The other day, I was scouting a midtown office space with some pretty great views. As I was taking pictures, I noticed something a few blocks north…
What the hell was this crazy apartment??
Covered on all sides by curving windows, the top-most floor hangs precariously out on two beams…
…with a crazy four-story stairwell zig-zagging down to a terrace below. Seriously, can you imagine what it must be like to go up and down these stairs at about 55 stories up?
I looked it up as soon as I got home and learned that this was originally designed as the four-story, 16,000 square foot penthouse for eccentric philanthropist Stewart Mott, a General Motors heir, located at 117 East 57th Street.
From Mott’s 2008 NY Times obituary: “He once lived on a Chinese junk (a type of ship) as a self-described beatnik and kept notes to himself on Turkish cigarette boxes, accumulating thousands. He held folk music festivals to promote peace and love.” Mott, who had a tremendous interest in gardening and once proclaimed he lay awake at night wondering how to grow a better radish, built the space – and never moved in. The property was later purchased by David Copperfield.
By chance, I happened to be in another building a few days later offering a different angle…
The way it’s perched on top of the rest of the building, it almost feels like the top floor could take off like a UFO:
And I have to admit, with all those curved windows, I started wondering if the inside bore any resemblance to the Jetsons’ apartment.
Another close-up of the multi-level terrace:
Finally, here’s a bird’s eye view to give you a sense of how much terrace space there is. That almost looks like a helicopter landing pad on the southern side, but I can’t find any mention of a helipad at the property.
Too bad – where is George Jetson going to land his flying car?