Beresford

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211 Central Park West, New York City

Beresford
BeresfordNYC.jpg

The Beresford in the Upper West Side of Manhattan
Building Information
Developer HRH Construction Company
Architect Emery Roth
Number of Units 175
Number of Floors 22
Year Built 1929
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof Copper
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211 Central Park West, New York City
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R10A
Title of Land Cooperative


Contents

Background

The avenue along the western edge of Central Park is famous for its historical residences. Known as Central Park West, this road is home to many of the most famous apartments in New York City, including the Dakota, 15 Central Park West, and 55 Central Park West. Emery Roth made his mark on this road when he designed four buildings along Central Park West in the early 20th century, and the largest of these is the Beresford. Built in 1929, this building is a gorgeous prewar cooperative apartment building that has been home to dozens of celebrities and public figures over the years, and remains one of the most exclusive addresses in the city.

Together, the residences along Central Park West form the Central Park West Historic District, of which the Beresford is a contributing property. The Beresford is arguably one of the most desired buildings of this group due to the fact that two of its four frontages overlook magnificent parks, and therefore feature stunning views in fully half of its apartments. The western frontage of the Beresford overlooks Central Park, while the southern frontage overlooks Manhattan Square, the park that holds the American Museum of Natural History and the Hayden Planetarium.

Location

Found at the intersection of West 81st Street and Central Park West, the Beresford finds itself in the Upper West Side of Manhattan, along the famed Central Park West. Originally called the Bloomingdale District, the Upper West Side has a long history as a residential neighborhood, although its fortunes have ebbed and flowed with the times. In the 18th century, the Upper West Side was home to some of New York’s largest homes, and the population was predominantly upper class. This had changed by the mid 19th century, when many of the area’s smaller neighborhoods had transformed into residential hubs of those considered lower class. From 1885 to 1910, the Upper West Side experienced a building boom that was created with the expansion of the city’s subway lines. The neighborhood continued to transform during the 20th century with the arrival of mass populations of immigrants, German Jews, and gay males. Today, the Upper West Side is an upscale residential neighborhood that houses a variety of demographics, and one which has a reputation for attracting creative and cultural workers.

The Upper West Side is home to many of New York City’s landmarks and tourist destinations, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Hayden Planetarium, the Apple Bank Building, Columbus Circle, the American Folk Art Museum, Beacon Theater, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, Merkin Concert Hall, and Lincoln Center. Additionally, the Upper West Side is home to several famed educational institutions, such as the Juilliard School, Fordham University, Columbia University, the American School of Ballet, the New York Institute of Technology, and the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.[1]

With a walk score of 95 out of 100 and a transit score of 100 out of 100, residents of the Beresford do not require a car to complete their daily errands, as they are close to numerous shopping, food, home services, and transit options. With a bike score of 85 out of 100, cyclists will find many excellent bike lanes nearby, as well as wonderfully flat grades.[2]

Construction

The site where the Beresford now stands was originally supposed to be a 12 story residential building, a project proposed by Jose de Navarro. He later abandoned his plans, and five years later, in 1889, Alva Walker built the Beresford Hotel, a six story building that was later expanded in 1892 to include a 10 story extension. This extension was noted for the extensive dining room that occupied the top floor to serve the residents of the hotel, as none of the hotel rooms had a kitchen. In the 1920s, Emery Roth designed a residential building that would replace the hotel, with construction on the project beginning in 1928. The project, to be called the Beresford in honor of the hotel it was replacing, was developed by HRH Construction Company.[3]

Although Emery Roth was one of the premiere designers of the famous residences that line Central Park West, his timing on the Beresford was less than ideal, as construction was completed in 1929, one month before the great stock market crash that launched the Great Depression. The building’s finances subsequently fell into hard times, and by 1940, both the Beresford and Roth’s San Remo were sold together for a mere $25,000, a paltry figure for the time.[4]

