An East Side apartment house’s Medieval touches

If the Cloisters is your kind of art museum, then the eight-story building at 40 East 62nd Street is probably your kind of apartment house.

Built in 1911—right about when this block between Park and Madison Avenues was transitioning from a stretch of single-family homes and horse stables—it takes its cues from a Medieval castle.

“Designed by Albert J. Bodker, it is a startling work, a Medieval-style tapestry of brick and glazed terra cotta, with an ebulliently ornamental parapet and vertical bays of windows to light the parlors,” wrote Christopher Gray in a 2006 New York Times piece.

Fierce griffins, foliage, a pointed-arch entrance, battlements, and shields make the building seem like it belongs in Middle Ages, according to the Upper East Side Historic District Designation Report from 1981.

The interior of the building I can’t speak to. But the apartments were meant for the wealthy, as this 1915 ad shows.

Seven rooms, three bathrooms, extra servants rooms, lots of light—nice, right?

Amenities like these on an elegant block would appeal to New York’s elite—like Henry Hardenburgh, architect behind the Dakota and the Plaza, who made his home here, according to the AIA Guide to New York City.

[Ad: New York Times, September 1915]

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10 Responses to “An East Side apartment house’s Medieval touches”

  1. countrypaul Says:

    I never cease to be amazed at the number of buildings in New York that would be monuments in other cities, yet here they just blend into the fabric of the city. Thank yu for highlighting this “strand” of the fabric.

  2. beth Says:

    that’s such a cool find

  3. ironrailsironweights Says:

    Trulia has a couple of apartments in the building for sale, both around $3.7 million.

    Peter

  4. Bookpod Says:

    You find the most extraordinary architecture.

  5. Bill Dinan Says:

    My father worked part-time at the Links Club, next door, in the 50s and 60s. I remember this building from the times he would occasionally bring me with him. Thanks for your chronicling. Now it’s on my list of buildings to photograph on my next trip to the city!

  6. alewifecove Says:

    Great find. Do you know if Christopher Gray ever published anything outside of the Times?

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