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1220 Park Avenue

Northwest corner at 95th Street

1220 Park Avenue

1220 Park Avenue is at the right, north of the low-rise Hunter School

By Carter B. Horsley

This large and impressive, brown-brick building has a very attractive and highly visible rooftop watertank enclosure and a handsome, three-story limestone base.

The long sidestreet facade, which has several terraces and a setback at its western end, overlooks the Hunter College Campus Schools building that was designed to recall the castle/fortress architecture of the Squadron A Armory building that formerly occupied the site and part of whose facade remains standing on Madison Avenue in front of the school's large playground.

Located in the desirable Carnegie Hill neighborhood, it was erected as a cooperative. The 17-story building was developed in 1929 by Joseph Paterno and has 55 apartments including some duplexes.

1220 Park Avenue entrance

It was designed by Rosario Candela, who is widely considered to have been the country’s greatest designer of luxury apartment buildings and he collaborated with many of the city’s most famous architectural firms. He collaborated with Cross & Cross on the design of 720 Park Avenue and with Arthur Loomis Harmon on the design of 740 Park Avenue, two of the boulevard's most prestigious structures. He also worked with Cross & Cross on the design of 1 Sutton Place South and his other Park Avenue buildings include 765, 770, 778, 1021, 1105, 1172, and 1192. His other famous buildings include 834 and 960 Fifth Avenue and 19 East 72nd Street.

Candela’s buildings, "it is said, were the grandest of the decade that was itself the greatest," wrote Elizabeth Hawes in her book, "New York, New York, How The Apartment House Transformed The Life Of The City (1869-1930)", published by Henry Holt in 1993.

"He had a respect for privacy and an eye for significant detail. He was a complete thinker. He added duplicate water connections to street mains and multiple switches for ceiling lights as well as beautifully turned staircases and separate wine cellars. More significantly, he designed buildings from the inside out. He placed windows where they received light, balanced a room, or allowed a graceful arrangement of furniture…. Candela also invested unusual energy in the entry hall. In a typical apartment, he made it a full-sized room with rich views into the interior because he thought it was important to greet a visitor with a full sense of a home…. Candela liked puzzles. During the Depression, he took up cryptography, and during World War II, he broke the Japanese code," Hawes wrote.

Born in Sicily, Candela came to the United States in 1909 and graduated from the Columbia School of Architecture in 1915.

Much of the building's upper masonry on the sidestreet is mismatched and the building has a doorman, protruding air-conditioners, inconsistent fenestration, no garage and no sidewalk landscaping but a handsome lobby. It has a one-step-up, canopied entrance.

There are many fine private schools in this neighborhood as well as many cultural and religious institutions.

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