John Jacob Astor amassed a huge fortune before perishing on the Titanic in 1912. His son, Vincent Astor, 20 years old at the time, was a student at Harvard. He inherited $87 million from his father’s estate and stepped into the sprawling family real estate business. His first project was the $1 million Astor Court apartments on Broadway that took up the entire block from 89th to 90th Street. Built in 1914, this 13 story
U-shaped brick building, has entrances on both 89th and 90th Street. It has a rather reserved red brick façade, topped with an exceptional great copper cornice that overhangs from the roof and projects out eight feet. Charles A. Platt, a skilled architect, landscape architect and artist, designed all aspects of the project.
However, one of the most distinguishing features of this building is not visible from the street. It is the gloriously landscaped outdoor garden court that sits between the two sides of the building. Buff color bricks cover the rear façade, helping to lighten up the space . There are many cozy places where residents can sit with friends and neighbors. Robert A. M Stern called Astor Court “perhaps the loveliest of all courtyard apartments built between 1900 and the First World War”.
Vincent Astor sold the building in 1922 and many of the original six-to nine room apartments were ultimately divided up, but some gracious layouts still remain. When the building converted to co-op in 1985, the garden was revitalized with flowering plants and mature shade trees, making this private outdoor space one of the true gems of the Upper West Side.
Astor Court in 1922
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