Tag Archives: classical

San Remo

San Remo is one of the high points – literally and figuratively – of the Central Park West skyline, and of the career of architect Emery Roth. The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) gushed that the building “…epitomizes Roth’s ability to combine the traditional with the modern, an urbane amalgam of luxury and convenience, decorum and drama.”

Following closely after his triple-towered Beresford (1928), San Remo became the first twin-towered apartment building on the avenue. But where the 22-story Beresford’s stubby “towers” were mainly to hide water tanks, 27-story San Remo’s towers had 14 floors of deluxe apartments. This was possible because a new (1929) building code raised the height limit for residential buildings.

Roth also designed the Oliver Cromwell (1928) on W 72nd Street, was a consultant on the twin-towered El Dorado (1931), and designed the Normandy Apartments (1938) on Riverside Drive.

The San Remo was praised by architectural critics for its height, for the classical Greek-styled “temples” atop the towers, and for the “foyer plan” that minimized hallways.

“Despite its popular success,” said the LPC, the property “…fell prey to the pervasive economic mayhem of the 1930s. A full year after it had officially opened, nearly a third of its apartments remained vacant, and the Bank of the United States which held its $5 million mortgage had collapsed, its officers charged with recklessly ‘gambling’ on the San Remo.”

The building bounced from one owner to another via bankruptcy until 1940, when San Remo and Beresford were sold in a package for $25,000 over the mortgage. Now, individual apartments cost tens of millions of dollars.

San Remo Vital Statistics
San Remo Recommended Reading

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84 William Street

84 William Street was originally the headquarters of Royal Insurance Company (before it moved to 150 William Street). Now, it’s a residence hall shared by The New School and Pace University.

The base of the building – three stories now clad in polished black stone – were originally rusticated white marble; the clock over the rounded corner entrance was originally surrounded by ornate terra cotta.

In the photo gallery above, the black & white photos are from bound copies of Architecture (May 1907) in the Princeton University Library, digitized by Google Books. You can get a pdf version here (pdf link at far right on Google Books page). The century-old issues of Architecture are fascinating. The bookplate in this volume says it was donated by Mrs. Michel LeBrun – whose husband was part of the eminent architectural firm Napoleon LeBrun & Sons.

84 William Street Vital Statistics
  • Location: 84 William Street at Maiden Lane
  • Year completed: 1907
  • Architect: Howells & Stokes
  • Floors: 17
  • Style: Classical with English Baroque
84 William Street Suggested Reading

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