Barbizon 63

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140 East 63rd Street, New York City, NY

Barbizon 63
Barbizon63-NYC-Exterior.jpg

Critic Matlack Price wrote that “seen from any point of view, it piles up well.”
Building Information
Developer Murgatroyd & Ogden
Architect Murgatroyd & Ogden
Number of Units 65
Number of Floors 24
Year Built 1927
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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140 East 63rd Street, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C1-8X
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

Barbizon 63 began its existence as the Barbizon Hotel for Women when it opened in 1927. Strict rules of dress and conduct were enforced for the professional self-supporting women who lived there. As a residential hotel for women, no men were allowed above the lobby level. It became a more of a standard hotel in 1981 when it started admitting men.

In 2002, the name was changed to The Melrose Hotel following a $40 million renovation. In 2005, the hotel closed and the building was gutted for its conversion to condominiums and became Barbizon 63 (sometimes written as Barbizon/63).[1]

The conversion to condominiums was carried out meticulously, taking care that the iconic limestone and brick façade was protected and restored to its original grandeur. Modern cutting edge conveniences, state of the art kitchens and marble accented bathrooms have been installed and are a testament to modern interior design. Crown moldings around the French casement windows are vintage pre-war, but energy-efficient windows within the frames modern.

In its day as a residential hotel for women, it consisted of nearly 700 rooms. After the conversion to upscale luxury condominiums, only 70 apartments now exist. Only a handful of women remain in rent-stabilized apartments in the building.

On April 18, 2012, the Barbizon became an official New York City landmark — number 127, according to New York City records of the Landmarks Preservation Commission.[2]


Location

Barbizon 63 is ideally situated on the corner of Lexington Avenue and East 63rd Street in the Lenox Hill area of Manhattan. Walk Score categorizes the location as "walker's paradise" due to its proximity to services, amenities, restaurants, and shopping. Food of varying ethnic origins are just steps away from Barbizon 63. Central Park is a short three block stroll which takes the walker across Park Avenue, Madison Avenue, and Fifth Avenue.[3]

Museums line Fifth Avenue and the immediate surrounding area, whereas Park Avenue and Madison Avenue have been hailed as shopping meccas and have world wide fame. Access to public transit is just steps away and many schools are under a third of a mile away, including numerous schools for tots.

Construction

Barbizon 63 was built adopting several architectural styles and has been described as an "eclectic mixture of Italian Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance ornament." During the renovation, air-rights were purchased from surrounding lower buildings to secure unfettered views of the cityscape.

The conversion to condominiums altered the approximately 700 rooms of the original women's hotel to its current 70 residences. The apartments range in size from one bedroom units to duplex (two story) penthouse units boasting more than 5300 square feet of living space. A few of the apartments have terraces and there are no balconies.

During the conversion activities, the entire building was enveloped in scaffolding in order to access every part of the structure. The salmon-colored brick was refreshed and care and attention was given to the limestone work and other finishes.

The renovation construction faced a variety of challenges. There were no riser diagrams from the original building that mapped the utility feeds, so teams had to 'trace' all existing utility lines and services throughout the building and then identify what needed to be removed. The developer then demolished half of the vertical core after relocating the elevators to a side mounted system, which was needed to accommodate the existing tenants. The core was rebuilt to include new elevators and then a scissor-style stairway system was also built. This innovation reclaimed about $23 million dollars worth of resellable square footage.[4]

Layout and Features

Spacious new apartments were created as a result of the conversion to condominiums. Oversized windows in French casements allowed lots of light into the structure. European-style baths and modern, classic kitchens combined with a pre-wired infrastructure for broadband internet and wireless service were installed to meet today's high-tech requirements.

Environmental controls, audio/visual programming options, and light and shade control are available to residents according to their individual tastes.[5]

Barbizon 63 was first completed in 1927 before the automobile had made a significant impact on our architectural design ideas. Therefore, no parking garage exists.

Floor Plans

About 40 floor plans exist for Barbizon 63. Here are some fine examples:

Amenities

The concierge, the full time doorman, maid and laundry service all help to make this a desirable place to live. There is a club salon, a library, and a dining room with catering kitchen for those evenings of entertaining.

High ceilings, stackable washer and dryers, self-controlled A/C and heat coupled with the pre-war finishes and marble trims all treat residents to a high level of luxury.

The building also includes a large indoor pool which is part of the Equinox Fitness Club.

Bylaws

Barbizon 63 Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No



Barbizon 63 allows pets and also sub-letting of the units. Peid-a-terre are welcome and no restrictions on any age group exists.

Sustainability

Barbizon 63 is not considered a 'green' building. However, as a result of the conversion to condominiums, many 'greener' options were installed into the structure. The windows were all replaced with state of the art multi-glazed units that can control the amount of light or shade required within.

Energy efficient appliances were installed and the whole building is wired to individually control personal environments.

The neighborhood itself is conducive to a greener more sustainable lifestyle by its proximity to nearby services, transit and amenities. For day to day needs, a car should not be necessary.

Trivia

The Barbizon Hotel for Women, as this building was originally known, came into existence to fulfill a demand for women who came to New York to pursue professional opportunities but needed a safe place to live, something 'that felt like home.'[6] Some of the 'aspiring models and actresses' who called Barbizon home were Grace Kelly, Liza Minelli, Ali McGraw, and Candace Bergen.

The hotel was celebrated as much for its ornate and intricate brick work as it was for the celebrated artists who lived there. It was considered classier than the YWCA, but not as exclusive as a private club. The rooms were small with only enough space for a desk , a bed, and a dresser with one window in each room. Bathrooms were shared.

By the mid 1970s, the hotel had lost some of its allure and men were being admitted, changing Barbizon into a more conventional hotel. In 2002, the partnership of Philip Pilevsky and Arthur B. Cohen renovated the building for about $40 million and created the short lived Melrose Hotel. The 700 rooms were converted to about 306 hotel rooms. It closed its doors in 2005 when Berwind Property decided to convert the Melrose Hotel into condominiums. There is little left of the old Barbizon — except for the dozen or so, women, all long-term tenants in their 50's to their 90's, who still live there.[7]

Joan Crawford, Lauren Bacall, Cloris Leachman, Cybil Shepherd, and Peggy Cass are some of the other celebrities that have lived at Barbizon.

References

  1. Wikipedia - Barbizon 63
  2. BARBIZON HOTEL FOR WOMEN
  3. Walk Score
  4. Structure One - Barbizon/63
  5. Harriet Weintraub - Press Release
  6. Wikipedia - Barbizon 63
  7. New York Times - "A New Chapter for the Barbizon "


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