Museum Tower

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15 West 53rd Street, New York City

Museum Tower

Museum Tower in Midtown West
Building Information
Developer Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Architect Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
Number of Units 248
Number of Floors 55
Year Built 1985
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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15 West 53rd Street, New York City
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C5-2.5
Title of Land Condominium



The Museum Tower was originally built in 1985 as part of a major expansion of the Museum of Modern Art. The first six floors are occupied by the Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA. 52 floors are taken up by 240 apartments in a number of configurations.

Museum Tower was designed by Cesar Pelli's architecture firm, Pelli Associates. Projects in their portfolio include the new airport terminal in Washington, D.C., the worl Financial Center, and Carnegie Tower in New York City. They also designed the world's tallest twin towers, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

MoMA embarked on a major expansion to mark its 50th year of operation. The renovation more than doubled the Museum's gallery space, added an auditorium, two restaurants, and a bookstore. Behind the scenes operations were improved and the residential tower was added as a revenue producing element to support the museum's operating expenses.

The exterior curtain of the Museum Tower is comprised of a multicolored glass with patterned mullions, tinted vision glass and eleven shades of spandrel glass. One of the architectural highlights of this building is its garden. Though it has changed many times, it has always remained serene and elegant. The celebrated garden was created by architect Philip Johnson and landscape architect James Fanning.[1]


Museum Tower is located mid-block at 15 West 53rd Street in a desirable central location of Mid-Town Manhattan. It overlooks the prestigious Museum of Modern Arts beautiful large garden on 54th Street. Excellent views of Mid-Town are offered to residents. North views capture the world famous Central Park and views in other directions display a panorama of Manhattan.

The shopping meccas of Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue are within two blocks east. Central Park is a short walk of four blocks to the north. Day to day needs are easily met just steps from the main entrance. Coffee bars, delis, restaurants of multiple ethnicity, and pubs are all nearby.

Columbus Circle, the Lincoln Center, and Carnegie Hall are all within a ten to fifteen minute walk of Museum Tower. For access to other parts of New York, subway stations are within 500 feet of Museum Tower. Other green spaces like Channel Gardens, Greenacre Park, and The Pond are less than half a mile from the residence.


The concrete core structure of Museum Tower clad with multicolored glass presents apartments that allow lots of natural light through its floor to ceiling windows. Exterior walls of windows allow famous views of Central Park and the city skyline. Many have a view of the MoMA sculpture garden.

Most of the apartments are small one and two bedroom units. Options to combine more than one apartment are available for those that require more space. However, with the 9 foot ceilings, the natural light, and over sized rooms, the sense of space is prevalent in the apartments.

The expansion allowed the Museum's public spaces to be enlarged. New views of the refurbished sculpture garden were revealed enclosed by a four story glass enclosure. For residents, the prestige of being associated with the Museum of Modern Art makes this a highly sought after place to live.

Layout and Features

Most of the suites are one and two bedroom units and some have been combined into larger apartments. Many have corner windows and windowed kitchens with ceilings of the suites up to nine feet high which lends a spacious and airy sense to the apartments.[2]

The Museum of Modern Art with its expanded gallery space draws much attention from its audiences. Two restaurants are included in the space, one of them fairly high end, with views of the sculpture garden. The residential tower's entrance is discrete quite removed from the bustle of the crowds attending the museum.

Within the attended lobby, are six pieces of art on permanent display, including a Picasso, entitled "Buste au Corsage a Careux".

Floor Plans

With many floor plans available, here is a small selection:


This is truly a 'full-service' building in that there is even an elevator operator, rarely seen in this day. The Concierge desk is attended 24 hours a day and a resident building manager lives on the site. Other services available to residents include:

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry and ironing
  • Floor waxing and carpet cleaning
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Even table settings plus other general household services

This building has many extra amenities including media and conference room and roof terrace.

Also onsite are:

  • A fitness center
  • Bicycle room
  • Wine storage
  • Private storage areas
  • Garage


Museum Tower Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues No

  • Pets are welcome in Museum Tower
  • No restrictions on residents' ages exists
  • Rentals are also available
  • There are no balconies so barbecues are not allowed


The LEED Registered Project Directory does not list the Museum Tower as one of its certification candidates. However, the architectural design of the apartments contributes to an awareness of natural light with its floor to ceiling windows and individual climate controls in all rooms.[3]

Residents may also contribute to a green awareness by utilizing the New York City recycling programs and using their cars less frequently, minimizing their carbon footprint.


  • The Museum of Modern Art, or MoMA, is often considered to be the most influential museum in the world. Its library and archives hold over 300,000 books and periodicals. It keeps individual files on approximately 70,000 artists. Since its inception in 1929, MoMA has presented works from hundreds of artists including Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Francis Bacon, Henri Rousseau, Salvador Dali, and many, many more. Works also include architecture, drawings, paintings, sculpture, photography, film, and electronic media.[4]
  • Actor Nicolas Cage owned a suite on the 48th floor of the Museum Tower. It was put on the market for $9.75 million in 2009. The apartment was actually two apartments combined into one with easy access between the two. Cage lived in one side and the other side was reserved for guests, complete with a gourmet kitchen.


  1. Museum Tower Website
  2. Museum Tower Website
  3. LEED Certified Project List
  4. Wikipedia - MoMA

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