When the Parkview opened at 777 Madison Avenue in 1908, the Upper East Side was still known for opulent single family mansions, not French flats.
But apartment living was catching on among the rich, particularly on the Upper West Side with the Dakota and similar buildings.
The architecturally diverse Parkview, which mixes Flemish, French, and English Gothic styles to create what one contemporary critic calls “eclectic elegance,” therefore had no trouble finding renters.
And why not? Behind the elaborate facade of arches, multi-paned windows, and a rounded corner that slightly resembles a Medieval tower were luxurious and spacious apartments, just two per floor.
“The public areas of each included a room-sized windowed foyer, a music room, a dining room (plus a small conservatory), a living room, and a large salon, all totaling about 1600 square feet,” states Andrew Alpern’s Luxurious Apartment Houses of Manhattan.
Don’t forget the 3-4 bedrooms, rooms for household help, and the bedroom for the lady of the house’s maid.
Wealthy and prominent New Yorkers flocked to the building, which shows up frequently in what was once known as the “society” pages of the newspaper, filled with announcements of weddings, new babies, and other milestones people with money wanted everyone to know about.
Dwarfing the rows of brownstones that surrounded it, the Parkview underwent slight alterations as the neighborhood became more commercial.
A protective railing around the ground floor was removed to make way for business tenants. The Parkview name was ditched too; the residence was then known as 777 Madison, and later, 45 East 66th Street.
After World War II, many of the grand apartments were carved into smaller units, and in 1977, the building achieved landmark status.
Now a collection of pricey co-ops, this lovely building with incredible detail and ornamentation is a monument to a turn-of-the-century apartment living.
It’s arguably the most eye-catching residence on Upper Madison Avenue, and it even has a celebrity tenant: Rudy Giuliani.
[Images: second, NYPL Digital Gallery; third, NYPL Digital Gallery; fifth, MCNY Collections Portal]