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969 Fifth Avenue

Between East 77th Street & East 78th Street

78
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.
 

An attractive, 16-story, dark-brown brick building with a one-story stone base and only 12 apartments, 969 Fifth Avenue on the southeast corner at 78th Street was built in 1926 and converted to a cooperative in 1946. 

While the design of this building by Joseph L. Raimist is not remarkable, its location and its few apartments make it very desirable. 

One block away from cross-town bus service and a major entrance to Central Park, it is convenient to the avenue's many museums as well as the many fashionable boutiques of Madison Avenue.

Bottom Line

Across from Central Park and the Duke Mansion, this sedate apartment building has great views, very few apartments and a very prime Upper East Side location.

Description

The building has a longer frontage on the side-street than on the avenue. 

It has a canopied entrance with a two-story, highly decorated arch that is flanked by bronze light sconces. 

The building has inconsistent fenestration.

The building is across the street from one of the city's most beautiful mansions, the large, limestone house modeled in 1912 by Horace Trumbauer after the Hotel Labbatiere in Bordeaux, France, for James B. Duke, the president of the American Tobacco Company. Duke, who was known as "Buck," lived in this magnificent home with his only child, Doris, who in 1958 gave it to New York University, which uses it for its prestigious Institute of Fine Arts, a breeding ground for museum directors and curators.

Amenities

The building has a full-time doorman and concierge and elevator operator as well as private storage and a laundry room. The building is pet-friendly.

Apartments

Apartments range in size from about 1,300 to 4,000 square feet and have fireplaces. 

A duplex unit on the 11th and 12th floors has as a small entry foyer that leads to a circular vestibule and a 12-foot-long stairhall that leads to a 21-foot-long living room with a fireplace adjacent to a 14-foot-long library and an 18-foot-long dining room. 

The kitchen is 16-feet-long and leads to a 7-foot-long breakfast room and an 8-foot-long pantry.  The upper level has five bedrooms.

The 13th floor has a 21-foot-long entry foyer that leads to a 25-foot-long living room with a fireplace, three-bedrooms and a 16-foot-long kitchen. 

The fourth floor has an 8-foot-long entry foyer that leads to a 23-foot-long gallery that open onto a 21-foot-long living room with a fireplace that is next to a 13-foot-long library, an 18-foot-long master bedroom, 15-foot-long dining room and a 15-foot-long kitchen.

History

By the late 1920s, the era of building great luxury apartments on Fifth Avenue was beginning to wind down. 

"The designs became more perfunctory," noted Robert A. M. Stern, Gregory Gilmartin and Thomas Mellins in their excellent book, "New York 1930, Architecture and Urbanism Between The Two World Wars," (Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1987), citing this building, among others, for "bland and somewhat repetitious" façades, "demonstrating a shifting of emphasis to the continuity of the avenue's wall, as they formed a front to the park." 

"The individual apartments," they continued, "became less elaborate as well, reflecting not only a simplification of living style but also the fact the very rich increasingly looked on a New York apartment as a pied-a-terre rather than as a permanent residence." 

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