Sutton Gardens

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20 East 55th Street, New York City, NY

Sutton Gardens

Street View of Sutton Gardens
Building Information
Number of Units 237
Number of Floors 12
Year Built 1956
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof IRMA
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20 East 55th Street, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Within two blocks
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C1-9
Title of Land Cooperative



Exterior of Sutton Gardens

Sutton Gardens is a 12 story cooperative building complex located in the Heart of Sutton Place. Comprised of a north and south building which is connected with a common garden in the center, Sutton Gardens is a post-war structure completed in 1956 as an apartment rental. The initial managing agents of Sutton Gardens was Eadie & Hart Inc., and the architect is not listed. The buildings were later converted to their current ownership structure.

The two buildings combined offer 237 residences, the majority of which are studios, one bedrooms, and two bedroom units that are functional and make the most use of the provided square footage. Some of the units offer private balconies, while each resident has access to the common gardens. The buildings feature full-time doormen and concierge service, an on-site parking garage, common laundry facilities, and on-site storage.

This red brick residential complex is situated in the sought-after residential neighborhood of Sutton Place, just north of Turtle Bay along the East River. There are many outdoor areas, low to mid-rise buildings, and quiet, tree-lined streets in this neighborhood, which is convenient to the Upper East Side and Midtown Manhattan.[1]


Situated on the tree-lined street of East 55th Street, just one block from the shore of the East River, residents of Sutton Gardens get to enjoy the serene yet convenient setting of the building. Across the street is a single-story parking garage which is topped with a tennis court, and just to the east of the building is a gated plaza of the Cornell University's Medical Center. These surrounding low-rise structures and outdoor areas provide plenty of light and air, as well as maximization of the interior views at Sutton Gardens.

The nearby First Avenue is a busier street with many restaurants, cafes, markets, and shops. There are also quite a few cinemas and entertainment spots located within walking distance as well as bars such as Neary's Pub and the Turtle Bay Tavern. Parks and outdoor attractions that are within walking distance from Sutton Gardens include Sutton Place Park, Peter Detmold Park, Fourteen Honey Locusts Park, Tramway Plaza and Greenacre Park.

Cathedral High School, Golden House School, Art and Design High School, and The Beekman School are within the catchment of the building. There is a good cross-town bus service in the area, as well as the Roosevelt Island Tramway and the metro subway just a few blocks away at Lexington and 53rd Street.[2]


Exterior Facade of Sutton Gardens

Built in 1956 and converted to cooperative building in 1986, Sutton Gardens stands as a red brick structure of 12 stories. The building has a modern yet classic exterior with many columns of wide windows. The green canopied entrance is situated on East 55th Street and is quite grand with the center of the building above the entrance being just slighting inset. The structure features a nice, delicate wrought-iron railing at its flat roof line which lends to the rooftop private terraces and the overall clean architectural lines of the structure's design. The building also offers many corner balconies.

The balconies have modern glass panels and are slightly protruding. The center of the building offers two columns of smaller, picture windows that flank the building's front exposure. The side exposures have very small windows and no balconies. There is some sidewalk landscaping which adds to the street appeal of Sutton Gardens.[3]

Layout and Features

Studio to three bedroom residences are offered at Sutton Gardens, as well as some larger units which have been combined over the years. The interiors offer large, wall-to-wall windows which liven up the basic and simple interiors with natural light and an open feel. The many windows and neighboring low-rise building's ensure expansive views from many of the units.

Many of the layouts make the most functional use of their square footage and do not offer formal dining rooms or entrance galleries or foyers. Typically the floor plans at Sutton Gardens include living spaces that are combined with eating or dining alcoves, and a separate galley-style kitchen. Entrances are often near the kitchens, many of which have been modernized with new wooden cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and updated lighting and flooring. Built-in cabinetry and shelves are also a common feature throughout the spaces.

The bedrooms are gracious in size and well-proportioned with large walk-in closets and en-suite spa-like bathrooms. Some of the units still feature their original parquet hardwood floors while others have been renovated with more modern hardwood throughout. Many of the units have updated their light fixtures to be more modern, as well as new radiator covers near the windows. Double-pane thermal windows with screens are found throughout, as well as through-wall air conditioning units.[4]

Floor Plans

There are 63 floor plans available for Sutton Gardens. Here is a brief overview.


  • Doorman
  • Cold Storage
  • Live-in Super
  • Elevator
  • On-site Parking
  • Common Garden
  • Common Courtyard


Sutton Gardens Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No
Barbecues Yes

  • Pets are allowed
  • Rentals allowed with approval
  • Co-purchasing and pied-a-terre allowed


Although Sutton Gardens was constructed in the 1950s, and is therefore not up to the current and modern LEED Certifications for a green building, the concrete structure has remained durable and well-maintained over the years.

The sustainable and eco-friendly aspects found at Sutton Gardens include:

  • Great exposure with low-rises for natural light
  • Many windows for natural light
  • Double-pane, thermal windows
  • Energy-free outdoor garden amenity
  • Sustainable interior materials, some still present
  • Interior renovations with sustainable and energy-efficient features

The area of Sutton Place offers a community with local conveniences within steps from the building. There are also a lot of outdoor areas to enjoy eco-friendly activities, and car and bike share programs are also found in the area. The are is very well-suited to cycling, walking, and jogging.


Andrew Dickson White, Co-founder of Cornell University

Just next door to Sutton Gardens is the outdoor plaza of Cornell University's Medical Center, which is a well established university in New York City with a rich history. The history of Cornell University dates back to 1864 when its two founders, Andrew Dickson White and Ezra Cornell, met one another in the New York State Senate. Just one year after they met in 1865, they established Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, which was initially funded by Ezra Cornell's $400,000 endowment, which could perhaps explain the reasoning for Cornell's name taking the title.

White, who was educated in some of the best Universities including Yale, dreamed of creating an elite place of learning, one which wouldn't follow the established educational systems which he described as "too much reciting by rote and too little real intercourse". During the 1950s, White was a professor of history at the University of Michigan. Before White had met Cornell, he had been impressed by a bill Cornell introduced in one of his first actions as a state senator. Cornell has approved the incorporation of a large public library for Ithaca and had donated $100,000 dollars to the cause.

For this "his breadth of mind" that struck White, he wrote: The most striking sign of this was his mode of forming a board of trustees; for, instead of the usual effort to tie up the organization forever in some sect, party or clique, he had named the best men of his town — his political opponents as well as his friends; and had added to them the pastors of all the principal churches, Catholic and Protestant.

Destined to create something grand in their collaboration, Cornell and White both had their own dreams which eventually moved them towards collaborating in founding Cornell University. The university's Inauguration Day was on October 7, 1868, and remains a well-established University today.[5]


  1. City Realty
  2. Walk Score
  3. Elegran
  4. Elliman
  5. Wikipedia

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