10 Gracie Square

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10 Gracie Square, New York City, NY

10 Gracie Square
10GracieSquareNYC.jpg

10 Gracie Square in Yorkville, Manhattan
Building Information
Developer John Drummond Kennedy
Architect Van Wart & Wein and Pleasants Pennington & Albert W. Lewis
Number of Units 42
Number of Floors 15
Year Built 1930
Construction Method Steel
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10 Gracie Square, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit 20 nearby routes
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R10A
Title of Land Cooperative


Contents

Background

Writer Tom Wolfe

Located at the southeast corner of the famed Carl Schurz Park, 10 Gracie Square is the largest of three buildings that comprise Gracie Square. It is also known as one of the most prestigious addresses in all of New York City, and the list of past and current notable residents is long and varied, from Wall Street gurus, to socialites, to the former First Lady of China. Indeed, 10 Gracie Square is famous for having made it onto Tom Wolfe’s list of 42 Good Buildings in New York City.

Writing for Esquire in 1985, Wolfe described New York’s real estate as essentially divided between 'Good buildings' and 'Bad buildings', and laid out his list of a mere 42 buildings that he deemed to be 'Good'. Included on this list were such esteemed buildings as River House, 740 Park Avenue, and 1 Beekman Place, but it was notable for leaving off famed residences such as the Dakota, the Ansonia, and the San Remo. Whatever his criteria, this list provoked much discussion and debate, and given that it was written in 1985, one wonders what recent buildings Wolfe would deem worthy of the title of a Good Building should he re-create his list today.

Regardless, 10 Gracie Square already has its place on the list, and given its reputation and prestige, it is hard to argue with its inclusion. A 15 story prewar cooperative building, 10 Gracie Square is located directly on the East River, and if it wasn't for the presence of FDR Drive, residents of this building could lay claim to having waterfront property. In any case, the apartments within 10 Gracie Square offer stunning views of both the East River and Carl Schurz Park, not to mention the grand and spacious layouts of the units contained within.


Location

US President Barack Obama once lived in Yorkville while attending university

Found at the edge of the East River between East 83rd and East 84th Streets, 10 Gracie Square is located in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, specifically in the neighborhood of Yorkville. For most of its history, Yorkville was home to a primarily working class population of immigrants of Hungarian, Polish, Irish, and in particular, German descent. The German population came about partly due to the migration north after the General Slocum disaster in 1904, after which many German immigrants moved from the Lower East Side to Yorkville.

The neighborhood’s German heritage is celebrated with the annual Steuben Parade, part of a national German American celebration. Related to a darker part of German history, in the 1930s, Yorkville was home to the most notorious pro-Nazi organization in America at that time, the Fritz Kuhn’s German American Bund.

Today, Yorkville is an affluent residential neighborhood that has a reputation for being family friendly, and within its borders one will find Gracie Mansion, the home of the major of New York City.

This house is found within the famed Carl Schurz Park, a public area along the East River that offers locals almost 15 acres of recreational space. Yorkville has also been home to many prominent residents over the years, including Lou Gehrig, the Marx Brothers, James Cagney, Robert F. Wagner, and Macaulay Culkin. US President Barack Obama once lived in Yorkville while attending Columbia University.[1]

10 Gracie Mansion is close to a plethora of retail and food options, and therefore residents do not require a car to complete their daily errands. Additionally, this building is close to around 20 transit routes, thus ensuring access to greater New York, although it should be noted that 10 Gracie Square is not particularly close to any of New York City’s main subway lines.[2]

Construction

The 1920s saw a boom of development along the East River in the Upper East Side, mostly of elite luxury apartment buildings and houses. In 1929, a development group led by John Drummond Kennedy hired the architectural firms of Van Wart & Wein and Pleasants Pennington & Albert W. Lewis to create the design for the exterior of the building.

Inside, many of the apartments were custom built for the original owners. Construction on the building began in 1929, and was completed in 1930 and no expense was spared, with construction costs coming in at $6.5 million.

