Something of an oddity on Park Avenue will be returned to its original purpose. On Tuesday, April 12, the Landmarks Preservation Commission approved additions and reconfigurations on the townhouse at 890 Park Avenue, located between East 78th Street and East 79th Street, paving the way for it to again become a single-family home.
The charming Queen Anne style home was designed by James E. Ware and built between 1884 and 1885. While Park Avenue’s now iconic street wall ascended around it, 890 remained its little self, though it was converted to an 11-unit structure, and a doctor’s office was even added. In 1981, it received the LPC’s protection when the Upper East Side Historic District was designated.
There will be many changes to the home and they have been designed by architect Shae Murdock of Chelsea-based Murdock Solon Architects. The most controversial when the proposal was first presented in February was the highly visible rooftop addition. It looked like someone had plopped a big box right on top. This time, scaled down addition was proposed. It will still result in the home having six floors.
Entering the structure used to be accomplished by climbing a stoop, but, in 1907, the configuration was changed to more of an areaway-type arrangement, with steps to descend. Steps will be returned to the entrance, which will be double-height with a wood door with frosted glass. In the February presentation, Murdock called it “a gesture to its original identity of having a stoop.”
There will be reconfigurations on the west and north elevations. The north elevation will receive new windows. Additionally, the front façade will receive a full restoration job.
Plans show a pool, sauna, wine cellar, and laundry room in the cellar and an exercise room and media room in the basement. Above, there will be four bedrooms and the house will have six full bathrooms, plus four powder rooms.
LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called the modified proposal “much better.” “Way way better,” said Commissioner Michael Goldblum, though he asked that the glass at the top be set back even more. In the commission’s approval, they asked that the applicant work with LPC staff to accomplish that.
View the full presentation slides here: