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817 Fifth Avenue

Southeast corner at 63rd Street

2018 view

By Carter B. Horsley

This is one of the more attractive and luxurious apartment buildings in New York City. Unlike its few peers at the top of the residential ladder, this one has managed to maintain quite a low profile over the years at least as measured by celebrity-watchers.

Palatial and finely detailed, this 15-story building has only 16 apartments and a great location across from Central Park, close to midtown and on a quiet street.

It was designed in very dignified, Italian Renaissance-palazzo style by Starrett & Van Vleck, who also designed the very similar, but substantially larger apartment building across the street at 820 Fifth Avenue, one of the city’s most prestigious addresses. Both buildings were erected in 1916. Unlike 820 Fifth Avenue, this building has replaced its multi-paned windows with large picture windows, which makes for more dramatic views but at the same time detracts from its fine architecture.

This building was converted to a condominium in 1974. It replaced two townhouses, one of which was designed by R. H. Robertson in 1885 for Charles T. Barney.

This building has a doorman and a sidestreet entrance, but no garage and no balconies.

In a January 6, 2008 article in The New York Post, Janon Fisher wrote that Steve Wynn, the casino operator, had filed a suit in December, 2007, against the building for water damages in his apartment from a pipe break in 2004. According to the article, he "had purchased the 3,900-square-foot apartment in 2001 for $7 million from Mirage resorts, the casino company that he sold for $4.4 billion the year before. Mirage had bought it in 1995 for $1.6 million." The article also noted that Richard Gere, the actor, had sold his 10-room apartment in the building "in 2004 for $8.75 million - a million dollars less than he paid for it," adding that it had then been purchased by Mariella and Edmond Safra, nephew to billionaire banker Edmond Safra, who was murdered in 1999." (1/6/08)

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