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Parc V, 785 Fifth Avenue: Review and Ratings

at The Southeast corner of East 60th Street View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 785 Fifth Avenue by Carter Horsley

This plain, white-brick, 19-story apartment building at 785 Fifth Avenue on the southeast corner at 60th Street was erected in 1961 by the Fisher Brothers, who built Imperial House on the Upper East Side in 1960, an 299 Park Avenue and the Bankers Trust Plaza on Park Avenue in 1967 and 1974, respectively, and Park Avenue Plaza in 1981.  The Fisher Brothers had acquired the 10-story building on the corner site from The Hanover Bank and the adjoining 6-story building from Herman Phillips and Gloria Vanderbilt.

The building was designed by Emery Roth & Sons.

It has 66 co-operative apartments.

Bottom Line

Perhaps the least distinctive residential building designed by the firm of Emery Roth & Sons, this very bland-looking building shares its Fifth Avenue blockfront with the stupendous Sherry-Netherland Hotel and is directly across the avenue from the gilded equestrian statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman and across 60th Street from the very scrumptious Metropolitan Club designed by McKim, Mead & White and there is a subway stop at its corner and it is not far from the Plaza Hotel and Bergdorf Goodman, the Apple Store, Tiffany’s and Trump Tower. 

In other words, its location doesn’t get any better.

Description

The building has a 3-story limestone base and discrete slit air conditioners.

It has four setbacks and broad windows.

Amenities

The building has a full-time doorman, a gym, a live-in superintendent, storage, a package room, maid and limousine service, and a garage.

Apartments

A November 23, 2012 article by Robin Finn at The New York Times noted that “the opulent 20-room penthouse at 785 Fifth Avenue where the socialite and songstress Denise Rich reigned as the hostess supreme has sold for $54 million,” adding that it was “reputed to be one of the largest apartments in New York City, with 12,000 square feet of interior space and 5,000 square feet of wraparound terraces and roof gardens overlooking Central Park.”

A July 12, 2012 article by Clyde Haberman in The Times noted that Ms. Rich “inspired Bill Clinton in the waning hours of his presidency to pardon her former husband, Marc Rich,” adding “that pardon is, for many, a lasting stain on the Clinton legacy.”

“Mr. Rich,” the article continued, “an international commodities trader, had fled the United States in 1983 when he was indicted on charges of evading taxes and illegally trading with Iran.”

The penthouse, according to a July 13, 2012 report at ny.curbed.com, has a 44-foot-long Grand Salon on its upper floor with a wraparound terrace, an enclosed, 24-foot-long dining room with access to the terrace, a 16-foot-long, enclosed and windowed kitchen with a separate butler’s pantry and a 13-foot-wide laundry, a 19-foot-long library and wet bar with a long terrace, and a19-foot-wide master bedroom with its own terrace with a 19-foot-wide sitting room and two dressing rooms.  The lower floor has a 25-foot-wide gym facing Grand Army Plaza with a terrace, a 21-foot-long recording studio with a 13-foot-long gallery, a 14-foot-long office, a 30-foot-long media room next to a 20-foot-long billiards/dining room, two kitchens, a staff room, and four bedrooms all with terraces.  The highest level (19th story) has two skylights, a 30-foot-long storage room, and three very large and continuous roof terraces.

“Even before Ms. Rich – the Grammy-nominated former wife of Marc Rich, the billionaire trade controversially pardoned by President Bill Clinton – listed her domicile for a whopping $65 million in January, she had announced her intention to surrender her American passport (and the tax burden associated with it) and relocated to Europe to be closer to her Austrian beau and other loved ones,” the article continued.

“After the penthouse had been on the market for six months – and after the famously choosy co-op board (no dogs, not even purebreds) frowned on the interest (and financial liquidity) exhibited by the prime minister of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani – a fellow resident, David Geffen, made her offer she couldn’t refuse and off across the Atlantic she went….Now the enormous penthouse, and the $25,000 monthly maintenance fee attached to it, are the province of  Mr. Geffen, the media mogul whose most recent net worth was estimated by Forbes as $5.6 billion.  A founder of Dreamworks, he has already spend around $14 million for the privilege of living one floor below Ms. Rich….Mr. Geffen who is selling his other apartment, [which he acquired from Robert A. Daly, a former chairman of Warner Brothers Entertainment] is gearing up  for renovations, even the space he is buying from Ms. Rich is enviable and livable: 7 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, 3 kitchens, multiple fireplaces, a forest’s worth of mahogany, a billiards room, a gym/sauna/hair salon area (for keeping up appearances), and a professional recording studio.”

