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West River House, 424 West End Avenue

Between West 80th Street & West 81st Street

81
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 CityRealty.com.
 

The attractive, West River House at 424 West End Avenue on the southeast corner at 81st Street was designed by Philip Birnbaum Associates and erected by Donald Zucker in 1983.

The 21-story, gray-brick building has 230 rental apartments.  It originally had 241 apartments.

Bottom Line

Many of the apartments on the top three floors have wood-burning fireplaces and the building is very close to Zabar’s, the famous food store on Broadway as well as the 79th Street Boat Basin in the Hudson River.

Description

The building has an entrance marquee.

Amenities

The building has a fitness center, three racquetball courts on the penthouse level, a landscaped roof sundeck, a 24-hour doorman, a valet, a bicycle room, a laundry room on every floor and a 24-hour attended garage.  Gas and heat is included in the rent.

The building is pet friendly.

Apartments

Many apartments have windowed kitchens, fireplaces, and balconies and apartments on the higher floors have 10-foot ceilings.

The apartments have double thermal pane windows.

Apartment 10C is a four-bedroom unit with a long living room with a breakfast room alcove adjacent to an enclosed kitchen.  The unit also has a large dining room and one of the bedrooms has a balcony.

Apartment C is a two-bedroom unit with a 33-foot-long living room with fireplaces on the 19th, 20th and 21st floors, a 13-foot-long dining alcove and an open 10-foot-long kitchen.

Apartment J is a two-bedroom unit with a 30-foot-long living room fireplaces on the 19th, 20th and 21st floors, a 12-foot-long dining alcove and an open, windowed, 10-foot-long kitchen.

Apartment F is a two-bedroom unit with a 27-foot-long living room with fireplaces on the 19th, 20th and 21st floors, an 11-foot-long dining room adjacent to an enclosed 10-foot-long kitchen.

Apartment H is a one-bedroom unit with a 25-foot-long living room with fireplaces on the 19th, 20th and 21st floors, an 11-foot-long dining alcove leading to a balcony and a 10-foot-long enclosed and windowed kitchen.

Apartment B is a one-bedroom unit with a 19-foot-long living room with a balcony and a pass-through, 7-foot-long kitchen.

History

The building was one of the first on the Upper West Side to be built under the city’s “Housing Quality Program.”

Under the program, the developer was able, according to an article by George W. Goodman in the June 6, 1982 edition of The New York Times, “to bargain for modifications in zoning regulations covering height, setback and space in return for concessions considered beneficial to the community.”

The article quoted Mr. Zucker as stating that he chose the program “because, theoretically, it enables a builder to cover more land with a shorter building and it’s supposed to be less expansive.”

“A builder,” the article continued, “can score up to 25 points in each of four categories – neighborhood impact, recreation, safety and security and building interior – each of which has subcategories.  Under neighborhood impact, for example, Mr. Zucker was scored on the amount of offsite sunlight, building and streetwall height and the number of street trees. Overall, his plan scored 85.19 points out of 100, and he qualified for an additional ‘bonus’ floor-area space….Under Housing Quality, Mr. Zucker’s ‘bonus’ totaled 9,358 square feet.”

The article noted that Mr. Zucker initially wanted to erect a 38-story tower on the site.

In his fine book, "From Abyssinian to Zion: a Guide to Manhattan’s Houses of Worship," which was published in 2004, David W. Dunlap provides the following commentary about the site’s former history:

"All Angels’ Church. In the community of Seneca village, in the middle of what would become Central Park, All Angels’ Episcopal parish was organized in 1846. Its first wooden church, described by the Rev. Thomas McClure Peters as a place ’in which white and black and all intermediate shades worshipped harmoniously together,’ was consecrated in 1849 and stood approximately on the line of West 85th Street....Property condemnation for the new park closed this church in 1856. A new sanctuary was opened two years later at 428 West End Avenue....In 1873, the Rev. Charles F. Hoffman was called as rector. Heir to a large fortune, he offered to pay for the cost of a new church on the same site....Built from 1888 to 190 and designed by Samuel B. Snook and J. B. Snook & Sons, this Gothic building was ingeniously oriented on a diagonal basis, creating a 140-foot-long sanctuary on a 100-by-102-foot plot of ground. But the size of All Angels’ Church, which seated 1,200, was ultimately a liability for a parish that had only 150 members by 1976. Services and operations were moved into the parish house, at 251 West 80th Street....built in 1904 to designs by Henry J. Hardenbergh, architect of the Dakota apartments and Plaza Hotel - and the church was razed in 1979 to make way for the 21-story apartment tower, West River House."

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