If your choice was an apartment with a terrace that sports several stone gargoyles and another place with a gargoyle-free terrace, of course you’d choose the first one. Is that even a question?
In Manhattan’s storied Tudor City planned community, overlooking the East River, a sun-flooded penthouse arranged over four floors offers some uncommon and enticing features. Like stone gargoyles. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the one-of-a-kind 2,600-square-foot co-operative unit is asking $3.2 million via Sandra Balan at Brown Harris Stevens. Maintenance, which includes all utilities, is a chunky $4,908 a month.
Conceived in the 1920s while many wealthier families were escaping to the suburbs, a real estate developer named Leonard Gans believed there was a market for middle-class apartments in the city, within walking distance of the then-new Grand Central Terminal. Construction began in 1926, making Tudor City the first residential skyscraper complex in the world.
At the time, Tudor Revival was a very popular style for private homes and running with that ball, the developers stuffed every Tudor architectural detail into the skyscrapers as they could. Throughout the complex, which now also includes 1960s-era buildings as well as several parks, visitors will find pinnacles, quatrefoils, linenfold paneling, moldings, Tudor roses, portcullises and rampant lions. Most of the complex’s embellishment is carved or cast stone along with terracotta, and many of the building lobbies include half-timbering, carved woodwork, beamed ceilings, and arched openings, almost exactly as if it were 1588 and an ox was going to be roasted in the fireplace!
Though the four-floor penthouse, atop the complex’s Windsor Tower, still has some charming vintage touches, such as the beamed ceilings and casement windows, much of the original detailing appears to have been replaced with more modern and clean-lined finishes. Huge triple-stacked windows illuminate the living room, with its nearly 18-foot beamed ceilings and wood-burning fireplace, while the dining area and up-to-date kitchen are unconventionally located on a mezzanine level that overlooks the living room.
The guest bedroom and bath are nipped discretely behind the living room and the main bedroom and bathroom privately occupy the entire third floor. Behind a door in the main bedroom that could easily be mistaken for a closet, a corkscrew staircase winds up to a tiny top-level office space. Outside the main bedroom, and also accessible from the stair landing, is the 700-square-foot terrace that offers fantastic city views beyond all those fabulously flamboyant spires and gargoyles.
Erected in 1929, Windsor Tower’s white-glove services include a full-time doorman, resident manager, fitness center, central laundry, bicycle and storage rooms, as well as a host of additional on-site conveniences including a post office, dry cleaners, convenience store, cafe, steakhouse, wine shop, and nail salon. Right across the street is quiet green space, and upon exiting Tudor City to the east is the Robert Moses Playground complete with sports facilities and a dog run.