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Fred Leighton Building, 45 East 66th Street: Review and Ratings

between Madison Avenue & Park Avenue View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 45 East 66th Street by Carter Horsley

45 East 66th Street is one of three very interesting and highly decorative mid-rise apartment buildings designed shortly after the turn of the 20th Century by Harde & Short.

The others include the Alwyn Court at 180 West 58th Street and the Studio Building at 44 West 77th Street.

This building is distinguished by its attractive red masonry, excellent fenestration and rounded corner.

Describing this trio of buildings as "the best gingerbread in town," Paul Golberger noted in his book, "The City Observed, A Guide To the Architecture of New York, An Illustrated History," Vintage Books, 1979, that this was "the best" of the trio, adding that "The detail is an eclectic mix of Elizabethan and Flemish Gothic, and it is just elaborate enough to be showy, but restrained enough not to compete with the separate, secondary level of texture created by the dozens of 12-over-12 double-hung windows, a veritable curtain of tiny square panes."

Indeed, the replacement of multi-paned windows with larger single pane windows has significantly altered the appearance and aesthetic integrity of many of the city's finest residential buildings as owners have concentrated on "energy efficiency" and modern interior design to the detriment of their building's architecture.

This 33-unit building originally had its entrance at the base of its rounded corner before it was moved to the sidestreet in 1929.  

Given the considerable traffic on Madison Avenue and the high value of its retail space, the move was understandable and well done.

It was originally surrounded by a fence and had two large apartments per floor and an elevator man.

The building's cornice is quite stylish, almost like a French beret and helps contain the very dynamic façades that are full of terracotta embellishments that add depth and shadows.

The doorman building was declared a landmark in 1977 and was acquired ten years later by Martin J. Raynes who converted it to a cooperative.

Apartment 9E is a four-bedroom unit with a 30-foot-long gallery leading to a 13-foot-wide foyer that opens onto a 20-foot-long living room, a 25-foot-long library, and a 21-foot-long formal dining room.  The master bedroom has four windows in the corner.

Apartment 5W has a 19-foot-long entrance gallery that leads to a 27-foot-long living room next to a 17-foot-long  formal dining room.  The aparatment has three bedrooms.

Apartment 6W has a 22-foot-long entrance gallery that leads to a 28-foot-long living room, a 20-foot-long dining room and a 18-foot-long library.  The apartment has three bedrooms and the master bedroom has a 17-foot-long dressing room and an enormous bathroom.

The building's location is in the heart of the most fashionable retail strip in the world and close to the Plaza business district.


Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 28 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 27 / 36

Out of 39

Features Rating: 22 / 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
  • #34 Rated co-op - Upper East Side
  • #20 Rated co-op - Park/Fifth Ave. to 79th St.
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Key Details
Skyline Tower
between 23rd Street & Crescent Street
Long Island City
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