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898 Park Avenue

Southwest corner at 79th Street

898 Park Avenue

898 Park Avenue

By Carter B. Horsley

This building has an extremely attractive masonry facade of yellow and brown pitted bricks highlighted by brightly colored terracotta decoration. It was erected in 1924 by the Mandel-Ehrich Corporation and converted to a cooperative in 1953.

Henry Mandel, the developer, was one of the city’s most prolific and important builders after World War I and one of his most distinguished projects had been the Pershing Square office building at 110 East 42nd Street, which was noted for its very fine masonry.

898 Park Avenue from the southeast

View from the southeast

This 14-story apartment building, which has very attractive foliated entrance doors, had Tuscan masonry motifs similar to the Pershing Square office building and would five years later influence his far larger project, the London Terrace apartment complex on West 23rd Street as well as the Lombardy and Tuscany apartment hotels, completed in 1928 and 1928, respectively.

898 Park Avenue entrance

898 Park Avenue

The architects for this building were John Sloan and Albert E. Nast. Their design called for light-colored yellow and brown bricks with no setbacks and terracotta ornamentation at the entrance and on the fifth floor, a higher stringcourse and around the penthouse.

Facade details

Facade detail

The entrance is particularly attractive, if not enchanting, with good-size terracotta figures made by the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company of an immigrant worker, a Dutch burgher, a frontiersman and an Indian brave, noted Andrew Alpern in his book, "Luxury Apartment Houses of Manhattan, An Illustrated History," (Dover Publications Inc., 1992). In an aside, Alpern remarked that these figures were "hardly Tuscan." Three arched windows above the entrance are flanked by an arched terracotta decorative element that reads almost as Moorish grill shutters.

entrance terracotta detail

more facade details 

Facade details

The building originally was planned to contain six duplex apartments with elliptical staircases and 36-foot-long living rooms with 11-foot-high ceilings and windows on three sides, one full-floor apartment and a doctor’s suite on the street. Apartments had more than one fireplace and there were servants’ rooms on the ground floor and the roof. Alpern wrote that in 1992 only two of the apartments had survived as duplexes and that the remainder were converted in 1948 by architect Simon Zelnick to simplex apartments. The building now has a total 15 apartments.

The building’s canopied entrance is flanked by bronze lanterns and the tops of the street-level, fourth, 12th and 14th story windows have arched decorative elements. The building is close to "Museum Mile" on Fifth Avenue, the boutiques and art galleries of Madison Avenue, Lenox Hill Hospital and the 77th Street local subway station at Lexington Avenue. It has a doorman, but no sidewalk landscaping, no garage and no sundeck.

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