55 Central Park West

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55 Central Park West, New York City, NY

55 Central Park West
55CentralParkWestNYC.jpg

55 Central Park West in the Upper West Side of Manhattan
Building Information
Developer Victor Earle and John C. Calhoun
Architect Schwartz & Gross
Number of Units 110
Number of Floors 19
Year Built 1930
Construction Method Concrete
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55 Central Park West, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Over 40 nearby routes
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R10A
Title of Land Cooperative


Contents

Background

Similar to its southern neighbor 15 Central Park West, 55 Central Park West is known by its abbreviated form of 55 CPW. However, some of its more common nicknames include the Ghostbusters building and Spook Central, as 55 CPW holds a permanent place in pop culture history as one of the primary settings for the enormously popular film, Ghostbusters.

Renowned for its Art Deco design and the intricate detailing of the facade, 55 CPW contributes greatly to the Central Park West Historic District, which was listed with the National Register of Historic Places on November 9th, 1982.


Location

Located at the corner of West 66th Street and Central Park West in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, 55 Central Park West can be found at the southern end of the Central Park West Historic District, and is one of the district’s main contributing properties.

In addition to its historical significance, residents of 55 Central Park West find themselves in the heart of the Upper West Side, a residential neighborhood close to many of New York City’s most famous landmarks. The Upper West Side is home to Lincoln Center, the Juilliard School, Columbia University, the Museum of Natural History, Beacon Theater, Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus, Zabar’s, the Apple Bank Building, Columbus Circle, and The Dakota.

In addition, the Upper West Side has been the setting for countless films and television shows, including Sex and the City, How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Ghostbusters, Black Swan, American Psycho, Fatal Attraction, The Mirror Has Two Faces, Night at the Museum, Rosemary’s Baby, and Wall Street. Finally, New York City’s famed Central Park is located directly across the street from 55 Central Park West, giving residents easy access to the many outdoor recreational spaces located within the park. [1]

55 Central Park West has a walk score of 98 out of 100, a transit score of 100 out of 100, and a bike score of 79 out of 100, meaning residents have easy access to numerous shops, restaurants, home services, transit options, and bike lanes. [2]


Construction

Prior to the construction of 55 Central Park West, builders Victor Earle and John C. Calhoun had made a name for themselves as one of the primary developers of the Upper West Side in the early 20th Century. In the late 1920s, Earle and Calhoun contracted the architectural firm of [Schwartz & Gross] to design a residential building in the Art Deco style of architecture, with construction commencing in 1929, and being completed in 1930.

Upon completion, 55 Central West opened in 1930 as a rental property, and was distinguished as the first fully Art Deco building to open on Central Park West. In particular, the building’s facade color was highly praised, as it moved from a deep purple color at the base of the building, to a light yellow-white color at the top, an effect that makes the building appear to be bathed in sunlight, even when the weather is not cooperating.

Altogether, over 40 different hues of coloring are used over the course of this color transition. This coloring effect is so effective that in 1930, Real Estate Magazine deemed that “on a bright sunny day the effect will not be unlike that of the Jung Frau, that most beloved snow-capped Alpine Peak.” [3]


Layout and Features

Standing at 19 stories, 55 Central Park West is a prewar high rise building located along Central Park West that is known for its distinctive exterior design. Built with numerous setbacks, these elements are highlighted with vertical stone patterns that are one to three stories in height. These setbacks culminate in the highly decorative water tower, centrally placed over the Central Park facing facade.

The brick facade is colored specifically to mimic the effect of the building being bathed in sunlight, an effect that led critics to acknowledge that [Schwartz & Gross] were the first to design an apartment building from base to roof as a unified whole. [4]

At its opening in 1930, 55 Central Park West consisted of units ranging in size from three to nine rooms, and was noted for its interior design of having the entrance galleries open directly into sunken living rooms, a marked departure from the design traditions of the time. In the decades since its opening, the units within Central Park West have undergone many renovations, with some of the units being combined. Originally containing 118 units, the building now has approximately 110.

Selected listed features of these apartments include the formal entrance galleries, sunken living rooms, high beamed ceilings, and herringbone flooring. Due to the building’s age, specific features of the apartments will vary from unit to unit. [5]

Floor Plans

With over 20 floor plans available, a selection is presented.

Amenities

Amenities in this building include a 24 hour doorman, a laundry room, a storage room, a bike room, and a children’s playroom. There is no health club in this building. [6]

Bylaws

55 Central Park West Bylaws
Pets Yes
Age No



This building allows pets and pied-a-terre ownership.[7]

Sustainability

Built in 1930, 55 Central Park West was constructed long before the era of sustainable living, and therefore the building is a product of its time.

Residents wishing to help improve the building’s sustainability can do so by participating in New York City’s recycling programs, and by installing energy efficient materials and appliances in their apartments when updating or renovating.

Trivia

  • Architects Schwartz & Gross also designed the buildings located at 101, 241, and 336 Central Park West. [8]
  • Known in pop culture as the setting of the film Ghostbusters, 55 Central Park West is nicknamed the Ghostbusters building. Special effects were used to make the building appear taller in the film. [9]
  • The penthouse apartment occupying the top floors of the building has a long and storied history, and it has been described as one of the most coveted apartments in Manhattan. Previous owners include Jerry Herman, Keith Barish, Marsha Mason, and David Geffen. Calvin Klein has the distinction of being the apartment’s owner on two separate occasions, and hopeful owners who were rejected include Diane Sawyer and Mike Nichols. Additionally, the apartment was used as the setting for Superman’s apartment in the 1978 film Superman. [10]
  • Famous past residents of the building include Rudy Vallee, Ginger Rogers, Marsha Mason, Jerry Herman, Steve Gottlieb, and Calvin Klein. [11]


References

  1. Wikipedia - Upper West Side
  2. Walk Score
  3. New York Times - Christopher Gray
  4. Cityrealty
  5. Streeteasy
  6. Streeteasy
  7. Brown Harris Stevens
  8. Cityrealty
  9. Emporis
  10. New York Times Real Estate
  11. Wikipedia - 55 Central Park West


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