205 West 89th Street (Astor Court)
Location: 205 West 89th Street (Broadway between 89th and 90th Streets)
Type: Apartment Building
Architect: Charles A. Platt
Developer/Owner/Builder: Vincent Astor
Primary Style: Italian palazzo
Wish List: Current Wish List
Robert A.M. Stern calls Astor Court “perhaps the loveliest of all the courtyard apartments built between 1900 and the First World War,” a nice compliment since the arrangement of apartments around a central courtyard places this building in the company of such august West Side landmarks as the Apthorp (Clinton & Russell, 1906-08) and the Belnord (Hiss & Weekes, 1908-09). Astor Court occupies the full block front along Broadway. Residents accessed their homes via the interior garden with entrances on West 89th and 90th Streets. Charles A. Platt – architect, landscape architect and artist – frequently collaborated with the Astors, who by the time they commissioned Astor Court had amassed one of New York’s largest fortunes, mainly in real estate. In 1912, John Jacob Astor IV perished aboard the Titanic, leaving his son, Vincent, to take over the family business. Astor Court was one of Vincent Astor’s first large-scale development projects. He went on to establish the influential Vincent Astor Foundation, which became a major cultural force under the leadership of his wife, Brooke Astor (Vincent Astor died in 1959). The most impressive exterior feature of this 13-story, Italian-palazzo-style building is its immense, classically styled cornice, originally painted in gold and red to recall ancient monuments. So many unprotected apartment buildings have been stripped of their monumental tops, making Astor Court’s boldly projecting cornice a landmark on the Broadway skyline.