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The Spencer Condominium at 1 East 62nd Street: Review and Ratings

Carter Horsley
Review of 1 East 62nd Street 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

Spencer House at 1 East 62nd Street is a limestone, 42-foot-wide, mansion designed in 1904 by Horace Trumbauer for John and Alice Troth Drexel and its triplex penthouse with a curved bay window facing Central Park in the master bedroom was later the home for many years of Joan Rivers, the famous comedian who died in 2014 at the age of 81.

The canopied entrance of this very elegant building, which has 12 condominium apartments, leads to a very spacious lobby but nothing prepared a visitor for the lavishness of Ms. River’s huge 23-foot-high, living/dining room several floors above.  For the brash entertainer, her domestic elegance bordered on the truly incongruous but was unquestionably genuine.  She and her apartment were the real thing.

Bottom Line

A prime limestone townhouse in a prime location adjacent to a mid-block synagogue.


The limestone-clad townhouse has a canopied, three-step-up entrance with sidewalk landscaped beside a balustraded moat. 

The first floor has arched windows.


The building has a full-time doorman, central air-conditioning, and an elevator.

It permits pets.


The entrance to the penthouse triplex was in the 26-foot-long front parlor that was adjacent to the 34-foot-long parlor with a fireplace, both with 23-foot-high ceilings, curved bay windows and moldings fit for Versailles.  The front parlor was also adjacent to the 15-foot-long dining room that overlooked a 26-foot-long terrace that also was accessed from the curved 26-foot-long library that faced Central Park. The upper level had a now mezzanine overlooking the parlors and a 25-foot-wide mezzanine also overlooking the parlors and leading to a 19-foot-long curved bedroom overlooking Central Park and an 11-foot-wide office.  The lowest level has a 22-foot-long living room, two bedrooms and a 12-foot-long kitchen.  The apartment has a total of 5 fireplaces.


Ms. Rivers listed the penthouse initially in 2009 and again in 2012 when its price was $29.5 million.

The building was acquired in 1929 by Henry B. Clews whose estate  had a parterre box at  the Metropolitan Opera House adjacent to that of Otto Kahn on one side and George F. Baker on the other and several boxes away on the same level from Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt.

The building was converted to apartments in the 1930s and at one time one of them was lived in Ernest Hemingway.

In 1904, the architect also designed a red-brick mansion at 2 East 92nd Street for I. Townsend Burden, who owned an iron foundry, and it eventually was acquired by Marjorie Merriweather Post who permitted it to be demolished for the apartment building at 1107 Fifth Avenue where she took the 54-room triplex penthouse that was subdivided after her death.

Before creating these substantial but relatively modest Manhattan mansions, Mr. Trumbauer became famous for designed the 110-room, Palladian-style Lynnewood Hall in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, in 1900 for Peter A. B. Widener, whose art collection formed the basis with that of Andrew Mellon and Rush Kress of the old masters collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. [CH1]   He followed the Widener mansion with The Elms, the famous Newport, R.I. home of Edward J. Berwind.

Mr. Trumbauer was  not a one-trick pony and would go on to design the gloriously refined mansion on the northeast corner at Fifth Avenue and 78th Street for James B. Duke, the tobacco merchant, in 1910, and four years later an impressive albeit less showy mansion for James Speyer at 1056 Fifth Avenue on the southeast corner at 87th Street.

In the next decade, he would design the 100,000-square-foot Whitmarsh Hall in Springfield, Pennsylvania for Edward T. Stokesbury, a financier.





Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 24 / 44

Out of 36

Location Rating: 28 / 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
  • #47 Rated condo - Upper East Side
  • #12 Rated condo - Park/Fifth Ave. to 79th St.
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Key Details
One United Nations Park
between East 39th Street & East 40th Street
Murray Hill
One United Nations Park is an unprecedented interplay of privacy and light—a balance that reflects the architecture’s bold exterior and luminous interiors.
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One United Nations Park - Exterior View - Building One United Nations Park - Exterior/Interior View - Terrace and Living Room One United Nations Park - Interior - Corner View - Living Room One United Nations Park - Interior - Living Room - View of ESB One United Nations Park - Interior View - Colorful Living Room