers and S & H Equities for $418 million for conversion to a condominium.

In 2006, it was announced that the conversion would reduce the number of units from about 845 to 600 units and that the building would henceforth be known as Sheffield 57.

A new condominium offering filing valued the building at $848 million.

Moed de Armas & Shannon redesigned the lobby and reclad the tower’s base with granite and glass.

In October, 2006, the new owners announced a change in floor numbering.  Formerly the first residential floor was floor 7.  Now it was 15.

The conversion, however, did not go smoothly and at one point Yair Levy of YL Real Estate Developers hit Kenneth Swig of Swig Burris Equities with an ice bucket. 

An October 17, 2008 article in The New York Post by Chuck Bennett, Braden Keil and Larry Celona said that on September 11, 2008 Mr. Levy hit Mr. Swig with the ice bucket “on the same parts of the body where he recently had surgery,” adding that “several people present in the room had to restrain the attacker.”  Mr. Levy was arrested October 10 and charged with misdemeanor assault and criminal possession of a weapon and was released on his own recognizance and ordered to keep away from Mr. Swig.

In May, 2009, Mr. Levy pleaded guilty to attacking Mr. Swig but the next month he filed suit against him claiming that he had “siphoned off” $50 million in construction funds for “personal or unrelated purposes.”  An article by Charles V. Bagli in the June 10, 2009 edition of The New York Times, said that the building “is already well on its way to being one of the most disastrous condominium conversions in city history,” adding that “after almost two years of marketing, only 40 percent of 597 apartments have been sold,” noting that in May, 2009 that state attorney general halted sales altogether.”

A June 2, 2009 article by Dana Rubenstein at reported that Mr. Swig had “reached a settlement with the condo owners who sued him, agreeing to pay the common charges he, as sponsor of more than 400 unsold condos, owes to the Board of Managers.”

Litigation bogged the conversion down and on August 6, 2009 Fortress Investment Group bought the complex for $20 million in a foreclosure proceeding.  That spring, Mr. Swig reportedly defaulted on the project’s $400 million mortgage and on an additional $240 million in mezzanine debt.  After the foreclosure, Mr. Swig reportedly negotiated a revenue-sharing arrangement with Fortress.

Cetra-Ruddy was hired to redo interiors and the lobby got a new sycamore ceiling and the building got a pet spa and a bicycle room and the top two floors of amenities were renamed the Sky Club.

In January, 2011, The New York Times reported in a blog that the building had sold slightly more than 50 percent of its apartments, noting that 85 are rent-regulated.  Apartments in the building went back on the market in March 2010, and The Real Deal magazine would subsequently call the building the “best-back-from-the-dead residential project’ of 2010.


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 21 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 31 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 18 / 39


CityRealty Rating Reference

  • 30+ remarkable
  • 20-29 distinguished
  • 11-19 average
  • < 11 below average
  • 27+ remarkable
  • 18-26 distinguished
  • 9-17 average
  • < 9 below average
  • 22+ remarkable
  • 16-21 distinguished
  • 9-15 average
  • < 9 below average
  • #35 Rated condo - Midtown West
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Key Details
between Madison Avenue & Park Avenue South
Murray Hill
Own the Lifestyle Private full-floor residences • Floor-to-ceiling windows • 360-degree Manhattan views
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30 E 31 | Exterior View 30 E 31 | Interior View 30 E 31 | Interior View 30 E 31 | Interior Living and Kitchen 30 E 31 | Bedroom