Manhattan House: An Upper East Side Icon

Manhattan is a borough steeped in architecture. A trip down its streets reveals the masterwork of some of the profession’s finest artists, but for some, experiencing architectural history is simply a matter of going home. Tenants of city landmark Manhattan House live in comfort, surrounded by history and provided with high-quality modern amenities right in the heart of NYC. When these Upper East Side apartments are for sale, buyers and historians alike pay attention, as this building is more than just a luxury apartment complex—it’s a pivotal part of New York’s story.

The Mind of the Architects

Completed in 1951, Manhattan House’s design was like no other in the city. Head Architect Gordon Bunshaft’s arrangement used the popular “H-plan” layout, in which a main “spine” is crossed by several shorter “wings.” Taking elements from masterful Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, the building’s smooth brick exterior combined interior and exterior comfort by featuring projecting balconies from windows above the sixth floor (becoming one of the first buildings in New York City to feature them,) and a large rear garden for tenants to enjoy. The white brick used for the face of the building itself was glazed and slightly reflective, offering a clean, modern look to passers-by.

Changing the Face of a City

Bunshaft’s design generated near-universal praise in architecture circles, praised as the first white brick apartment house. Critics and tenants alike loved its innovative modern design, use of clean white brick, and general layout, and soon the complex attracted tenants like jazz musician Benny Goodman, state governor Hugh Carey, and actress Grace Kelly. Soon other apartment buildings began to rise throughout the city, making liberal use of modern design elements such as white brick, projecting balconies, gardens, and private driveways. The use of these elements set trends in New York, forever changing the face of architecture in the city and garnering attention from the American Institute of Architects, who named it the finest New York apartment built from 1951-52.

A Landmark Destination

Today, a city inspired by Manhattan House still embraces it warmly: The historic building was granted landmark status from the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and in 2007 it was converted to feature contemporary condominium space, penthouse space, and a redesigned lobby and garden; each designed by top professionals. The building places strong emphasis on luxury, providing extensive amenities, an on-site fitness center, and access to the 10,000-square-foot rooftop level, which houses a private club. This seminal 21-story building is forever a part of the city’s story, and now as these historic NYC apartments go on sale, Upper East Side buyers have the chance to own a piece of history.

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