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550 Park Avenue

Southwest corner at 62nd Street

View from the southwest

View from the northwest

By Carter B. Horsley

This large, impressive apartment building was designed by J. E. R. Carpenter, the cityís foremost architect of luxury residential buildings of his generation.

The building, which has a sidestreet entrance, was erected in 1917 and converted to a cooperative in 1952. The 17-story building has only 32 apartments.


Carpenterís other Park Avenue buildings include 580, 625, 630, 635, 640, 655, 812, 950, 960 and 1050. His Fifth Avenue buildings include 810, 825, 907, 920, 950, 988, 1030, 1035, 1060, 1115, 1120, 1143, 1150, 1165 and 1170 as well as 2 East 66th Street.

This site was once occupied by Holbrook Hall, an apartment building that was destroyed in a fire and replaced by the Yosemite cooperative apartment building, which was designed by McKim, Mead & White, in 1891, for the New York Life Insurance Company. "A syndicate headed by John H. Carpenter bought the property from the insurance company for $600,000 in the spring of 1916 and engaged J. E.R. Carpenter to design as seventeen-story apartment building," according to James Tragerís book, "Park Avenue, Street of Dreams," (Atheneum, 1990).

The beige-brick building, which has a two-story limestone base, is convenient to midtown and the fashionable boutiques and restaurants of Madison Avenue and not far from two subway lines. It has sidewalk landscaping, consistent fenestration but the tops of most of the windows have a bold, flaring terracotta decorative element and the building permits protruding air-conditioners. The building has no sundeck, no garage and no health club.

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