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31 East 79th Street: Review and Ratings

between Fifth Avenue & Madison Avenue View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 31 East 79th Street by Carter Horsley

This distinguished, brown-brick, 15-story cooperative apartment house at 31 East 79th Street on the northeast corner at Madison Avenue was built in two parts. The first section, at the Madison Avenue corner, was erected in 1925 and an extension to the west three years later. The two parts are almost seamless, although the cornice line along 79th Street shows the difference. 

The building, which was designed by William H. Rowan, was converted to a cooperative in 1946. 

It has only 19 apartments.

Bottom Line

A very elegant pre-war cooperative building with very few apartments and excellent views at a prime Upper East Side location convenient to museums, restaurants and shopping.


The building is notable for having an octagonal, patinated, copper water tank enclosure that is the second most handsome and prominent on Madison Avenue after the larger and sloping one atop The Mark on the northwest corner at 76th Street. 

Less obviously, but no less interesting is the fact that this building was significantly expanded to the west three years after it was built and that the addition is hardly discernible!  

It has a three-and-a-half story limestone base with a half story gray granite bottom and large lanterns flanking its canopied entrance that has very attractive doors that lead to a small lobby. 

The building’s fenestration on 79th Street is almost consistent except for a small window on the 10th floor and two near the corner on the 11th floor. 

The building has an attractive cornice and there are masonry pilasters on the two floors above a big bandcourse over the 11th floor windows that are framed with two layers of stone and have a stone frame corner at either end of the street frontage, a quite eccentric but nice design touch.  There are also decorative spandrels between the top two floors.


The building has a canopied entrance and a doorman, but no roof deck, no garage and no sidewalk landscaping.  It permits protruding air-conditioners and has very good bus transportation and is convenient to the Metropolitan Museum and P.S. 6 on Madison Avenue. 


According to a March 5, 1995 article in The New York Times by Tracie Rozhon, some of its staff rooms on the top floor were eventually converted to penthouse space. In an interview with with Candace Taylor, Alice M. Mason, the well-known broker, said that she had sold Alfred Vanderbilt a penthouse in the building. 


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 25 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 27 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 19 / 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
  • #30 Rated co-op - Carnegie Hill
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