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The Yosemite, 550 Park Avenue: Review and Ratings

between Madison Avenue & Park Avenue View Full Building Profile

Carter Horsley
Review of 550 Park Avenue by Carter Horsley

This large, impressive apartment building at 550 Park Avenue on the southwest corner at 62nd Street was designed by J. E. R. Carpenter, the city s foremost architect of luxury residential buildings of his generation.

The building, which has a side-street entrance, was erected in 1917 and converted to a cooperative in 1952.

The 17-story building has only 32 apartments.

Bottom Line

A distinguished building with a very distinguished roster of celebrated residents across the avenue from the Colony Club.

Description

The light, buff brown brick building has a two-story rusticated limestone base.

It has a canopied, side-street entrance with sidewalk landscaping and the third-floor windows feature iron balconies that are flanked by foliated paneled pilasters with decorative urns atop the cornice.

“Projecting cornices above the fifth and fifteenth story levels accentuate the structure while decorative panels, rinceau styling, iron balconies and diaperwork brick panels add to the character of the building. The roofline is flat with modillions beneath a pronounced cornice,” according to dwellingsnyc.com.

Amenities

The building has a concierge, a full-time doorman, a part-time elevator operator, and storage but no garage and no roof deck.

Apartments

Apartment 5W is a two-bedroom unit that has an 18-foot-long entrance gallery with a wet-bar that leads to a 20-foot-long library and a 28-foot-long living room with a fireplace that connects to an enclosed 19-foot-long dining room next to a 29-foot-long enclosed kitchen with a breakfast area.  The apartment also has a staff room/gym and a staff room/dressing room.

Apartment 16AE is a two-bedroom unit with a 21-foot-long landing that leads to a long foyer that opens onto a 14-foot-long gallery that leads to a 17-foot-long living room and a 9-foot-long dining area next to a 7-foot-long kitchen.

Apartment 16W is a three-bedroom unit with a 22-foot-long entry foyer that opens onto a 28-foot-long living room with a fireplace and a 23-foot-long dining room with a fireplace next to a 9-foot-long breakfast area and a 9-foot-square kitchen and an 8-foot-long pantry.

History

This site was once occupied by Holbrook Hall, an apartment building that was destroyed in a fire and replaced by the 7-story Yosemite cooperative apartment building, which was designed by McKim, Mead & White, in 1891, for the New York Life Insurance Company.

"A syndicate headed by John H. Carpenter bought the property from the insurance company for $600,000 in the spring of 1916 and engaged J. E.R. Carpenter to design a seventeen-story apartment building," according to James Trager's book, "Park Avenue, Street of Dreams," (Atheneum, 1990).

Mr. Carpenter and his wife were among the building’s original residents.

One of its early residents was August Belmont, the organizer and financier of the city’s first subway company, the Interborough Rapid Transit Company.  He was also a banker and a very well known breeder of thorough bred horses.

Another resident was Kathryn Bache Miller, the widow of Gilbert Miller, the theatrical producer, and the daughter of Jules S. Bache, the investment banker and major art patron of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Another resident was Diana Vreeland, the long-time editor of Vogue and a leading fashion arbiter in the city.  An article by Eleanor Dwight in the December 15, 2002 edition of The New York Times observed that “a curious stranger encountering this strange-looking woman in the 1960s might have guessed that she was a White Russian of noble birth, or the daughter of a Cherokee chieftain or Bengali rajah, or as those in New York’s garment district suspected – a Sephardic Jew.”

Another resident was James Robinson, the former chief executive officer of American Express.

Carpenter's other Park Avenue buildings include 580, 625, 630, 635, 640, 655, 812, 950, 960 and 1050. His Fifth Avenue buildings include 810, 825, 907, 920, 950, 988, 1030, 1035, 1060, 1115, 1120, 1143, 1150, 1165 and 1170 as well as 2 East 66th Street.

The building, which has a two-story limestone base, is convenient to midtown and the fashionable boutiques and restaurants of Madison Avenue and not far from two subway lines. It has consistent fenestration but the tops of most of the windows have a bold, flaring terracotta decorative element and the building permits protruding air-conditioners.

Rating

26
Out of 44

Architecture Rating: 26 / 44

+
28
Out of 36

Location Rating: 28 / 36

+
17
Out of 39

Features Rating: 17 / 39

+
10
=
81

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
  • #43 Rated co-op - Park/Fifth Ave. to 79th St.
 
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