At the time of opening, over one third of the apartments had been purchased. However, the Great Depression ultimately took its toll on the building and in 1937 the building entered foreclosure. In the 1940s, construction on FDR Drive separated 10 Gracie Square from its waterfront access, but this did not affect the building’s prestige.

In the early 1990s, a massive restoration project was undertaken under the leadership of architect Darius Toraby, with a price tag of $175,000. During this restoration, it was discovered that the steel supports underneath the stone and brick facades were not primed or rust proofed at the time of the building’s original construction.

Indeed, when the facade materials were removed, the restoration project revealed a rather precarious situation, as many of the steel supports had completely rusted through. [3]

Layout and Features

At the time of 10 Gracie Square’s opening, the building contained 34 duplex apartments, although that number has since grown to 42 cooperative apartments. Nearly every unit within the building is a duplex, with the bedrooms mostly facing out to the East River. Apartments within this building feature spacious layouts, large rooms, balconies, terraces, and wood burning fireplaces, although specific features, appliances, and finishes will vary from unit to unit due to the building’s age.

The roof design of 10 Gracie Square

The exterior of the building offers observers a perplexing image to those passing by, as it gives off the appearance of being three buildings in one.

The northeast corner of the building consists of a limestone covering. This corner is flanked on either side by red brick exteriors, all with asymmetrical fenestration.

The building is notable for its driveway that runs through the center of the building, giving residents the opportunity to drive up to their front door, disembark, and enter their building out of the prying eyes of the public.

Finally, the building is known for its rooftop design that connects the chimney flumes with square columns. It has been remarked upon that the roof of 10 Gracie Square may have provided inspiration for the rooftop design of 15 Central Park West.[4]


Floor Plans

A selection of floor plans is presented.


Amenities

The former mooring site at 10 Gracie Square

10 Gracie Square is a white glove building that is fully staffed with a 24 hour doorman and elevator porters. Additional amenities include:

  • Landscaped garden
  • Basketball court
  • Fitness center
  • Parking garage
  • Laundry facilities
  • Storage facilities[5]


Bylaws

10 Gracie Square Bylaws
Rentals No
Pets Yes
Age No


  • This building is pet friendly.
  • There are no age restrictions in this building.
  • This building does not allow rentals.
  • This building requires a minimum of 30% financing.
  • Residents are allowed to have in suite laundry in their apartments.[6]

Sustainability

Constructed in 1930, 10 Gracie Square was built long before the modern awareness of sustainable living and green initiatives, and therefore it is a product of its time.

Although not designated as a green building, residents can help improve the overall sustainability of the building by making use of New York City’s recycling programs and by installing more energy efficient appliances when updating their apartments.

Today, there are numerous environmentally friendly household products available that residents can use.

With the building’s proximity to various food and shopping options, regular use of a car is not required, further reducing their carbon footprint.

Trivia

Former First Lady of China, Madame Chiang Kai-Shek
  • Residents of this building include Gloria Vanderbilt, Anderson Cooper, Steve Ross, Jean Stein, Beth Rudin deWoody, Alexander Woollcott, Eric Rudin, Andre Kostelanetz, Albert Gordon, Horace Havemeyer III, Richard Ekstract, Margaret Wise Brown, Blanche Oelrichs (known as Michael Strange), Joan Alexander, Arthur Stanton, and John Fairchild.
  • 10 Gracie Square was the childhood home of Bruce Mosler, former President and CEO of Cushman & Wakefield. Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, former First Lady of China, lived in this building until her death in 2003 at the age of 105.
  • When the building was originally built, there was a private club located in the lower floor of the building, below sea level. Included in this club was a mooring station for yachts, but this mooring was later demolished with the construction of the FDR Drive beginning in the 1940s.[7]
  • Gloria Vanderbilt’s son, Carter Cooper, committed suicide by falling to his death from the terrace of an apartment in this building.[8]


References

  1. Wikipedia - Yorkville, Manhattan
  2. Walk Score
  3. NY Times
  4. City Realty
  5. Streeteasy
  6. Street Easy
  7. Manhattan Privy
  8. CNN


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