50 West 96th Street

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50 West 96th Street, New York City, NY

50 West 96th Street

Exterior of 50 West 96th Street
Building Information
Architect George F. Pelham
Number of Units 61
Number of Floors 15
Year Built 1929
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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50 West 96th Street, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R9
Title of Land Cooperative



Street Entrance of 50 West 96th Street

50 West 96th Street is an ornate and colorful Italian Renaissance architectural building on the Upper West Side, bordering Central Park near Columbus Avenue. Built in 1929 as an initial apartment rental building, this structure was converted to its current cooperative structure in 1980.

The building offers 61 units over its 15 floors, most of which are mid-sized layouts with historical details. The historic structure offers a common roof deck for entertaining, lounging, and enjoying the panoramic views, as well as a full-time doorman, live-in super, bike room, basement storage, and a common laundry facility.

Said to be one of the more attractive buildings on one of the most interesting blocks in the Upper West Side, 50 West 96th Street offers a sought-after historic yet modern residence that is anchored by the imposing and impressive First Church of Christ Scientist architectural building at Central Park West. The block offers much "light and air" due to its many low-rise structures and its existence as a major cross street.[1]


Situated on the busy, two-way tree-lined street of West 96th, which acts as a major cross-street, 50 West 96th Street is neighbored by many other historic low to mid-rise buildings. Central Park, and particularly the reservoir, is situated less than one block from the building, and other outdoor attractions that are within walking distance include Happy Warrior Playground, Sol Bloom Playground, Frederick Douglass Playground, Saint Gregory's Park, and West 104th Street Garden.

Nearby schools include The Mandell School, Columbia Grammar-prep School, Alfred E Smith School, Academy and Athletic Excellence, Manhattan School for Children, and Lilian Weber School. Columbia University is located north in Morningside Heights, and is easily accessible by subway. New York Public Library is also situated within walking distance from the building.

The nearest subway station is situated less than one block away at Central Park West, and there is a total of 21 different public transit routes within walking distance.[2]


Front View of 50 West 96th Street
Facade of 50 West 96th Street

Designed by architect George F. Pelham, 50 West 96th Street is an attractive red brick building with ornate and colorful terracotta detailing that is reminiscent of an Italian Renaissance-palazzo-style building. Built in 1926, this building has been maintained to encourage its preservation, and has switched uses from an apartment rental building to a cooperative during its 1980s conversation.

There are many fanciful, decorative design features around the building's canopied entrance which is situated directly on West 96th Street. These elements are repeated around the building's base as well as at the top of the building. There are decorative arched windows on the second floor above the entrance, as well as many columns of windows that vary in size. Standing 15 stories high, this building offers a flat roof line which lends to its common landscaped rooftop patio.[3]

Layout and Features

There are 61 spacious layouts offered at 50 West 96th Street, many of which are two and three bedroom floor plans with additional study or staff spaces. These layouts feature charming and historical details in their original parquet hardwood floors, windowed kitchens, high beamed ceilings, and large entrance galleries or foyers. Some of the units have been combined to create larger, unique layouts.

Some of the kitchens have been updated to modern standards with stone or granite counter tops, new kitchen cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, modern light fixtures, new flooring, under-cabinet lighting, and designer back splashes. Some of the kitchen layouts are galley-style while others have an L-shape and are large enough for a breakfast bar or island. Formal dining rooms are separate from the living space, which commonly offers a wood-burning fireplace with antique mantels.

The homes in this building all offer ample amounts of in-unit storage and many have made use of built-in shelves. There is also additional storage offered in the basement. Wide windows are found throughout the spaces, drenching each room in natural light while exposing the surrounding city and park views. Residents can also enjoy sunrise and sunset atop the common roof deck with panoramic views.[4]

Floor Plans

There are 13 floor plans available for 50 West 96th Street. Here is a brief overview.


Amenities offered at 50 West 96th Street include:

  • Full Time Doorman
  • Common Roof Deck
  • Elevator
  • Common Laundry Room
  • Live-in Super
  • Bike Room


50 West 96th Street Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes

  • Pets are welcome
  • Rentals and pied-à-terre allowed
  • There are no age restrictions


50 West 96th Street is built with sustainable concrete, brick, and terracotta materials which are long lasting and require little maintenance. The building does not offer any high-energy amenities, and is within walking distance to many daily necessities which encourages an eco-friendly car-free lifestyle in its residents.

The interiors throughout 50 West 96th Street still feature many of their original finishes, including their parquet-style hardwood flooring, some of which have been refinished.

Some energy-efficient upgrades that have been done include:

  • Energy-star appliances
  • Low-energy lighting
  • Sustainable stone and wood materials
  • Double-pane, soundproof windows


Design of Chalfonte Hotel

George F. Pelham, the designer of 50 West 96th Street, was an American architect and the son of George Brown Pelham, who was also an architect.

Born in Ottawa, Canada, Pelham moved to New York City in 1875 when his father opened an architectural office in the city. Pelham's eldest brother began designing for the city's Department of Public Parks. After George F. Pelham was privately tutored in the study of architecture, he opened his own office which specialized in designing apartment houses, hotels, and row houses, as well as some commercial buildings. George F. Pelham quickly became known for his Renaissance Revival, Gothic Revival, and Colonial Revival design styles.

Pelham is known for his contribution to the designs of the Chalfonte Hotel, which is located at 200 West 70th Street and built in 1927. This building was later converted to rental apartments and is still in existence today. In 1905, Pelham designed a synagogue, Brooklyn's Beth Jacob Anshe Sholom. After his 43 year career, George F. Pelham designed his final building: Central Hanover Bank and Trust Company Building.[5]


  1. City Realty
  2. Walk Score
  3. Skyscraper Page
  4. Blocksy
  5. Wikipedia

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