Majestic

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115 Central Park West, New York City

Majestic
MajesticNYC.jpg

The Majestic along the famed Central Park West in Manhattan
Building Information
Developer Chanin Construction Company
Architect Irwin S. Chanin
Number of Units 220
Number of Floors 30
Year Built 1931
Construction Method Steel
Type of Roof IRMA
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115 Central Park West, New York City
Distance to Public Transit Over 20 nearby options
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R10A
Title of Land Cooperative


Contents

Background

Central Park West is a famed stretch of road that runs along the western edge of Central Park from Columbus Circle to the South to Frederick Douglass Circle to the North. Many of New York City’s most famous residences lie along this stretch of road, and the Majestic is one such building. Nestled between the Langham and the Dakota, arguably the most famous residence in all of New York, the Majestic holds its own with its iconic two tower design, and its long and storied history. Home to celebrities, journalists, and crime families, the Majestic has seen it all, including a failed assassination attempt on one of the most powerful mobsters to ever work in the United States, Frank Costello.

The residences along Central Park West together form the Central Park West Historic District, of which the Majestic is a contributing property. In 1988, the Majestic on its own was designated a New York City Landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. With its prime location overlooking Central Park, its prestige, and its historical significance, the address of 115 Central Park West is one that is highly coveted.

Location

Located at the intersection of West 72nd Street and Central Park West, the Majestic finds itself in the neighborhood of the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Originally called the Bloomingdale District, the Upper West Side has remained a primarily residential neighborhood throughout its history, similar to its neighbor across the park, the Upper East Side. Although these are just generalizations, the Upper West Side has the reputation of attracting artistic and cultural workers as residents, while the Upper East Side is known for its commercial and business residents.

The Upper West Side is home to many of New York City’s famous landmarks and tourist destinations, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Hayden Planetarium, the Beacon Theater, Lincoln Center, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, the American Folk Art Museum, and Merkin Concert Hall. Additionally, the Upper West Side is the location for many acclaimed educational institutions, such as Columbia University, Fordham University, the Juilliard School, the American School of Ballet, the New York Institute of Technology, and the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, a school made famous by the film and television series Fame. The Upper West Side is also home to several famous restaurants and grocery stores, including Barney Greengrass, Zabar’s, Gray’s Papaya, and Fairway.[1]

With a walk score of 98 out of 100 and a transit score of 100 out of 100, residents of the Majestic to not require a car to complete their daily errands, as they are within walking distance of numerous shops, grocery stores, home services, and transit options. They are also close to several high end restaurants, including the world famous Tavern on the Green located across the street in Central Park. With a bike score of 82 out of 100, cyclists will love the excellent bike lanes and the flat grades.[2]

Construction

The Majestic was developed and designed primarily by Irwin S. Chanin of the Chanin Construction Company assisted by his French associate Jacques Delamarre with exterior sculpture work by Rene Chambellan. The Majestic takes its name from the Majestic Hotel, a 600 room building that was built in 1894 by Albert Zucker, notable for its roof garden, bowling alleys, and famous residents such as Gustav Mahler and Edna Ferber.

In 1929, the hotel was demolished in order to make room for the Majestic’s construction because Chanin had ambitious plans for the site. He envisioned a 45 story tower that would operate as an apartment hotel and feature a grand ballroom and central dining room for the building’s residents. Construction on this project commenced in 1929 with the building of the Majestic’s steel framework.[3]

Disaster struck a few months later with the stock market crash of 1929 and the start of The Great Depression. The economic crisis put a halt on Chanin’s plans, as did the recently enacted Multiple Dwelling Act, which restricted a building’s height. Chanin was forced to alter his plans, drawing up a design for a thirty story building that would get around the restrictions of the Multiple Dwelling Act by building a double tower structure.

Construction on the building began again and was finally completed in 1931. Unfortunately for Chanin, the effects of The Great Depression ran deep, and in 1933 he defaulted on a mortgage loan on the property. In 1958 the building was converted into a cooperative and today enjoys its status as one of the premiere addresses along Central Park West.[4]

Layout and Features

Standing at 30 stories, the Majestic is tied with three other buildings along Central Park West as the tallest of all of the residences. The Majestic is also one of five buildings along Central Park West that employ the double tower design, along with the San Remo, the Dakota, the Century, and the Beresford. Designed in the Moderne American Art Deco style of architecture, the Majestic originally contained 238 apartments, although that number is now down to about 220 due to combination units. There are five elevator banks that serve the apartments within the building.

The building features a limestone base with the remainder of the structure having a brown brick facade of applied masonry. This facade is heavily decorated with Art Deco pinnacles, vertically curved elements that are ribbed, piers rising out of the central sections, and ribbed rusticated masonry down the edges of the building. Due to the building’s age, the design, fixtures, and finishes will vary from unit to unit, as owners have individually updated and renovated their apartments over the decades. However, in general terms the building’s apartments are known for their spacious layouts, high ceilings, and stunning views of Central Park. Some apartments feature fireplaces, corner windows, and/or terraces.[5]

Floor Plans

A selection of floor plans are presented.

Amenities

The Majestic offers its residents white glove service and amenities, including:

  • Concierge
  • Doorman
  • Elevator attendants
  • Hall men
  • Porters
  • Fitness center
  • Children’s playroom
  • Bike room
  • Private storage facilities
  • Rooftop solarium[6]

Bylaws

Majestic Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No


  • This building allows rentals.
  • There are no age restrictions in this building.
  • This building allows protruding air conditioners.
  • This building is pet friendly.
  • This building does grant sublets, albeit only under exceptional circumstances that are decided on a case by case basis.[7]

Sustainability

Built in 1931, the Majestic was constructed long before the era of sustainability and green living awareness and is therefore, a product of its time.

Although this building is not designated as a green building, residents who wish to help improve its overall sustainability can do so by participating in New York City’s recycling programs, by installing more energy efficient materials and appliances when updating/renovating their apartments, and by choosing to take transit instead of a car.

Trivia

  • The Majestic has been home to numerous celebrities in the past, including Milton Berle, Zero Mostel, Marc Jacobs, Walter Winchell, and Conan O’Brien.
  • The Majestic was notorious for being home to numerous members of the Luciano (later Genovese) crime family, including Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, and Meyer Landsky.
  • The Majestic was the site of a failed assassination plot when Vincent Gigante shot Frank Costello in the building’s lobby. Costello survived the assassination attempt because Gigante reportedly shouted at Costello immediately prior to firing his gun, a shout that served as a warning, and Costello was able to avoid the bullet.[8]
  • A mere two blocks north of the Majestic at the intersection of West 74th Street and Central Park West, Henry Bliss made history in 1899 when he was struck by a taxi while exiting a streetcar and was killed. This was the first recorded death by motorcar in the United States.[9]
  • Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who in 1932 kidnapped and murdered the infant son of aviator Charles Lindbergh, worked as a carpenter on the Majestic. Hauptmann was later caught, tried, and executed by electrocution in 1936.[10]

References

  1. Wikipedia - Upper West Side
  2. Walk Score
  3. Wikipedia - The Majestic (New York City)
  4. City Realty
  5. City Realty
  6. Street Easy
  7. Street Easy
  8. Wikipedia - The Majestic (New York City)
  9. Wikipedia - Central Park West
  10. City Realty

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