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Morgan Court, 211 Madison Avenue

Between East 35th Street & East 36th Street

73
Carter Horsley
Review 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.
 

When it opened in 1984, Morgan Court, a 32-story apartment "sliver" building at 211 Madison Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets, was a condominium, but when sales slowed, the developer, Mark Perlbinder of Perlbinder Realty Corporation, started to rent many of its 40 apartments.

Times have changed, and now in the fall of 2007 Mr. Perlbinder and his daughter, Muffy Flouret, are selling as condominiums the 22 apartments they still own. Most of the apartments are being renovated and fitted with new appliances including Sub-Zero refrigerators, Viking stoves and Bosch dishwashers and baths have Duravit water closets and Kohler "Tea-for-Two" tubs.

Asking prices for one-bedroom units ranging in size from 1,050 to 1,142 square feet range from about $1,557,000 to $1,695,000. Asking prices for two-bedroom duplex units with 2,321 square feet range from about $3,195,000 to $$3,645,000.

The building s lobby was designed by John Saladino and Robyn Karp is designing the interiors and Anthony Coccarelli is the "interior" architect.

The building's has windows that wrap around its curved southwest corner and it has curved balconies on its east façade.

This is a "sliver" building that sprouts up above its neighbors without any hint of contextual concerns. It could, in fact, be called "the" sliver building since it was the building that was the subject of the 1993 movie, "Sliver," which starred Sharon Stone.

Sliver buildings began to spring up in Manhattan in the late 1980s and incurred the wrath of many community activists and some preservationists who succeeded in having the city enact new zoning legislation to inhibit their development. Incongruous and jarring, there is little question that they visually disrupt low-rise streets, and most of those that were erected were architecturally not stunning. The foundation for this building was completed in March, 1983, a day before a city law was enacted halting most "sliver" buildings.

According to an article by Kirk Johnson in the September 7, 1984 edition of The New York, Times, apartments then averaged about $500 a square foot.

This reddish burgundy-brick tower has spectacular views of the Empire State Building, as well as the rest of Manhattan on its upper floors.

The building, which as a 33-foot frontage on the avenue, is just to the north of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation that was designed in 1864 by Emlen T. Little.

The building has a very impressive and elegant "gate-house" entrance" with cobblestone courtyard and a lovely garden with a multi-paned atrium at the rear of the lobby. It is around the corner from the great Pierpont Morgan Library. One block south across the avenue is the former B. Altman's department store building that was converted in the 1990s to an office building that also includes a very large branch of the New York Public Library. This stretch of Madison Avenue is one of the nicest sections of the Murray Hill neighborhood.

There is excellent cross-town bus service on 34th Street and a subway is a few blocks away. Lord & Taylor, the department store is nearby as are two large computer stores.

The building has a doorman and but no garage, no health club and no roof deck.

According to "The A. I. A. Guide to New York City, Third Edition," by Norval White and Elliot Willensky, Three Rivers Press, 2000, this building, designed by Liebman Liebman & Associates, replaced "J. P. Morgan's onetime carriage house."

Perlbinder Realty was founded by Joseph Perlbinder, who built apartment buildings in the Bronx and Brooklyn before the Depression and later in Jackson Heights. He died in 1946 and his son Julius built apartment buildings at 35 East 35th Street and 36 East 36th Street and then Schwab House on Riverside Drive between 73rd and 74th Streets. Mark Perlbinder built 185 East 85th Street, 400 East 54th Street and 330 West 56th Street.

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