By Carter Horsley
Many penthouses have terraces, but non-penthouse terraces compete well with the more expensive aeries, because their apartments usually have larger interior spaces.
1. 655 Park Avenue
This stately, Georgian-style apartment building has two very large, low-rise wings along its side-streets enclosing a very large garden facing the avenue. This is a very nice section of Park Avenue as this building is across from several very fine former mansions and just to the north of the picturesque Seventh Regiment Armory.
2. Mercedes House, 555 West 53rd Street
This new building, which was designed by Enrique Norten, is notable for its staggered terraces that sinuously curve along the broad length of the very large building. The form is more monumental than beautiful but probably no other building in the city has as many genuine terraces.
3. 740 Park Avenue
A classic and fabled pre-war luxury apartment building clad in limestone, it has several tiers near the top of the building with terraces that are extremely elegant with iron railings with peacock designs. Multiple terraces not only make more apartments desirable because of their outdoor spaces but they also compete nicely with “true” penthouses at the very top of a building because they tend to have larger interior spaces.
4. Ritz Carlton, 50 Central Park South
While there are many terraces on Fifth Avenue and a few on Central Park West, this building has the most on Central Park South, which has the better views and is not blinded by sunrises and sunsets.
5. San Remo, 145 Central Park West
This famous twin-towered apartment building has large terraces overlooking Central Park atop its base between the towers.
6. Beresford, 210 Central Park West
This famous triple-towered apartment building has large terraces overlooking Central Park to the east and the American Museum of Natural History and the midtown skyline to the south.
7. Majestic, 115 Central Park West
One of Irwin Chanin’s skyscrapers, this “Modern” twin-towered apartment building has slightly cantilevered, large terraces around the base of the towers.
8. El Dorado at 300 Central Park West
This Art Deco-style, twin-towered apartment building is not far from the tennis courts in Central Park, which it overlooks.
9. 279 Central Park West
This asymmetrical tower has a lot of “wedding cake” terraces that resulted from the special “contextual” zoning that the city enacted in the 1980s that called for floors to be setback above the boulevard’s traditional “building wall height” of 15 stories. Similar zoning is in place along much of Broadway where numerous buildings with the same kind of setbacks were built beginning in the 1980s, although most of those had more symmetrical setbacks because they were on larger sites.
10. 1050 Fifth Avenue
This relatively plain “luxury” apartment house on the northwest corner at 86th Street has a highly articulated top with many angled terraces across the street from the very handsome and low-rise Neue Museum.
In many ways, New York City terraces bring a greater sense of cachet than balconies because they are more substantial than their shelf-like counterparts. It’s all about the glamour of the city.
Carter Horsley is the editorial director of CityRealty.com and the former real estate editor and architecture critic of the New York Post. Previously, he was a reporter for the New York Times and architecture critic for the International Herald Tribune.