Named after industrialist Andrew Carnegie, whose mansion has stood at Fifth Avenue and 91st Street since 1901, Carnegie Hill is one of the most sought-after neighborhoods in Manhattan. The quiet Upper East Side nabe is home to museums and elegant townhouses, one of them, just off Fifth Avenue near Central Park, has come to market at $20 million. The 20-foot-wide, 7,500-square-foot brownstone is listed by Manju Curry with Corcoran.
The residence belongs to Andrew Panzures, a financier who currently works for Piraeus, a Greek bank. Records show he purchased the building in 2008 for $9.5 million, then gutted the interior and undertook a three-year renovation. The house is currently configured with four bedrooms, a library, five full bathrooms, plus three more powder rooms, six fireplaces, an elevator, as well as a den and a laundry room in the basement. Ceiling heights range from 10 to 12 feet.
One of the luxuries of owning a New York townhouse is the outside space that accompanies it. In this case, there’s about 1,000 square feet of outdoor space, including a garden level courtyard, a patio, a parlor level balcony and a fifth-floor terrace.
Of course, the finest finishes and materials were chosen to adorn the house. There are limestone floors, Venetian plaster walls, and onyx bathrooms. The elegant staircase is guarded by an oak and iron banister, and there are Jerusalem marble counters in the kitchen, where the walnut cabinetry was manufactured by tony English company Smallbone. (Also notable, though not likely included in the sale, the distinctive paintings in many rooms by Greek artist Alekos Fassianos.)
The townhouse’s beginning dates back to around 1890, when developer Philip Braender hired architect William Graul to design a group of row houses on East 93rd Street. Braender, whose name lives on in New York with The Braender, an apartment house (now condo building) he built in 1903 at 102nd Street and Central Park West, was a speculative real estate developer.
Construction began on four four-story townhouses in 1891, and on June 18, 1892, Braender advertised “East 93d st, near 5th av–Beautiful four-story private houses; low prices; cabinet trim throughout; butler’s pantry extension; strictly private neighborhood; must be examined to be appreciated.” One of the rowhouses he kept for his own family.
By 1914, this particular brownstone, the most altered of the four residences, was occupied by Stuyvesant Fish, Jr. and his family. Fish came from one of the oldest and richest New York families. His grandfather, Hamilton Fish, was the 16th Governor of New York, a United States Senator and United States Secretary of State under the Grant Administration, while his father, Stuyvesant, Sr. was president of the Illinois Central Railroad and his mother was famously acid-tongued Gilded Age society hostess Mamie Fish. Mrs. Fish once threw a lavish birthday party for her dog, who wore a $15,000 diamond collar to the party — that’s $15,000 in 1890s dollars! — and once, when asked by Mr. Fish, “Can I get something for your throat, dear?” she answered, “Yes, this diamond and pearl necklace I saw today at Tiffany’s.”
Fish, Jr. purchased a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1909 and thereafter was a financier. He spent most of his time in his country house in Westchester County, however, so by 1939, decided to convert the brownstone to apartments. He removed the enormous stoop in front and created basement entrances, as well as removing ornamentation from the oriel window.
The building remained as apartments until 2008 when the current owner bought it and changed it back to a single-family home. Now it’s ready for a new wildly rich family to occupy it in New York’s new Gilded Age.