By Carter B. Horsley
This 22-story, light-gray brick building has
a very striking terraced top that culminates in a large, glass-enclosed
It was designed in 1941 by Mayer & Whittlesley,
an architectural firm that also the same year designed 240 Central
Park South (see The City Review article),
which features a similar rooftop shape although not glass-enclosed,
the same year and was a co-architect with Skidmore, Owings &
Merrill on Manhattan House at 200 East 66th Street in 1950.
Mayer & Whittesley also were co-architects
with M. Milton Glass of another through-block apartment building
at 220 Central Park South (see The City
Review article) in 1954.
This building occupies the former site of the
Dalhousie, an early apartment house that dated to 1884. The building
is actually in two parts and on the other side of its garden is
an 11-story structure at 41 West 58th Street of the same style
that has a similar marquee and façade address marker.
This building has a stainless steel, upturned
marquee supported by poles attached to frog sculptures on the
façade. It has a large, windowed lobby with a glass wall
waterfall. The building has two large restaurants along its Central
Park South façade, a garage, bright wall lanterns and many
balconies with glass walls. Its east and west ends project slightly
from the facade to modulate its mass somewhat.
The building, which is just to the west of
the Helmsley Park Lane Hotel and not too far from the Plaza Hotel,
also has a concierge, and a one-story polished black granite base.
The building has 139 rental apartments and no sidewalk landscaping
and no health club. It has a concierge and a garage and many balconies.
The building's site runs through to 58th Street
where it has an 11-story building separated by a garden from its
Central Park South Building. The 58th Street building has a similar
In their fine book, "New York 1960, Architecture
and Urbanism Between the Second World War and the Bicentennial,"
(The Monacelli Press, 1995), Robert A. M. Stern, Thomas Mellins
and David Fishman provide the following commentary:
"Forty Central Park South consisted of
small apartments, although many had fireplaces in their living
rooms, and extensive hotelservices were provided. The upper floors,
where zoning prescribed setbacks, consisted of penthouse-type
apartments that piled up to the building's crowning feature, a
glass-eclosed elevator penthouse. Together with the extensively
glazed lobby and the simple vocabulary of gray brick and white-painted
steel sash, the penthouse gave the design a sense of the restained,
nonpolemical Modernism that distinguished not only 240 Central
Park South but also Wallace K. Harrison and J. André Fouilhoux's
style-setting Rockefeller Apartments of 1936."
The glass-enclosed elevator "penthouse"
is obviously a place one would like to visit as it would appear
to be one of the city's great "rooms."