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The Elysabeth, 35 East 38th Street: Review and Ratings

between Madison Avenue & Park Avenue View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 35 East 38th Street by Carter Horsley

This attractive, mid-block building at 35 East 38th Street in Murray Hill was built in 1961 by Sarah Korein.

It is 13 stories tall and has 113 condominium apartments.

It has a doorman, a gym, a garage, storage space and a roofdeck. It is convenient to the Morgan Library and Grand Central Terminal. It was converted to a condominium in 1978. It was designed by Sylvan Bien.

In a November 11, 1998 article in Real Estate Weekly, Lois Weiss wrote that Ms. Korein was "one of New York's toughest, sharpest and yet largely unknown deal-makers" who at her death "owned the ground under One Penn Plaza, Lever House, the Swiss Center, 120 Broadway, 111 Broadway, 111 Wall Street and owned and operated 295 Madison Avenue, the Delmonico Hotel at 502 Park Avenue and the residential buildings at 220 and 240 Central Park South."

Other properties that were owned by her included the Beresford at 211 Central Park West, 24 Fifth Avenue, the Croyden Hotel at 12 East 85th Street and the Schwab House on West End Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets.

Born Sarah Rabinowitz in Germany, she was raised in Palestine where she met and married Isidor Korein.

She was a member of the underground that fought and eventually won independence for Israel in 1948. According to Ms. Weiss's article, "Her mother and father, grandparents and two sisters, Esther and Tikva, her brother Eli, and little Julius [her son] lived in Brooklyn. Their first real estate venture came about in 1931, simply because they didn't want to pay rent. The family chipped in and purchased a six-story walk-up apartment house in Flatbush for $6,000, but Sarah, who was teaching Hebrew and the Bible at a day nursery school, soon became the driving force behind the acquisitions. The family purchased several more Brooklyn buildings, with the men acting as the supers and then later on as the managers. But even as Mrs. Korein pursued innovative investments, Isidor [her husband] stayed in the background, happy to take care of the properties. In 1941, the family purchased a tremendous building for their experience, 87-01 Shore Road in the Narrows of Bay Ridge. It was six stories and was served by four elevators. By the time they were closing, however, they realized it was in terrible condition and half empty, and although Mrs. Korein complained to the seller, they were forced to take title. Needing to rent up the empty units, she brought dozens of refrigerators for 10 percent down, hoping to use as an inducement for new tenants. Meanwhile, the stored the Kelvinators in the empty swimming pool in the building's basement. 'When the war broke out, everything was immediately rented as is, and she had a swimming pool full of refrigerators, which because no one could make any new ones, she sold and made an enormous profit on,' Dr. Korein [her son] recalled.

"At the end of the war, Mrs. Korein insisted on purchasing in Manhattan, and took on 715 Park Avenue in 1946 with some creative financing techniques, helped by Charles F. Noyes and Prudential. She reduced the $1.7 million mortgage and then refinanced and converted a mortgage with a 4 percent amortization and 4.5 percent interest rate to a 4.5 percent interest rate with no amortization so she could pay out less and have more free capital to spend on other deals. She purchased buildings like the Adams, the Croyden and the Beresford, and eventually developed the Elysabeth, named for her daughter, at 35 East 38th Street.

"Alan B. Friedberg was the young renting and managing agent who was in charge of the property for Greenthal & Co., the firm he had co-founded with the older Charles Greenthal. 'I heard she had a deal with Peter Sharpe,' Friedberg recalled. 'So I went to see her at her apartment at Two Fifth Avenue. I said to her, 'You can't sell it. I'm buying a house,' because the building commissions were supporting me. She gave me $5,000 and I'll never forgot that. I told Charlie and he told me to keep it. [The money became] the difference between living in Queens or living in Woodmere.' Mrs. Korein never considered the Elysabeth a success, however, and never developed a building again."


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 24 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 23 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 11 / 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
  • #27 Rated condo - Murray Hill
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between Gold Street & Flatbush Avenue Extension
Downtown Brooklyn
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