685 West End Avenue

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685 West End Avenue, New York City, NY

685 West End Avenue

685 West End Avenue
Building Information
Architect Sugarman & Berger
Number of Units 96
Number of Floors 15
Year Built 1923
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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685 West End Avenue, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Less than a block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R8
Title of Land Cooperative



Upper West Side 1890s

When 685 West End Avenue was under its original construction, it was one of the most desirable rental buildings at the time. There wasn't much construction going on during the early 1900s, so demand for new residences was extremely high. This building was marketed as having the best possible location, being close to the subway and Riverside Park.

It was also one of the largest buildings around, so residents got to show off their status. Despite the fact that the suites would not be available until October 1923, fifty of the ninety suites had already been rented by the end of April.

Originally, there were four apartments per floor, and the size ranged from three to six rooms and average annual rent was $2,000 to $4,000 per month at the time.[1]


School of American Ballet

The building is situated in the Upper West Side. The area has many different characters with each block. There are grand scale apartments, and many pre-war classic six apartments.

Just blocks from Broadway, there are many performance based amenities in the area include the American Museum of Natural History, the School of American Ballet, the Bloomingdale School of Music, The Julliard School, and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

The Museum of Natural History is a very popular destination for both residents and tourist. The exhibits are always changing, so there is always something new and exciting to learn about and see. In addition, the museum helps to protect our planet by doing research in all different types of fields.

Within walking distance of 685 West End Avenue are conveniences that all for daily errands to be performed without a car. Some of these include European Bakery Cafe restaurant, Starbucks coffee and Benefits Unlimited groceries. [2]


Contrasting facade materials

The build was constructed pre-war and it boldly presents its historical character even though it went through and intensive cooperative conversion in 1983.

The base is composed of granite and the lower levels limestone contrast with the beige brick portion accompanied by with many gargoyles of lions. The trim is terracotta.[3]

Architecturally, gargoyles are meant for nothing more than a way to direct water away from the facade. Legends tell of a story about a monster called Gargouille, a dragon with bat like wings, a long neck, and the ability to breathe fire. St. Romanus captured the dragon, and all of the creature was burned except his and neck because of its ability to breathe fire. The head was mounted on the walls of a new church so that it would scare away evil spirits.[4]

Layout and Features

Many of the suites have undergone renovations and the ones that haven't are poised as a great opportunity. Pre-war features that still represent the building's original character include the classic beamed ceilings, the parquet hardwood floors, and the elegant detailing.

Some of the suites feature fireplaces, built in bookshelves, and large french doors that open out to private terraces.[5]

Some of the master bedrooms have their own private terrace, and are large enough for king-sized furnishings. They may also feature a dressing area and en-suite bathroom.

Many of the kitchens have been renovated and now contain stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops.

Bathrooms may feature glass enclosed limestone showers and bath tubs, separate powder rooms, and closet space.

The entrance lobby is finished in marble and features elegant stained glass windows and high vaulted ceilings.

Floor Plans


Amenities include:

  • doorman
  • basement storage
  • laundry facilities in building
  • live in superintendent
  • bike rooms downstairs
  • planted roof deck [6]


685 West End Avenue Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes

  • Rentals permitted [7]
  • Protruding air-conditioners are allowed [8]
  • Pets are allowed [9]


685 West End Avenue was built long before LEED certification guidelines existed or other encouraging environmental initiatives.

But there are ways for residents to make their lives a little "greener". Simple things to do might include:

  • replace plastic or paper grocery bags with reusable bags
  • recycle and use a composter
  • hang dry laundry
  • be a vegetarian one day a week
  • use rechargeable batteries


  • Artist Barnett Newman lived in the building.
  • Movies with scenes shot in the Upper West Side include Black Swan, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Ghostbusters, Home Alone 2, I Am Legend, Night at the Museum, and Spider-Man.
  • The word gargoyle originates from the Latin word gurgula, which means to gargle.
  • Lions were the most popular animal used for gargoyles because they are a symbol of pride.[10]
  • Often gargoyles would be half human, half animal.


  1. Street Easy
  2. Walk Score
  3. Proposal for Historic District
  4. Wikipedia - Gargoyle
  5. Trulis
  6. Real Estate NY Times
  7. Street Easy
  8. City Realty
  9. Corcoran
  10. Yahoo Answers

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