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838 Fifth Avenue: Review and Ratings

at The Southeast corner of East 65th street View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 838 Fifth Avenue by Carter Horsley

This condominium apartment building was converted in late 1999 from a former 11-story office building that was built in 1950 and designed by Harry M. Prince for the Union of American Hebrew Congregations.

It is directly across 65th Street from Temple Emanu-El, the city's most socially prestigious synagogue.

The limestone-clad building, which had "Love Thy Neighbor As Thyself' inscribed on its façade, and was known as "The House of Living Judaism," has a relatively plain façade that is accented by a gently curved roofline and quite broad windows. It is just to the north of 834 Fifth Avenue that is one of the city's most impressive pre-war apartment buildings and across Fifth Avenue from the entrance to the Central Park Zoo.

This redevelopment project also included the adjoining property at 2 East 65th Street, a five-story building designed by Thom & Spaulding in 1881. That building was replaced by a 8-story addition to the 838 Fifth Avenue building, which had one story added for a total of 12.

Louis Dubin and Metin Negrin of The Athena Group are the developers and Beyer Blinder Belle is the architectural firm handling the conversion, which created storage rooms, wine cellars and servants' quarters in addition to the apartments.

In 1996, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations planned to sell the building to Edmond Safra, founder of the Republic National Bank, who planned to convert it into a synagogue for Belt Yaakov, a Sephardic organization.

That sale, however, was canceled and the building was acquired by A. Alfred Taubman, the developer of many shopping centers who became the chairman of Sotheby's, the auction house, and who lived next door at 834 Fifth Avenue, and Louis Dubin, his son-in-law, and Metin Negrin.

The intersection at this corner is quite busy as it is the eastbound exit of a transverse road across Central Park.

In the fall of 1999, the New York Observer reported that Charles Bronfman, co-chairman of Seagram Company Ltd., had signed a contract to pay "close to $18 million for a duplex penthouse" in the building.

Bus transportation is excellent here but subways are not very close. This location, of course, is very convenient to the Plaza district a few blocks to the south and many elegant boutiques and restaurants nearby on Madison Avenue.

Because it is directly across the sidestreet from Temple Emanu-El, this building has considerable visual privacy.

The mid-block "wing" has Juliet balconies and the service entrance for the Fifth Avenue building.


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 26 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 28 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 26 / 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
  • #12 Rated condo - Upper East Side
  • #4 Rated condo - Park/Fifth Ave. to 79th St.
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between Gold Street & Flatbush Avenue Extension
Downtown Brooklyn
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