It’s Free to Look: 953 Fifth Avenue

Don't be fooled by this waif of a building. This seven-duplex co-op is the building that felled an architect, enticed a billionaire and has views that are apparently fit for a queen.

At least so went the original sales pitch for the building, which promised "a view as fine as Windsor Castle." All that for $81,000 for a top-floor duplex. Of course, while you still get "extraordinary expansive park and city views" from this high-floor unit, it will now set you back a princely $10.5 million.

This 25-foot spot was reportedly one of the obsessions of architect I. N. Phelps Stokes, who used it to finance that other obsession -- a six-volume "Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498-1909." When, shockingly, that turned out not to be a best-seller, he lost his fortune and the apartment as well.

You, too, may find yourself strangely preoccupied with the original details, including "rich hardwood floors, mahogany doors, attractive architectural details and multiple fireplaces," according to the Brown Harris Stevens listing. And, of course, it's the rare 25-foot, 14-story building that offers "all the charm of a townhouse, suspended over Central Park."

But if it's real nobility you seek, this was once the home of the richest man in the world. That's probably as close as you're going to get. -- Laura Kusisto

 

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Don’t be fooled by this waif of a building. This seven-duplex co-op is the building that felled an architect, enticed a billionaire and has views that are apparently fit for a queen.

At least so went the original sales pitch for the building, which promised “a view as fine as Windsor Castle.” All that for $81,000 for a top-floor duplex. Of course, while you still get “extraordinary expansive park and city views” from this high-floor unit, it will now set you back a princely $10.5 million.

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