Tag Archives: 1987

Park Avenue Tower

Located just two blocks north of New York’s landmark Lever House, Park Avenue Tower is intriguing faceted architecture, with so many angled planes it would seem more at home in the Diamond District. It might also be more at home on Park Avenue proper instead of up the block – a point that The New York Times made in its commentary.

Blue tinted glass and gray granite are the predominant colors on upper floors; rose-colored granite and glass spandrels predominate on the seven-story base. The E 55th Street entrance has a small plaza, the E 56th Street entrance is almost flush with the property line. The primary tenant – Paul Hastings – has its own entry on the downtown side.

The 36-story building was designed by Helmut Jahn (Murphy/Jahn) and completed in 1987. The Chicago-based architect designed five other distinctive buildings in New York – three of which were completed in 1987: 425 Lexington Avenue (31 floors, across E 43rd Street from the Chrysler building); CitySpire Center (75 floors); International Plaza (30 floors); The America apartments (37 floors). The fifth (and most recent – 1989) structure is the 12-story Metropolitan Transportation Authority building in downtown Brooklyn.

Park Avenue Tower Vital Statistics
  • Location: 65 E 55th Street between Madison and Park Avenues
  • Year Completed: 1987
  • Architect: Helmut Jahn
  • Floors: 36
  • Style: Postmodern
Park Avenue Tower Suggested Reading

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425 Lexington Avenue

425 Lexington Avenue bears the unmistakable earmarks of Helmut Jahn – strong colors, glass and stone, unusual forms. But it would be architecture better received if built anywhere but amidst New York landmarks Chrysler Building, Grand Central Terminal, Chanin Building, etc.

Architectural critics such as Carter Horsley (The City Review) and Norval/White (“AIA Guide to New York City”) pick on the tower’s “squashed” top. Said Horsley: “…the building’s zany top looks Roto-Rooterized, a squished foil to the irrepressible upward thrust of the Chrysler Building just across 43rd Street.” To which Norval/White adds, “…an ugly dwarf next to the venerable reality of the adjacent Chrysler Building.” (I like it, but what do I know?)

But Horsley concludes, “Hopefully, New York developers will continue to let Jahn do his thing until he gets it right for he’s formidable. He is a fine high-tech stylist.”

Murphy/Jahn has similarly styled buildings uptown: International Plaza and Park Avenue Tower. (His other New York designs include CitySpire and the America apartment tower.)

425 Lexington Avenue Vital Statistics
425 Lexington Avenue Recommended Reading

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30 E 85th Street

30 E 85th Street towers over its Madison Avenue neighbors and sports an illuminated crown, but it’s the high ceilings and real plaster walls that make this condo stand out from contemporary apartment buildings.

According to The New York Times, some potential buyers forced another “prewar” touch – larger apartments. Original plans called for 104 apartments; some units were combined, reducing the total to 90.

30 E 85th Street Vital Statistics
30 E 85th Street Recommended Reading

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