Looking straight up the facade of 55 Central Park West (1929) through two art deco forms.
55 Central Park West, New York, New York: 24 January 2014
part of the 55 Central Park West album
An amazing example of art deco design, I make a point to visit 55 Central Park West anytime I find myself in New York City. Designed by the architectural firm of Schwartz and Gross and built in 1929, the building is best known for its appearance in the 1984 film Ghostbusters.
Unlike the enhanced Hollywood version of the building in the film, 55 Central Park West is a nineteen-floor housing cooperative featuring a duplex penthouse with incredible views and a rooftop water tank enclosed in a decorative tower.
The building is noted for the gradient color scheme in the brick facade as well as being the first completely art deco structure on the street. It is part of the Central Park West Historic District and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on 09 November 1982.
My favorite detail is how the designs on the portico marquee match the rest of the building, creating a logo-like mark that seems to represent the building and its overall form.
There was scaffolding up or other work being done on most if not all of my prior visits, so I was very pleased to discover the building in its pure form and without any shroud obscuring the detail and view.
I spent about fifteen minutes looking at the building and taking my photographs. At one point, a woman walking downtown stopped and mentioned to me how much she loves the building.
Despite the cold, I was surprised how few people were walking around Central Park West. On the other hand, my walk though Central Park after this was itself abbreviated.
When my mother first took me here as a child in the mid-1980s, the nice doorman was happy to entertain my Ghostbusters questions and let me take a look inside the lobby. Having had that experience and it being 19° out, I decided not to bother the current staff and simply waved politely.
According to StreetEasy, the building's apartments feature "high beamed ceilings, sunken living rooms, grand scale formal dining rooms, formal entry foyers, herringbone floors and casement windows."
Sharing the block to the south is the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church (1904). Originally founded in 1868, the church relocated here from West 21st Street for more space. In Ghostbusters lore, the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man destroys the church while attacking the protagonists prompting Bill Murray's memorable line as Dr. Peter Venkman: "Nobody steps on a church in my town!"
It was already getting dark by time I arrived, unfortunately preventing the shaded bricks from really showing off. As I still had two quick stops to make before dinner with a friend nineteen blocks uptown, I crossed back to the Central Park side of the street and was on my way.