Century

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25 Central Park West, New York City, NY

Century
CenturyNYC.jpg

The Century on Central Park West, NYC
Building Information
Developer Chanin Construction Company
Architect Irwin S. Chanin
Number of Units 350
Number of Floors 32
Year Built 1931
Construction Method Concrete
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25 Central Park West, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R10 A
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

The Century Apartments, now known as The Century Condominiums, was the final multi-towered apartment building to be built along Central Park West and is the sister building of the Majestic, which was built two years earlier several blocks north. Both buildings were designed by Irwin S. Chanin and his architectural development firm. The Century was named after The Century Theatre which was demolished in 1930 to allow the apartment building to be constructed in its place.

Originally a rental building, The Century underwent a conversion in 1989 to become a condominium apartment building after a protracted legal battle with the building’s tenants. Since its conversion, The Century has established itself as one of New York City’s premiere pre-war apartment buildings with six bedroom units in the building selling in 2010 for $19 million.[1]

Location

The Century is located in the Upper West Side of New York City, specifically in the neighborhood of Lincoln Square on the famed Central Park West. Many of New York’s most famous residences are along this street, The Century included, and the neighborhood has an abundance of art and culture venues, shopping, and restaurants. In particular, Lincoln Square is noted for being the location of Lincoln Center, the famed cultural institution that holds over 29 performance spaces, and houses the New York Ballet, the Metropolitan Opera, The Julliard School, the New York Philharmonic, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

The Century spans the entire block between West 62nd and West 63rd along Central Park West, and looks directly over Central Park. With a walk score and transit Score of 100 out of 100, residents of The Century do not require a car to complete their daily errands.[2]

Construction

Demolition of The Century Theatre was begun in 1930 and completed in January of 1931. Irwin S. Chanin forecast a completion date of October 1931, but construction moved ahead so rapidly that apartments began being offered for rent in September of 1931. The Century was designed by Chanin’s in house architectural firm, with Jacques Delamarre and Rene Chambellan leading the design team. Construction of the building was carried out by Chanin Construction Company, a division of Chanin’s firm, and at one point over 1400 employees were working on the construction of the building, with a final price tag of $6.5 million.[3]

The Century has been hailed as a masterpiece of the Art Deco style of architecture and when built, The Century stood in stark contrast to the rest of the buildings on Central Park West that were mostly built in the Beaux-Arts style. The Century also holds several official titles, including being recognized by the United States National Register of Historic Places on November 9th, 1982. The building was later named a local landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservations Commission on July 10th, 1985, and it is currently one of the contributing properties of the Central Park West Historic District.[4]

Layout and Features

The Century is built of brick and steel, and is comprised of two twin towers connected by a multi-story base. The building is noted for having three fully staffed entrances, one each off of Central Park West, West 62nd Street, and West 63rd Street. All three entrances lead into a magnificent lobby that is curved around a landscaped courtyard and garden. Inside the building, the layout of the apartments varies greatly, as the building is now down to about 350 units from its original total of 401 due to the constant renovations by owners. Over 50 of the apartments have their own private terraces, and those within the two towers, feature bay windows that have stunning views of Central Park and Lincoln Center.[5]

It is hard to describe the features of all of the apartments in this building. Due to constant renovations, many of the units in The Century are one of a kind, but some common features of the building include formal dining rooms, large entry galleries and step down living rooms. Appliances, furnishings, fixtures, and finishes will vary from unit to unit dependent on the owner.[6]

Floor Plans

With over 140 floor plans available, a selection is presented.

Amenities

The Century does not enjoy many of the more modern amenities that are commonplace among recent buildings, but it does boast a large and very attentive staff. All three entrances to the building are attended by doormen 24 hours a day, while the lobby is fully staffed with a full service concierge and elevator attendants. The building also has storage units, a bicycle room, laundry services, and parking available for residents.[7]

Bylaws

Century Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No



  • This building is pet friendly
  • Rentals and pied-a-terre are permitted
  • There are no age restrictions in this building


Sustainability

The Century was built well before the era of sustainable living and even its conversion to a condominium building occurred before green living really became a well known concept. As residents continue to renovate and update their apartments it will be up to the individual owners to implement energy saving updates.

Trivia

  • Many notable and famous residents have lived in The Century over the decades, including William Morris, Lee Shubert, Robert Goulet, Ethel Merman, Ray Bolger, Nanette Fabray, Marc Connelly, and Fay Wray.
  • For the majority of the 1980s, The Century was embroiled in a bitter legal dispute and much controversy between the owners of the building and the tenants. After an investment group bought the building in 1982, this group had planned on selling the building back to the tenants for a substantial profit and converting the building into a condominium. The New York State Attorney General’s Office threw out this plan, but the damage was done to the relationship between the tenants and the owners. By 1983, the tenants brought court action against the owners, claiming that the owners were failing to maintain the property. The building by that point had begun to be described as a luxury slum, with tenants describing crumbling walls, water leaks, and rodent infestations. The protracted legal battle that followed was not resolved until 1989, when an agreement was devised between the tenants and owners that allowed for tenants to either purchase their apartments for one third the market price, or to remain in their rent controlled apartments. Although eventually costing over $5 million in legal fees, the agreement was deemed positive for all involved, and The Century finally moved forward in its conversion to condominiums.[8]

During the demolition of The Century Theatre on the site where The Century would ultimately stand, construction workers discovered a time capsule that had been placed during the theater’s construction in 1908. One of the items in the capsule was a letter from President Theodore Roosevelt congratulating the building on its completion.[9]


References

  1. City Realty - Review
  2. Walk Score
  3. Wikipedia - The Century
  4. Street Easy
  5. street easy
  6. City Realty - Review
  7. Street Easy
  8. NY Times
  9. Wikipedia - The Century


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