Restoring and Redesigning the Apthorp

The Apthorp in Manhattan's Upper West Side

The Apthorp is the epitome of elegance on the Upper West Side. Constructed in 1908, the Apthorp reflects the dignified architectural sensibilities of the time. It covers an entire block between 78th and 79th streets; a three-story rusticated base complements the smooth and sharp upper floors. The rectangular and arched windows, along with the ornate roof top cornice, exude a subtle complexity. Gold gazelle heads stick out of wrought-iron gates, which open into a large courtyard. The courtyard features gardens and matching fountains.

Many notable celebrities have lived at the Apthorp at some point, including Al Pacino, Louis CK, Conan O'Brien, Steve Kroft, and Rosie O'Donnell. JSR Capital bought 40 units in 2006 and are converting them from rentals to condos. All of the original furnishings are currently being restored, which is a long, meticulous, and expensive process. JSR is simultaneously modernizing the units. They are incorporating modern interior design elements, and are installing top of the line appliances and kitchenware. Although they agree that the Apthorp has “a charm that you can’t just recreate”, they also want to make the apartments “less stuffy.” Their goal is to attract young, ambitious buyers--buyers that want uptown prestige “with downtown sensibility.”

Area Property Partners has bigger ambitions. They want to build four penthouses on top of the Apthorp. They would be duplexes and triplexes and would cost $2,200 to $3,300 a square foot. Unfortunately for Property Partners, their penthouse dreams may not come to fruition. State Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal said that she’s “not sure it does adhere and conform to the architectural integrity of the building.” Most recently, more than 100 locals joined forces to protest the plan. At a Community Board meeting on September 23rd, they voted to reject the proposal. They argue that it will affect views and that the noise from the construction will be unbearable.