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A blog from CityRealty (Links below will take you to the 6sqft site)

30 E 31, 30 East 31st Street

Between Madison Avenue & Park Avenue South   |    Murray Hill

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

This slender but very attractive, 39-story, mid-block tower at 30 East 31st Street has 41 condominium apartments and has been developed by the Ekstein Development Group and the Pinnacle Group.  It is scheduled to open in 2019. 

It has been designed by Morris Adjmi. 

It replaced the very handsome and eclectic parish house of the Madison Avenue Baptist Church that was designed by Charles Butler and Cary S. Rodman. 

According to, "the Parish House has had a long history of providing space to arts organizations." 

"The Viola Farber Dance Company moved here in 1977, after a previous eviction, and in 1978 the Parish House was also home to the Bel Canto Opera Company," the article continued, adding that "Currently, the building houses The Dokoudovsky New York Conservatory of Dance, where classes take place in a gorgeous studio with 28-foot ceilings, and the New York Theatre Ballet." 

"The building is beautiful. The American Institute of Architects Guide to New York City describes it as an 'Offbeat gem in brick and limestone. Middle Eastern motifs decorate the spandrels of its Romanesque Revival body,' the website noted. 

The great website, "," noted in an February 28, 2014 article that the entrance of the Parish Hall was "a near-copy of the unusual entrance portico" of the church on Madison Avenue." 

"Other than that," the article continued, "the purely Edwardian structure was a quaint asymmetrical five-story concoction of Romanesque Revival with a touch of Mediterranean,  Stained glass filled the first floor openings, including a spectacular radiant half-round overlight above the entrance door.  Carved limestone panels beneath the three-story arched openings, intricately decorated spandrels, a deeply overhanging cornice supported by remarkable cast brackets and a roof garden with a pergola gave the parish house an exotic air." 

The pergola dominated the building's rooftop, especially when viewed from the street, and some of the large cornice brackets were subsequently angled! 

The "doghouse" projecting entrance was, of course, the building's most visible oddity, but then the commissioners of the Landmarks Preservation Commission were totally blind, deaf and dumb in not designating the building as a landmark!

Bottom Line

Morris Adjmi has designed a rather stunning. "blooming" silver tower of mostly floor-through apartments in NoMad, the city's newest tall enclave, that leads one to overlook the demolition of the wonderful low-rise parish hall on the site that should have been designated a landmark by the city.


The architect's website provides the following commentary: 

"30 East 31st Street weaves together architectural threads from NoMad’s eclectic collection of churches, mansions, hotels, and high-rises. Fluted terra cotta piers rising up the façade of this 40-story residential tower to define bays of brass-framed windows before interlacing to form an elegant lattice crown whose pointed arches recall the neighborhood’s Gothic Revival churches and Art Deco office buildings. Inside, the Gothic-inspired motif recurs in door and window frames, light fixtures, and other details. All of the building’s open-plan units feature natural stone surfaces, wide-plank oak floors, walnut cabinetry, and floor-to-ceiling windows. The full-floor penthouses, located behind the interlacing piers, are distinguished by triangular windows reminiscent of those in the crown of the Chrysler Building. With its blend of historic influences, refined detailing, and expansive apartments 30 East 31st Street is a contemporary update of the classic New York skyscraper." 

The most distinguished aspect of the tower is its "blooming" top of curved and angular large windows contained within its rectilinear form and above its normal vertical and rectangular fenestration pattern. 

This top "bursts" with energy and marks for exciting and unusual  interior spaces, although it is not clear how window shading would work. 

In an October 24, 2017 article by Tim McKeough in The New York Times, Erik Ekstein, the developer is quoted as stating that he did not "want to build a glass tower that could be anywhere," adding that he likes "to do projects that are very contextual within the neighborhood. 

"In hopes of creating something uniquely of its place, he turned to Morris Adjmi, a New York-based architect who frequently designs contemporary buildings that riff on details of neighboring structures. Among Mr. Adjmi’s condo projects are the brick-townhouse-like building at 465 Pacific Street in Boerum Hill; the metallic doppelgänger of an existing 1905 warehouse for the Sterling Mason at 71 Laight Street; and a building with decorative terra cotta details at 207 West 79th Street. This time, Mr. Adjmi said he was inspired by the pointed neo-Gothic details of neighbors such as the Kaye Building at 105 Madison Avenue and the Remsen Building at 148 Madison Avenue." 

“'What can we do to create a classic New York skyscraper,' he asked himself, 'something that really talks to the Chrysler Building, to the Empire State Building?'" the article continued. 

The building will have a revolving door entrance beneath a large curved, stainless-steel marquee embossed with lattices.  The ground-floor windows are separated by thin vertically ribbed columns. 


The building has a concierge, a full-time doorman, a garden, a lounge, a bicycle room, a fitness center and some fireplaces.


The apartment interiors include wide-plank white oak floors; bathrooms with Calacatta Prima and Bleu de Savoie marble; and kitchens with walnut cabinets, quartzite counters, and Wolf, Sub-Zero and Bosch appliances. 

There are 13 one-bedroom apartments on floors 2 through 8, starting at 866 square feet and $1.65 million. 

Apartment 7A is a 968-square-foot, one-bedroom unit with an entry foyer that leads past a 10-foot-wide kitchen with a breakfast bar to a 19-foot-wide living/dining room. 

From the 9th floor up, there is a single 1,677-square-foot two-bedroom apartment per floor, starting at $3.5 million. 

Apartment 10 has a large private corridor next to the elevators that leads to a 25-foot-long living/dining room and a 14-foot-wide open kitchen with a breakfast bar. 

At the top, there is a 3,354-square-foot three-bedroom duplex penthouse for $12 million, where windows look out in all directions through the building’s "zigzagging" exterior. 

This unit has a 31-foot-long living room with a 9-foot-wide wet bar that leads to a 10-foot-wide pantry next to a 13-foot-wide open kitchen with a breakfast bar and a 22-foot-long dining room on the lower level with bedrooms on the upper level. 

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