Is This George Jetson’s New York City Apartment??

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…

apt (1)

What the hell was this crazy apartment??

apt (2)

Covered on all sides by curving windows, the top-most floor hangs precariously out on two beams…

apt (3)

…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?

apt (4)

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…

apt (5)

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:

apt (6)

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:

apt (7)

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.

apt (8a)

Too bad – where is George Jetson going to land his flying car?


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  1. Why would someone build such a living space but not take the time to properly run HVAC and instead have to use window units?

  2. Here are a few photos from a party he threw a while back. Not great, but it gives you an idea of the space. Not nearly as cool as I would have hoped, all things considered!

  3. I used to pass this while walking down Lexington to the 68th Street station and always wondered what it was. I tried looking it up but never found anything.

    To me, it always looked like an RV parked on top of a building with two legs supporting it.

  4. I can see this building from my apartment too! (I live on 55th between 2nd and 3rd) I’ve always wondered what it was.. Thanks for the info!

  5. Thank you for your post. I love terraces in Manhattan.
    Would love to visit this Penthouse if I can. Probably, perfect location for a film shoot. I am fashion photographer myself and by the way want to shoot film as well.
    By the way, good luck to you with your’s as well.
    Thank you
    Val Steiner
    646 643 8008

  6. Zooming in, it looks like someone lying on that deck chair on the right, next to the strip of green shrubs. You can see what looks like two sneakers, like they’re asleep. That’s pretty creepy. Love the link to NYSD, I read DPC daily as well.

  7. Its really ugly is what it is… and high… I don’t like high all that much, so I guess I’d be pretty useless if I lived in NY…

    Perth – Australia

  8. There used to be a location of the Health and Racquet Club on the 8th floor. I loved to swim in their pool with the glass walls and roof until an enormous window fell off the building and crashed into the roof of the pool. I had called the club that week and they said there was “no pool at this location”. Uh, what? When I pressed they said “there was an incident”. The health club later closed.

    Sadly, this is also the building where Eric Clapton’s son died.

    On a happier note, there is a Mendy’s kosher restaurant in the atrium lobby, btw.

  9. I used to work at Sony Music on 55th and Madison and this apt. is clearly visible from many conference rooms – I was always told it was David Copperfield’s house and the nydailynews link proves it! Thanks Carol… glad I wasn’t teased about that one. I love this building though….

  10. David Copperfield owns that PH apartment

  11. When he had the apartment built Mott commented that he wanted “to live heliotropically.”

  12. Mott was an early enviro and wanted to grow vegetables on the roof. He somehow got tons of topsoil up there and had greenhouses set up for winter harvesting. Looks like the apartment is blazingly hot all year round which is why the curtains are all drawn. Probably didn’t want central air conditioning because he was nuts.

  13. Where is Astro’s walking treadmill?

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  16. Thats the house where Eric Claptons son Conor fell from a window from the 53 th floor. He was staying there with his mum Lory del Santo and her boyfriend. Terrible accident….

  17. I remember when Stewart Mott was building this and most of New York couldn’t stop talking about it!