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870 United Nations Plaza: Review and Ratings

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Carter Horsley
Review of 870 United Nations Plaza by Carter Horsley

This twin-towered, 38-story apartment and office complex commands impressive views of the United Nations to the south, midtown to the west and the East River to the east.

The six-story base of the large development contains about 300,000 square feet of office space and the cooperative apartments share an expansive, corporate-style lobby overlooking an enclosed garden court.

The full-block project has its own block-long driveway that makes for an impressive entrance. It was designed by Harrison, Abramovitz & Harris and erected in 1966.

The towers are huge and a bit ungainly and the apartments are notable mostly for their large and tall windows and views. The tower façades are in the Miesian tradition of crisp rectilinearity and are reminiscent of, but inferior to, the Seagram Building and the former Union Carbide Building, both on Park Avenue.

The towers are slightly lower than the United Nations Secretariat Building, as mandated by zoning, and clearly its glass façades were also in deference to that tower, although they are black rather than blue-green.

Despite its lack of fine architectural detail, this enormous complex has always attracted an impressive roster of affluent tenants, attracted presumably to its great views, the large gardens and park of the United Nations to the south, and the surrounding Beekman Place neighborhood rather than any thought of exclusivity.

The two towers contain a total of 334 apartments, of which 56 are duplexes on the top eight floors.

While its scale and proportions are rather cumbersome, the complex nevertheless makes a handsome, if not distinguished, foil to the U. N. complex, which, after all, is the most important consideration. The project was the first on the East Side to follow the pioneering lead of twin-towered residential projects on Central Park West. It was also influential in helping to bolster the residential attractiveness of the area for subsequent high-rise development nearby and major mixed-use development elsewhere in the city.

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Key Details
Front & York
at York Street corner of Front Street
Manhattan views and Brooklyn character, 1 - 4-bed condos from $995K, 150,000-sf of indoor and outdoor amenities.
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