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

One United Nations Park, 695 First Avenue

Between East 39th Street & East 40th Street

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.
 

This handsome, black-glass, 43-story mixed-use apartment tower at 685 First Avenue between 39th and 40th Streets near the United Nations and the Tudor City residential complex was completed in 2018 by the Solow Building Company, which is famous for its sloping, black-glass skyscraper at 9 West 57th Street. 

This building was designed by Richard Meier, the architect of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the white modernist towers at 173 and 176 West Street and 165 Charles Street all in a row facing the Hudson River in the Far West Village. 

The building has 143 condominium apartments on the top 16 floors and 430 rental units on the lower floors. 

Mr. Meier, who is a Pritzker Prize winner, was accused of sexual harassment by some former female employees and that charge led Sotheby's, the auction house, to close an exhibition of the architect's collages, according to a March 14, 2018 article by Robin Pogrebin at The New York Times.  The show had opened in the second-floor gallery at the York Avenue and 72nd Street quarters of the auction house February 28 and was to run through March 29. 

Mr. Meier offered an apology and took a six-month leave from his firm. 

"After the Times report," the article continued, "Kent Kleinman, the dean of Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning, announced...that the school would now decline Mr. Meier's recent gift to name the chair of architecture department." 

A March 27, 2018 article by Amy Plitt at ny.curbed.com noted that "the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects rescinded a previously announced for Mr. Meier's firm's work on the Leblon Offices in Rio de Janeiro."  The article also noted that "Meier's name has been scrubbed from the website" for the First Avenue project" and "there is no mention of Meier in the project's sales gallery."

Bottom Line

A departure from the purity of Richard Meier's modern minimalism, this black-glass tower just south of the Tudor City and United Nations complexes is an eccentric bunker but seems to take justifiable pride in its purposeful design imperfections.

Description

Unlike some of the other black-glass skyscrapers in the Solow portfolio, including two further north at 59th Street between First and York Avenues, this tower has quite different east and west façades.  

The former, which faces the East River and overlooks the United Nations complex just to the north, and its 28th and 29th floors faced with clear glass providing a strong visual element that does not extend fully to the building's north edge.  

The latter is almost black, but with a very attractive and interesting façade configuration.

Its north end is recessed a bit with balconies on alternate floors. The rest of the façade has a slightly projecting element with shorter balconies on every floor, all beneath a center recessed, one-story-high element with clear glass. 

The base of the building has clear-glass and the building has a large, double-height lobby.

Amenities

The building has a 70-foot-long indoor lap pool, a fitness center, a billiards and games lounge, a catering kitchen, a children's playroom with teepee, a 12-seat screening room and residents' lounge.

Apartments

Apartment 30E is a three-bedroom unit with 2,156 square feet of interior space and 110 feet of outdoor space with a long entry foyer that leads to a 35-foot-long great room with an open kitchen with an island and a terrace. 

Apartment 39H is a two-bedroom unit with 1,818 square feet of interior space and 127 square feet of outdoor space with a long entry foyer that leads to a 34-foot-long great room with an open kitchen with an island and a balcony. 

Apartment 39K is a two-bedroom unit with 1,452 square feet of interior space with a long entry foyer that leads to a 30-foot-long great room with an open kitchen with a breakfast bar. 

Apartment 30B is a two-bedroom unit with 1,297 square feet of space with a 30-foot-long great room with an open kitchen with an island. 

Apartment 30C is a one-bedroom unit with 750 square feet of interior space with a 29-foot-long great room with an open kitchen with an island. 

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