Thursday, June 23, 2011

50 Madison Avenue

Third in a series on what it costs to live on Madison Square Park and what you get for the money.

The building:

50 Madison Avenue was designed and built by the architectural firm of Renwick, Aspinwall & Owen in 1896 to be the new home of the ASPCA. 

Originally just five stories, in the mid-2000s several stories were added and it became a condominium, much to the distress of the American Institute of Architects. 

The AIA Guide to New York City says, “It swallowed Renwick & Co.’s ASPCA building almost whole.  A grand, historic (though sadly not landmarked), renaissance revival palazzo has been sur-elevated: the top floor and cornice were surgically removed, a mundane tower mounted on what remained. An attempt at ‘dove-tailing old and new’ (in the words of the project architect) only points to how much better the old was than the new.”

Be that as it may, the nine approximately 2,650 square foot condominiums, one per floor, that make up the building are quite lovely.  Each three bedroom, three and a half bath unit has spectacular views south to the park from the living room. 

A brilliant compromise was made between a closed kitchen and one that is open to the living space; the kitchen opens to a good-sized dining room, but the living room remains separate.  

The building has a permanent certificate of occupancy.

What it costs to live there:

Not much turnover here; the only sale in the last five years has been the third floor, which closed last February for $4,400,000, or about $1,660 per square foot.  Higher floors would go for higher prices.

Common charges on the third floor are $3,000, and real estate tax is $2,390.  There is an abatement, so taxes will increase.

What you get:

A full service building.  There is a 24-hour doorman and a superintendent, and they have only nine units to watch over.

Unusual privacy.  With only one apartment per floor, you don’t share a landing with anybody.

Available extra storage.

A spectacular view from every apartment.

And the park.  Commonly recognized as the best small park in the city.

©copyright Confidence Stimpson 2011

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