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

133 East 64th Street

Between Park Avenue & Lexington Avenue

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.
 

This attractive, 12-story apartment building at 133 West 64th Street was erected in 1927 and designed by Kenneth Murchison and is most famous for having been the residence of Bernard Madoff, the swindler, at the time of his arrest in 2009.

The building has 23 cooperative apartments and is on the northwest corner at Lexington Avenue and faces a quite similar building directly across 64th Street.

The beige-brick building has a three-story stone base and the ground floor is rusticated. It has a canopied, two-step-up entrance flanked by sconces and columns and topped by a fanlight and two balustraded office entrances on the side-street. The building has fireplaces, a doorman and is petfriendly but has no sidewalk landscaping but very handsome retail spaces on the avenue.

In his September 16, 2009 "Streetscapes" column in The New York Times, Christopher Gray said that the building was erected "for a Social Register crowd that eschewed the typical well-to-do East Side address for an old shoe life in the slow lane."

"Compared with the prestige of Fifth, Madison and Park, Lexington above 59th is a sort of hand-me-down address, with altered brownstones ad mid-grade apartment houses, in keeping with its lower rung on the social ladder. But in the 1920s, a rump group of weel-t0-do Upper East Siders lit out for Lexington, and a modest crop of truly luxury buildings sprouted in the otherwise middling soil of this unassuming street. These typically had one or two apartments of 10 to 13 rooms per floor, as does Mr. Mr. Madoff's old building," Mr. Gray wrote.

"The architect of No. 133," he continued, "was Kenneth Murchison, a Beaux-Arts bon vivant, who had already designed Emily Post's co-op at 79th and Madison, a project that she initiated with a few friends. It is hard to tell if No. 133 was also built by a group of acquaintances instead of a developer, but it's in a tasteful and unshowy neo-Classic style, with Greek-inspire window frames, attenuated pilasters and a Vitruvian wave in limestone above the delicate storefronts."

"In a 1928 article in Arts & Decoration," Mr. Gray added, "Mr. Murchison said that a key advantage of a co-op was that the shareholders could 'weed out undesirables and keep the social status of the house up to where it belongs.'"

The Madoff apartment was acquired for about $8 million by Al and Patsy Kahn, according to an article by Sara May 13, 2010 at ny.curbed.com. The article said "that's a not-insignificant markdown from the original asking price of $9.9 million."

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