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33 Riverside Drive

Between West 75th Street & West 76th Street

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

George and Ira Gershwin had adjoining penthouses in this handsome, 17-story building at 33 Riverside Drive on the northwest corner at 75th Street that was erected in 1928 and converted to a cooperative in 1989.

33 Riverside Drive has 143 apartments. The pet-friendly building offers a central laundry room, bike room, and storage (for a fee). The building is conveniently located near Riverside Park, Fairway, Citarella, Zabar's, Lincoln Center, and all transportation.

It was designed by George F. Pelham whose other buildings include 67, 98, 290, 300 and 400 Riverside Drive, 270, 585, 675 and 710 West End Avenue, 47 East 88th Street, 2 East 90th Street, 944 and 1120 Park Avenue, and 1136 Fifth Avenue

Bottom Line

This attractive pre-war building has an excellent Riverside Drive location and its penthouse charmed George and Ira Gershwin, which is a mighty fine endorsement.



The Italian Renaissance-style building has a limestone base, stringcourses, a small cornice and a few decorative balconies.

In addition to its fine views of the Hudson River and being directly across the street from Riverside Park, the building is not too far from the express subway station at 72nd Street and Broadway and the Lincoln Center district a little further south. With pre-war construction, river vistas, and a convenient, central Upper West Side location, this is a desirable building.



The building has a doorman and a live-in superintendent.



Penthouse C is a two-bedroom duplex with a 15-foot-long entry foyer on the upper level that leads to a 26-foot-long living room with a 9-foot-long kitchen and a 14-foot-long master bedroom.  Its western terrace is 59 feet long, its northern terrace is 35-feet-long and its eastern terraces is 35 feet long.  The lower level contains the bedrooms and a 14-foot-long office.

Apartment 4A is a two-bedroom unit with a 12-foot-long entry foyer that leads to a 15-foot-long gallery that opens onto a 24-foot-long living room, a 17-foot-long dining room and an 11-foot-long home office.  The unit has a narrow 21-foot-long eat-in kitchen.

Apartment 4C is a three-bedroom unit that has an 18-foot-long dining room adjacent to an open 15-foot-long kitchen and a 21-foot-long living room.

Apartment 9AB is a three-bedroom unit that has a 8-foot-wide entry foyer that leads to a 13-foot-long dining room next to a 10-foot-long enclosed kitchen.  The foyer also leads to a 16-foot-long, angled gallery that leads to a 32-foot-long living room adjacent to 16-foot-long media room.  The unit also has a home office next to the master bedroom.



The penthouse apartments were scenes of many famous parties and were partly responsible for the new sense of glamor that began to be associated with roof-top apartments in the Jazz Age in the late 1920's.

 In his delightful book, "Upper West Side Story, A History and Guide," (Abbeville Press, 1989, Peter Salwen recounts how Ethel Agnes Zimmerman, a stenographer from Brooklyn, went to one of the Gershwin penthouses for an audition for a part in a play, "Girl Crazy" in 1930: "She didn't know which was more thrilling - a shot at stardom or a glimpse of the fabulous Gershwin penthouse. She got both. When she opened in 'Girl Crazy' as Ethel Merman, her clarion voice carried every syllable of 'I Got Rhythm'.... to every seat in the house."

The site was formerly occupied by a 5-story townhouse in which Sergei Rachmaninoff  lived for four years.  The townhouse belonged to Cass Gilbert, the architect who designed the Woolworth Building at 233 Broadway.


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