Mr. Geffen, who was born in Brooklyn, founded Geffen Records that he sold in 1990 to MCA for $550 million in stock.  The Avery Fisher Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts was renamed David Geffen Hall after he gave the center $100 million and it gave Mr. Fisher’s heirs $15 million to have his name removed.

Mr. Geffen previously had the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles create a Geffen Contemporary Gallery and a February 20, 2016 article in The Times by Laura M. Holson noted that “Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King were photographed sunbathing about the Rising Sun [his 453-foot-long yacht]….On another trip, Bruce Springsteen was shooting hoops on the ship’s full-size basketball court, while Tom Hanks strummed a guitar, friends said.”

A news item in the June 2, 1962 edition of The Times said that the building’s “sales prices range from $30,295 to $265,000, the latter for a ten-room penthouse.”

Apartment 6C is a three-bedroom unit with a 13-foot-long entry foyer that leads past a 14-foot-long, pass-through kitchen to a 25-foot-long living room.

Apartment 14BC is a two-bedroom unit with a 27-foot-long entrance gallery that leads to a 26-foot-long living room with a fireplace, a 25-foot-long library, a 21-foot-long dining room and a 21-foot-long kitchen/breakfast room.

History

In 1959, according to authors Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins and David Fishman in their great book, “New York 1960, Architecture and Urbanism Between World War II and the Bicentennial,” plans “were announced to demolish several…buildings to make way for a thirty-five-story office building designed by H. I. Feldman.  It would replace Henry J. Hardenbergh’s Fifth Avenue Estates Building (1903); an apartment building at the southeast corner of Sixtieth Street and Fifth Avenue, and Jardine & Jardine’s Park & Tilford Building (1884; Fifth Avenue façade remodeled 1905; Fifty-ninth Street frontage remodeled 1920), an L-shaped building with a Fifth Avenue frontage directly north of the Sherry-Netherland.  The office building was not realized, but in 1963 the Parc V, 785 Fifth Avenue, an extremely bland apartment house with eighteen floors and a penthouse, designed by Emery Roth & Sons, was completed on the site.  On the building’s ground floor, facing Fifth Avenue, the Franklin National Bank, a Nassau County-based institution, established a facility called La Banque Continentale catering to the superrich.  Designed by Eggers & Higgins, architects and Ellen Lehman McCluskey, decorator, the bank’s interior evoked an eighteenth-century private townhouse in Paris….”

That elegant interior was eventually used as a branch office for Citibank.

An October 12, 1961 article in The New York Times noted that “a minor landmark is disappearing from Grand Army plaza at Fifth Avenue and Sixtieth Street.”

“The neo-classical style of the building, which in recent years housed the Plaza office of the Hanover Bank (now the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company), was sited to the elegant neighborhood.  A bank official said yesterday that, when built in the Nineties, it had huge basement vaults.  A storage company used them to store for the summer the carpets and paintings of the fashionable families that owned the great mansions of Fifth Avenue.  Above the bank floors were six floors of apartments that had many famous tenants.  Among were the late Eddy Duchin, the popular pianist of the Thirties, and his wife the society heiress Marjorie Oelrichs…” who were portrayed by Tyrone Powers and Kim Novak in the movie entitled “The Eddy Duchin Story.”

At the June 22, 1964 wedding of the pianist’s son, Peter, to Cheray Georgea Zauderer, his godparents, W. Averell Harriman and Mrs. Harriman were among the wedding guests that also included Adlai E. Stevenson and Mayor Wagner.  Peter’s orchestra performed at the wedding along with Count Basie’s. 

Rating

23
Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 23 / 44

+
29
Out of 36

Location Rating: 29 / 36

+
16
Out of 39

Features Rating: 16 / 39

+
10
=
78

CityRealty Rating Reference

 
Architecture
  • 30+ remarkable
  • 20-29 distinguished
  • 11-19 average
  • < 11 below average
 
Location
  • 27+ remarkable
  • 18-26 distinguished
  • 9-17 average
  • < 9 below average
 
Features
  • 22+ remarkable
  • 16-21 distinguished
  • 9-15 average
  • < 9 below average
 
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Key Details
 
1289 Lexington Avenue
at The Northeast corner of East 86th Street
Carnegie Hill
Refined Residences that Redefine life on Lexington Avenue.
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