By Carter B. Horsley
With its unusual angled facades
and high visibility, this tower is one of the landmarks of the
Carnegie Hill neighborhood and its creation is a fine testament
to the earnest efforts of community leaders to preserve the quality
of their neighborhood.
The distinctive massing that
emphasizes large bay windows looking south down Madison Avenue
and its asymmetrical facades make its otherwise somewhat bland
pale beige masonry facade quite palatable and its considerable
height gives its residents spectacular views.
The 32-story building, which
was designed by Edward V. Giannasa for developers Frederick DeMatteis
and Charles Shaw and completed in 1983. It is finely detailed
and has a very handsome retail base.
The building's location, in
fact, has constantly improved with new and charming nearby restaurants
and boutiques. Whereas the Upper East Side north of 86th Street
was long considered rather declassé, this particular area
is now prime, especially for families as many prestigious private
schools are also nearby.
The project, however, had a
difficult birth, but a happy ending.
H. R. Shapiro, a leading residential
developer who first launched this project encountered serious
opposition from residents on the street who hired their own architects,
Terry G. Twitchell and Nancy Al-Tseng Miao, to design an alternative
to his. After considerable controversy, the developer agreed to
a special zoning amendment for the street and the community design
for which he received a "density" bonus for preserving
an apartment house known as the Alamo at 55 East 93rd Street,
and creating a mid-block mews. Philip Birnbaum and Greene and
Partners where the developers' architects. Shapiro, however, subsequently
encountered financial difficulties and was replaced by DeMatteis
and Shaw. The sensible preservation plan helped minimize the impact
of the tower in the neighborhood while preserving an attractive
older property and minimizing the impact of relocation of a affected
The tower is directly south
of the "ruins" of the Squadron A Armory on Madison Avenue
behind which there is a very large playground that is part of
the Hunter College Campus Schools that originally was Internmediate
School 29, designed by Morris Ketchum Jr. & Associates in
a style to complement the fortress-like design of the former armory.
There are 223 condominium units
in this building, whihc has a health club and pool and sundeck.
The design of the plaza that
extends to 93rd Street is very attractive and gives the low-rise
Alamo building much higher visibility.