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Westminister House

35 East 85th Street

Northeast corner at Madison Avenue

35 Esat 85th Street viewed from the southwest

35 East 85th Street

By Carter B. Horsley

In the late 1990s, some real estate owners in New York City decided that to change the facades of their properties, perhaps because they felt that their original designs were no longer fashionable with an increasingly sophisticated, or at least competitive, market. A few office buildings on Park Avenue donned new glass skins and this was the first of several large white-brick apartment buildings on the Upper East Side to switch to a red-brick facade.

The recladding started in early 1998 and was completed in 2000 when the building also added a handsome white stone base and a very attractive modern lobby. The new masonry is more intricate and very attractive.

The building, which extends through to north wing in the middle of the 86th Street block, was built in 1955 when many developers were impressed with the clean lines of the massive white-brick residential building known as Manhattan House that occupies the full block between Third and Second Avenues and 66th and 65th Streets.

This building has 158 apartments and was converted to a cooperative in 1979.

North wing of building is on 86th Street and main wing on 85th Street

North, midblock wing of building on 86th Street, left, being reclad and south, main building on 85th Street corner, right

This property has a wonderful location that is convenient to many museums and the glamour of Madison Avenue. Adjacent to the Carnegie Hill district, which is one of the most desirable in the city because of its many fine schools and churches and family-oriented boutiques, this building has two supermarkets within two blocks and very convenient neighborhood shopping.

Although 85th Street is an entrance to one of the transverse roads in Central Park, most of that traffic turns from Madison Avenue and this pleasant block is relatively quiet. The 86th street wing does not have an entrance on 86th and is only connected to the 85th Street building on the first floor so it appears as a separate building on 86th Street.

The building has several terraces, sidewalk landscaping, a doorman, a concierge and a garage.

Perhaps inspired by this handsome renovation, another, smaller, white-brick building nearby at 7 East 86th Street undertook a similar recladding that was completed in 2002, the same year that a light blue-brick apartment house at 27 East 65th Street also announced it would change its colors.

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