|Address||205 West 57th Street|
|Town or city||New York, NY|
|Floor count||11 (front)
|Design and construction|
NYC Landmark #224
Osborne Apartments in 2008
|Location||205 West 57th Street,
New York, New York
|Architectural style||Renaissance, Romanesque|
|NRHP Reference #||93000333|
|Added to NRHP||April 22, 1993|
|Designated NYCL||August 13, 1991|
|Main contractor||Thomas Osborne|
The Osborne Apartments are located at 205 West 57th Street in New York City. The Osborne began construction in 1883 and was completed in 1885 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 22, 1993.
The building stands behind its dour and reticent rusticated brownstone cladding, on the northwest corner of 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, catercorner from Carnegie Hall. The Osborne, far less prominent for the city's visitors than The Dakota, was designed and built by James Edward Ware in 1883–85 and expanded with an annex to the west in 1906, designed by Alfred S. G. Taylor and Julien Clarence Levi. The stone contractor Thomas Osborne, whose ruinous speculative investment it was, gave the building his name. A visual connection to Osborne House, Queen Victoria's summer residence in the Isle of Wight is also made.
Three modillioned cornices divide the height into three broad horizontal bandings, with a two-story attic added for servants' quarters in 1891 that is capped with a top cornice. The original building is constructed of masonry bearing walls ranging from 4 1/2 feet thick at its base to 18 inches at the top floor. The 1906 Annex is constructed of steel-framing behind brick and brownstone curtain walls.
Its range of street-level shopfronts is broken at the center of the main, 57th Street front by its entrance. The unusually richly decorated lobby, in American Renaissance taste, has stuccoed and mosaic-tiled walls, floors that mix tile mosaics and slabs of varicolored Italian marble. Complementary marble was used for the wainscoting and carved marble recesses with benches. Mosaics and glazed terracotta "Della Robbia" panels cover the walls and ceilings in rich hues of red, blue and gold leaf. with contributions by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the great sculptor of the American Renaissance, the muralist John La Farge, glass by Tiffany Studios and French designer Jacob Adolphus Holzer.
The Osborne was uniquely designed with 11 stories on the south-facing 57th Street front, containing the parade rooms of the apartments—foyers, parlors, dining rooms, with 14-foot ceilings—and 14 stories on the back, where bedrooms and private baths were either up or down a flight of seven steps, and the ceilings were just over 8 feet high. In 1891, the 11th-floor attic, which occupied the southern section of the building only, was extended to the north edge of the building to provide additional servants quarters, making it now 15 stories in the rear. About half of the spacious Gilded Age apartments, originally just four to a floor, in a variety of spatial configurations with separate servant quarters, have been subdivided since World War I. Floors are of parquet with banded edgings, fireplaces richly carved with tiled surrounds. Insulated walls thirty inches thick insulate apartments from neighbors' noise.
The Osborne Apartments building was designated an official city landmark in 1991.
Leonard Bernstein lived in three apartments at The Osborne for a number of years before he moved to The Dakota. Café singer Bobby Short moved to The Osborne from his studio in Carnegie Tower across the avenue. The actor Dane Clark lived in The Osborne, as did pianist Van Cliburn, director Harold Clurman, and actresses Lynn Redgrave and Vera Miles. The academy award-winning actor Gig Young was living there with his wife of three weeks when he killed her and then himself in a murder-suicide. Newscaster Charles Osgood has an apartment, as well as TCM's Robert Osborne, Composer-Lyricists Maury Yeston and Adam Guettel as well as artist Peter Beard and novelist Elinor Lipman.. Other residents noted in Faith Stewart-Gordon's chatty memoir include pianist André Watts; Gary and Naomi Graffman; writer Hortense Calisher; Curtis Harnack; Leo Lerman; Gray Foy; Maude Franchot; Shirley Booth; Mrs Olin Downs; Larry Byden and his two children; Lynn Redgrave and her husband John Clark and their two children; Judge Joseph Proskauer; Blanche Thebom; Tom Poston; Harold Fonville; Eva Brown; Caroline Bell; Mike Midlin; Sylvia Miles; Louis d'Almeida; The Baroness Dalrup and her family; Rose Tobias and Dane Clark.
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Manhattan from 14th to 59th Streets
- List of New York City Designated Landmarks in Manhattan from 14th to 59th Streets
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "Loosely modeled on an Italian-Renaissance palace"(Andrew S. Dolkart, The Architecture and Development of New York City); "this huge clunky mass neatly defeats stylistic description, and it is really the vernacular of the practical building, quite innocent of esthetic pretension" (Christopher Gray, "Streetscapes/The Osborne; Restoring a Stone Dealer's Idiosyncratic Building", The New York Times February 6, 1994).
- The most extensive description of the Osborne is Andrew Alpern's essay in Luxury Apartment Houses of Manhattan, An Illustrated History, (Dover Publications, New York), 1992.
- [Barbara Whitaker, "Habitats/The Osborne, 205 West 57th Street", The New York Times], October 12, 1997.
- City Realty: The Osborne
- Alleman, Richard, and Richard Alleman. New York: the Movie Lover's Guide : the Ultimate Insider Tour of Movie New York. New York: Broadway, 2005. Print.
- Illustrations of interiors
- Stewart-Gordon, The Russian Tea Room: A Love Story