Franconia

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20 West 72nd Street, New York City, NY

Franconia
Franconia-NYC-Exterior1.jpg

The Franconia atop its limestone base
Building Information
Number of Units 165
Number of Floors 15
Year Built 1925
Construction Method Concrete
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20 West 72nd Street, 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 Cooperative


Contents

Background

The simple lines of Franconia
The Franconia at 20 West 72nd Street is another stout and sturdy mid-rise built just steps from Central Park in Manhattan. It sits on the north edge of the neighborhood of Lincoln Square and is right across the street from the famed Dakota, the former home of John Lennon.


Lincoln Square experienced a flurry of building activity in the early 1900s and some of the most iconic apartment buildings were created in that era. The Franconia stands quietly among the likes of San Remo, the Beresford, the Majestic, and Oliver Cromwell.


It's a subtle building without much flash or attention grabbing detail but with a few private terraces on the top two floors that cannot be noticed form the street.


It has 165 apartments within with preferences tending to studios and one bedrooms, perfect for starting out or pied-à-terre. The smaller format of the apartments stems from its original purpose as a hotel. However, there are also some duplex apartments and some larger floor plans available. The conversion to a cooperative occurred in 1983 and many new finishing touches were included.

Just its location alone should make this a top consideration for those wishing to live near Central Park and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.



Location

Franconia-NYC-Location.jpg
As the sign post says, this address is very prestigious and in distinguished company.


Perhaps the Franconia Hotel had humble beginnings and perhaps it is not as elaborate as its esteemed neighbors. But it is is one of the most famous residential areas of Manhattan, the Upper West Side. With that comes all of the neighborhood amenities available for residents of Franconia.


Quick and easy access to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, a short stroll to Columbus Circle, an minutes from Broadway, arguably the most famous theater district in the United States, if not the world. Public transportation moves entertainment seekers and commuters easily with numerous options available.


Franconian residents need not venture far for a cocktail and an Italian dinner. The Sambuca Restaurant & Wine Bar is in the building. Descriptions like, "family-style Italian cooking", and "gigantic platters", and "trustworthy" are all used to describe this venue. They offer meals that are "meant for sharing" and have gluten-free menu options. Besides the Sambuca, this neighborhood caters to both the pre and post theater goers, so many other options abound.


Arts and prep schools, along with computer and religious schools, mixed in with public and music schools are all within a third of a mile. Good for families and students of all ages.


The Columbus Circle Whole Foods store may be a few minutes walk, but other grocery options are closer. The Gotham Food store is only a couple of hundred feet away and the Food Emporium a little beyond that. There are also specialty stores and green markets throughout the neighborhood.[1]


Construction

The brown brick clad Franconia sits upon a three story limestone base. The fenestration is consistent and symmetrical with some evidence of protruding air conditioning units.


The brick-clad Franconia
Originally, the building was the Franconia Hotel and then later became a rental building. its conversion to a cooperative saw some changes to the floor layouts. There are still numerous studio units which were the easiest to convert as they are not much different from a typical hotel room. Throw in a Murphy bed and voilà, co-op unit.


Franconia's elevators - note the old style floor indicators above the doors
Information about the builder and the original design firm is unavailable from the New York Department of Buildings at this time. However, the concrete structure appears to have been built rather solidly and there are two floors on the roof where the penthouses are located, sporting private terrace spaces.


The design and layout of the structure is somewhat typical without any extraordinary embellishment, as though it needed to be completed quickly to fulfill a housing or accommodation need.


Care and attention has been given to the lobby. It has a hotel-like, revolving polished brass door and there is marble finish throughout. The renovation retained to old dial-type of floor indicators for the two elevators, where the pointing arm moves to indicate which floor the elevator is on. A classic reminder of history of the building.


Layout and Features

Franconia-NYC-Plaque.JPG
The Franconia is a pre-war building dating from 1925. Some modern upgrades have been installed during its conversion to a cooperative.

There is a centralized laundry in the basement of the building and the superintendent is a resident. Other services are provided to the residents through the concierge whose desk is always manned in the lobby.

Some storage is available for a fee and there is also a bike room. One nice thing is, the maintenance fees include the utilities.[2]


Floor Plans

More than 50 floor plans are listed, so only a few examples are shown here:


Amenities

Pros:

  • Concierge
  • Attended lobby by full time doorman
  • Revolving Door Entrance
  • Nice Marble Lobby
  • Washer/Dryer in building
  • Half a block from Central Park
  • Half a block from subway
  • Close to several landmarks
  • Convenient to many restaurants and boutiques

Cons:

  • No sidewalk landscaping
  • No garage
  • No health club
  • No balconies - although some of the penthouses have private terraces

Bylaws

Franconia Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues No



  • Pets are allowed (dogs are subject to board approval)
  • Rentals of units and pied-à-terre are permitted
  • Co-purchasing is considered with board approval and sublets are allowed after 2 years of residency
  • Without balconies or a roof deck, barbecues would be impractical, although there are private terraces on the 14th and 15th floors

Sustainability

Structures constructed nearly nearly a century ago were not as mindful about a building's affect on the the environment around it, as we are today.

But small measures have been introduced to help lessen this building's impact on the environment. For instance, during the conversion to a cooperative format, major renovations took place throughout the building.

More energy efficient appliances have been installed and building permits records from New York Department of Buildings indicate that plumbing and electrical refits have occurred over the years.

Low-flow fixtures have been installed in at least some of the units along with more energy efficient light fixtures.

All New York City citizens are encouraged to participate in the city's extensive recycling programs to relieve the stress on our land-fills.


Trivia

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Louise “Lepke” Buchalter, and Harry Teitelbaum, Hymen Holtz, Jacob Shapiro, Philip Kravalich, Harry Greenberg, Joe Rosen and Louis Kravitz.
  • November 10, 1931 - the Hotel Franconia, then owned by the infamous criminal mastermind, Arnold Rothstein, was raided and nine men were rounded up.
  • At the time, an amendment to the 'disorderly conduct law' created the "Public Enemy" law, which police interpreted (perhaps incorrectly) to pick up anyone "known" to be a criminal figure.
  • The new law was very vague and issued a great deal of power to police to exercise this option, with little or no oversight.
  • As such, at the hearing in December of that year, Magistrate Maurice Gotlieb had to dismiss the charges for the nine men as no one was able to determine if the gathering was unlawful or not.
  • However reluctant Gotlieb was about the dismissal, he was not shy to use terms like "gangster" and "evil character" when referring to the men caught in the raid.
  • No one except the participants will ever know what the topic of conversation was the night of the raid, but historical (and unverifiable) conjecture suggests it may have been to discuss the possibility of a new "Italian" and "Jewish" co-operation to be headed by Lucky Luciano.[3]

References

  1. Walk Score
  2. Blocksy - 20 West 72nd Street
  3. The Mafia Blog - Hotel Franconia Raid and the "Public Enemy" Law


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