Tag Archives: French Gothic

Sherry Netherland

The Sherry Netherland must be bored by now with all of the superlatives lavished upon it. But if actions speak louder than words, consider this: a Sherry Netherland 18th floor apartment recently went on the market (September 2012) for $95 million. (To tell the whole truth, that’s the entire 18th floor – 7,000 square feet plus 2,000 square feet of terrace – seven bedrooms/seven baths – but still: $95 million!)

The Sherry Netherland is not, oddly enough, a New York City landmark unto itself (although the clock in front of the hotel is – go figure); it is part of the Upper East Side Historic District, along with the Hotel Pierre, Metropolitan Club, and other classics. The 40-story building was the tallest apartment-hotel in New York when built, in 1927.

The structure’s design was a collaboration of New York-based architects Shultze & Weaver and Buchman & Kahn. Shultze & Weaver specialized in luxury hotels such as the Pierre and Waldorf-Astoria. The French Gothic/French Renaissance tower is among New York’s most distinctive spires, hiding a water tank above the gargoyles. There is an observation platform at the very top – though you’d have to be brave and a climber to reach it!

While the Sherry Netherland’s public personna is a hotel, it has only 54 rooms and suites; 165 co-op apartments make up the bulk of the building.

Sherry Netherland Vital Statistics
  • Location: 751 Fifth Avenue at E 59th Street
  • Year completed: 1927
  • Architect: Shultze & Weaver and Buchman & Kahn
  • Floors: 48
  • Style: French Gothic/French Renaissance
Sherry Netherland Suggested Reading

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Ukrainian Institute (Harry F. Sinclair House)

The Ukrainian Institute (aka Harry F. Sinclair House, originally Isaac D. and Mary Fletcher House) is among the last of the Fifth Avenue mansions. It was designed by prominent architect C.P.H. Gilbert and has had a succession of famous owners. The carved stone ornaments are a menagerie of dragons, reptiles, and urchins – that have absolutely nothing to do with Ukrainian culture.

The house is open to the public, so you can tour the inside – just check the Ukrainian Institute’s website for details. Or, enjoy a virtual tour courtesy of Scouting New York.

Charles Pierrepont Henry Gilbert (no relation to Cass Gilbert) is well known for his opulent townhouses and mansions. Several other C.P.H. Gilbert mansions are nearby. See the architect’s Wikipedia reference for more details.

Ukrainian Institute Vital Statistics
Ukrainian Institute Recommended Reading

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New York Cancer Hospital

The New York Cancer Hospital (aka Towers Nursing Home, aka 455 Central Park West) is one of the most striking buildings on Central Park West – if not in the entire city. What’s even more remarkable is that the Loire Valley chateau-style towers were medically prescribed – not simply decorative! Medical theory of the day was that round or octagonal wards promoted health by preventing air stagnation and the accumulation of dirt.

The hospital was privately financed, by donations from John Jacob Astor and others. The first, Astor-financed pavilion, was dedicated to treating women; later additions included a wing for men, a chapel, and an X-ray building. Public awareness of cancer was spurred by the death of President Ulysses S. Grant, from throat cancer. Until the 1880s, cancer was thought to be contagious, and limited to those living in poverty and filth.

In 1899 the hospital was renamed General Memorial Hospital for the Treatment of Cancer and Allied Diseases. In 1939 the hospital moved to the Upper East Side as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. From 1955 to 1974 the hospital served as the Towers Nursing Home, operated by Bernard Bergman until it closed in scandal.

The abandoned buildings then became a crumbling haven for drug addicts until developer MCL Companies bought the property and successfully redeveloped the hospital/nursing home into luxury condominiums, with the addition of a 27-story tower. Apartments in the original (but gutted and rebuilt) buildings sold for up to $8 million!

A big thank you to Tsehaye Tesfai, who noticed my interest in this building and invited me up into his apartment so that I could shoot the hospital from above!

New York Cancer Hospital Vital Statistics
New York Cancer Hospital Recommended Reading

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