Layout and Features

The Beresford architectural style has been described as Renaissance Revival, with influences of Art Deco, and the building’s design has been much praised. The Beresford only stands 22 stories, but its design conveys a much more impressive height. At the time of its construction, the building’s design had to comply with New York’s 1916 zoning resolution, which compelled buildings to design their towers in a series of setbacks in order to prevent buildings from keeping sunlight from reaching the sidewalks. These setbacks can be seen in the top of the Beresford’s design, where a series of setbacks lead to the building’s iconic three corner towers. These octagonal towers sit on the southwest, southeast, and northeast corners of the building, are copper capped, contain arched and oval windows, and hold the building’s water tower in one. At night, the towers’ finials are illuminated.

Contrary to its outward appearance, the Beresford is not a complete square, but rather the western edge is open, creating a U shaped pattern for the building. This opening serves as an entrance and opens up into a landscaped courtyard and a garden with a fountain. The building sits on a three story limestone base, with the remainder of the facade comprising of brick. This facade is quite ornate, and features several layers divided by string courses, brick quoins on the corners, terra-cotta rosettes, spandrels, and cartouches.[5]

Inside the Beresford, the building is divided into three separate structures, each with their own entrance, lobby, and elevator bank. The entrances feature pilasters, classical urns, and floral motifs, while the lobbies are decorated with marble finishes and moldings. Due to the building’s age, the apartments within the Beresford will each have their own designs and finishes, the result of numerous independent renovations over the years. However, the apartments generally feature 11 foot high ceilings, wood burning fireplaces, spacious layouts, and expansive rooms. Select units have terraces, a result of the building’s setbacks.[6]

Floor Plans

A selection is presented.

Amenities

The Beresford offers its residents white glove service and the following amenities:

  • 24 hour doormen
  • Elevator attendants
  • Live in superintendent
  • Fitness center
  • Bike room
  • Storage facilities
  • Cold storage
  • Laundry facilities[7]

Bylaws

Beresford Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Age No


  • This building has allowed limited rentals in the past.
  • There are no age restrictions for this building.

Sustainability

Built in 1929, the Beresford was constructed long before the era of sustainability and green living awareness, and therefore the building is a product of its time and is not designated as a green building. Residents who wish to help improve the building’s overall sustainability can do so in several ways, including:

  • Participating in New York City’s recycling programs
  • Installing more energy efficient materials and appliances when updating/renovating their apartments
  • Forsaking car ownership in favor of walking and taking public transit in order to reduce their carbon footprint

Trivia

  • The Beresford has been home to numerous celebrities and public figures over its history, including Jerry Seinfeld, Glenn Close, Diana Ross, Tony Randall, Bill Ackman, Laura Nyro, John McEnroe, Mike Nichols, Helen Gurley Brown, David Brown, Isaac Stern, Beverly Sills, Leonard Lyons, Margaret Mead, Rock Hudson, Vikram Pandit, and Bob Weinstein.
  • In 2007, a penthouse apartment belonging to Lew Frankfort, reportedly caught fire and the resulting damage completely gutted the unit.[8]
  • The penthouse apartments in this building that have Central Park frontage are among the most exclusive the New York City. When one such apartment came up for sale in 2007, it was the first listing of its type in the Beresford in over three decades.[9]
  • The elevators in this building feature a brass dragon-crested shield, along with a bear and the motto Fronta Nulla Fides, which translates into “Place No Trust in Appearances”.[10]
  • Emery Roth designed four famous residences along Central Park West, the San Remo, the Eldorado, the Ardsley, and the Beresford. Of these buildings, the Beresford is the largest by volume.[11]

References

  1. Wikipedia - Upper West Side
  2. Walk Score
  3. Emporis
  4. City Realty
  5. City Realty
  6. Street Easy
  7. Street Easy
  8. Curbed NY
  9. New York Sun
  10. City Realty
  11. Wikipedia - The Beresford

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