- 55 Central Park West
name = 55 Central Park West
Manhattan, Upper West Side, New York City, New York, USA
lat_degrees = 40
lat_minutes = 46
lat_seconds = 19
lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 73
long_minutes = 58
long_seconds = 44
long_direction = W
Central Park West Historic District
Schwartz and Gross
built = 1929
November 9, 1982[http://www.nr.nps.gov/ NRIS Database] , National Register of Historic Places, "National Park Service". [http://www.nr.nps.gov/general.htm How to use the database] . Retrieved 23 August 2007.]
refnum = 82001189 (
Central Park West Historic District)
governing_body = The building at 55 Central Park West, also known as the Ghostbusters Building, is a
housing cooperativelocated in Manhattan, New York City, U.S.A.The building was built in 1929 and designed by the firm Schwartz and Gross. Both the interior and the exterior possess unique architectural features that set the structure apart from its peers. The building is considered a contributing property within the Central Park West Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Plans for the building were filed by architectural firm
Schwartz and Grossat the behest of Victor Earle and John C. Calhoun, for whom they were working. Earle, and his brother Guyon, had been actively developing the Upper West Side of New York City since the 1910s.
The structure, between 65th and 66th Streets and considered to be mostly "second tier" by the socialite New Yorkers who occupy most of the buildings along
Central Park West, was opened as a rental property in 1930. Its neighbor to the south is the earlier Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Upon its opening "Real Estate" magazine praised it as resembling "Jung Frau, that most beloved snowcapped Alpine peak." Musician Rudy Vallee, whose salary was up to $20,000 per week, was one of the buildings earliest residents. Ginger Rogers was one of its residents during her Broadway days in the early 1930s.
Though Central Park West would become an area heavily influenced by the
Art Decomovement, the building was the first fully Art Deco structure on the street.
When the building opened in 1930 it had apartments ranging from three to nine rooms, the largest of which had four bedrooms. The apartment living rooms featured a dropped living room, developed by the Earle brothers, which set the interior apart from most others constructed around the same period. An original rental brochure shows the dropped
living roomnearly entirely open to the entrance gallery; traditionally the gallery was held as different room.
The six apartments on the top five floors of the building are considered the most desirable in the building. Two apartments in particular, 19 and 20F, are the mostly highly sought after. Together the two units form a 4,500
square footpenthouse, sporting eleven-foot ceilings, two functioning fireplaces and a convert|1000|sqft|m2|sing=on terrace. Gaines, Steven. " [http://nymag.com/nymetro/realestate/vu/14943/ One Apartment, 75 Years] ," "New York Magazine", 7 November 2005. Retrieved 3 April 2007.]
The exterior of the building is also somewhat non-traditional. As the brick facade rises from the ground it changes shade from a deep purple to a yellow-white. Color was being widely used during the 1920s as a tool in architecture for overall effects. Indeed, the rental brochure touted the exterior features of the building, "new modernistic design of exterior with beautiful shaded color scheme," it stated. "
The New Yorker's" architecture critic, George S. Chappell, praised the building's use of color, saying, "the total effect is exhilarating.""Gray, Christopher. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9406EFD61F3DF932A25754C0A96F958260 Streetscapes / 55 Central Park West; The Changing Colors of an Art Deco Landmark] ," "New York Times", 11 July 1999. Retrieved 3 April 2007.]
The building is a contributing property to the
Central Park West Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Placeson November 9, 1982. [http://www.oprhp.state.ny.us/hpimaging/hp_view.asp?GroupView=5590 Central Park West Historic District] , (Java), National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, New York's State and National Registers of Historic Places Document Imaging Project [http://www.oprhp.state.ny.us/hpimaging/default.asp] , New York State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 3 April 2007.] The property is also a contributing property to the New York City's Upper West Side/Central Park West local historic district. The entire area along Central Park West is considered one of New York City's finest residential neighborhoods. Benjamin Schwarz, writing for the " Atlantic Monthly" said of the buildings along Central Park West, "no endeavor on earth is more arduous than getting into one of these buildings." He specifically cited the "details of Donna Karan's deal for her digs at 55 Central Park West."Schwarz, Benjamin. " [http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/prem/200505/schwarz2 Eminent Domains] ," "The Atlantic Monthly", May 2005. Retrieved 3 April 2007.]
The building also holds significance in
American popular culturebecause scenes from the 1984 film " Ghostbusters" were shot there. In the film, the building is said to have been designed by an insane architect named Ivo Shandor, who started a secret society which performed rituals on the building's roof as early as 1920. The building, however, was not built until 1929. Since the movie used the building in 1984 it has been known as the "Ghostbusters Building," though it was portrayed as much taller in the film.cite video| people =Aykroyd, Dan and Ramis, Harold. Reitman, Ivan, Director| title =Ghostbusters| medium =Film| publisher =Columbia Pictures| location =New York City, 8 June 1984.]
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