Tag Archives: condominium

279 Central Park West

279 Central Park West, completed in 1988, is among the youngest buildings on the avenue, yet it is part of New York’s Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District. I suspect that it’s included because it was easier for the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission to leave the building in the district than to specifically exclude it.

The architect, Constantine Kondylis, is often associated with Donald Trump projects (including Trump International Hotel and Tower at the foot of Central Park West). But 279 Central Park West is a far cry from the black or gold glass boxes that The Donald is fond of.

As a modern building, it lacks the ornate facades typical of the district, but 279 is still pleasing for its three-story limestone base, inset bay windows, curved corner windows, and eight terraced setbacks. Thanks to luxury amenities and location (or in spite of location, if one doesn’t want to be so far uptown), apartments in this condo have million-dollar price tags. Or you can rent. At this writing, there’s a three-bedroom, 2,855 sq. ft. duplex available for just $22,000 a month.

279 Central Park West Vital Statistics
279 Central Park West Recommended Reading

Google Map


Blue is much too young to be a landmark in the historical sense, but it has certainly made its mark in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The towering (in the local context) cantilevered glass box, with its Mondrian-esque grid of blue and black, stands out like the proverbial sore thumb against the Lower East Side’s historic tenements (the Tenement Museum is three blocks away). Not long after the controversial apartments went up, New York City Council rezoned the East Village and Lower East Side, limiting building heights to preserve “neighborhood scale and character.”

The architect – charged, after all, with the task of creating a profitable building – said the structure was the logical result of maximizing square footage within the separate requirements of two lots. The cantilevered south section (103 Norfolk Street) rises over a commercial zone lot; the north section (105 Norfolk Street) is on a residential zone lot.

You must admit it’s an arresting design from any angle, even on a cloudy day.

Blue Vital Statistics
Blue Recommended Reading

Google Map

Langham Place

Langham Place (formerly Setai Fifth Avenue) is a towering grid of limestone, concrete and glass with emphatic vertical lines that mimic the nearby Empire State Building.

The 57-story building is a mix of retail (floors 1-3), 214-room hotel (4-26), and 164 condominium apartments (28-56). The 10-story limestone base has a rounded corner; a 46-story sheer concrete tower sits atop that. Unusual floor-to-ceiling windows – two panes angled with the bottom pane facing down, top pane facing up – are paired in columns all around. On the residential floors, corner apartments have wrap-around windows. The windows give Langham Place’s facade a unique faceted texture – quite striking from nearby.

The two-story flared stainless steel crown hides water tanks and other mechanical details, and elevator machinery. The crown is illuminated at night.

Among other notable projects in New York City, Gwathmey Siegel & Associates designed the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, W New York Downtown, and Astor Place Tower.

Langham Place Vital Statistics
Langham Place Recommended Reading

Google Map

One Jackson Square

One Jackson Square is pretty slick – on two levels. As architecture, the building’s 11 floors of undulating ribbon windows, composed of random-width panes, are an arresting composition. As blatant modernism blessed by the NY Landmarks Preservation Commission, the building is a coup; its architects argued essentially that the building’s very quirkiness is a perfect match for a neighborhood synonymous with idiosyncrasy. Besides, the glass facades reflect the historic surroundings.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission had to approve the plans because the site is within the boundaries of the Greenwich Village Historic District. The One Jackson Square site had been a parking lot at the time that the district was designated.

The condo project faced a few design and engineering challenges: The site is an odd shape, so the curved facade masks the unusual angle formed by Greenwich Avenue with Eighth Avenue. The site also spans two building code zones, so the Eighth Avenue section rises to 11 floors, while the Greenwich Avenue section is limited to seven. One Jackson Square is also on top of subway tunnels, so piles had to be driven around the tunnels to bedrock; additionally, isolation springs and pads protect the tunnels while protecting the apartments from vibrations of passing trains. Last but not least, the free-form ribbon windows had to be assembled in small sections off-site, then connected to each other and to the concrete floor slabs.

I’m not quite sure if I should apologize or take a bow: The “Suggested Reading” section is exceptionally long, because of the variety of technical, artistic and social issues involved. The “Forgotten New York” virtual tour is for the benefit of those not familiar with the Greenwich Village context. – K.G.

One Jackson Square Vital Statistics
One Jackson Square Recommended Reading

Google Map

Beekman Regent

Beekman Regent is the private development of a New York City-owned property, P.S. 135 (originally Primary School No. 35) in the Turtle Bay section of Manhattan.

The original buff-colored five-story Romanesque building of 1893 was used as a school until the 1970s, when the Board of Education decided to sell it. The prospective developer intended to demolish the building, but neighborhood groups fought to save the school.

Preservationists succeeded in getting the building listed in the National Register of Historic Places – but not NYC Landmark status. Nonetheless, the city relented and required preservation of the school facade as a condition of the school’s sale. A decade later, the city found a developer that would observe those terms.

Within the first five floors – the original building height – are retail space (currently a Duane Reade drugstore) and four floors of loft apartments with 14-foot ceilings and 10-foot windows. Above that are duplex, standard and penthouse condominium apartments – homes, in developer-speak.

The apartment tower and historic base are different colors and architectural styles. The effect isn’t as drastic as the glass and steel tower that erupts from the Hearst Building (Eighth Avenue at W 57th Street), but it is odd, like the NYU dorm built behind a fragment of St. Ann’s Shrine Armenian Catholic Cathedral on E 12th Street.

Beekman Regent Vital Statistics
Beekman Regent Recommended Reading

Google Map


Le Mondrian – now Anglicized to The Mondrian – wears a colorful grid that lives up to its name despite the rounded corner. The tower is certainly among New York’s most colorful pieces of architecture.

The name came years after the glass-enclosed condo was finished, however. The 1992 structure was originally Le Palais – an unluckily timed condo that sat vacant for two years. New owners held a naming contest, and Le Mondrian was the winner. “Music Box” might be an equally appropriate name, for the way that balconies intersect the tower’s curved northeast corner.

But by any other name, this eye candy would look as sweet in a neighborhood known for its polished geometric icons: Lipstick Building, CitiGroup Center, and 599 Lexington Avenue are just down the block.

Mondrian Vital Statistics
Mondrian Recommended Reading

Google Map