High-End UWS Development At 101 West 78th Street Blends The Classic With Contemporary

On the Upper West Side’s coveted streets, old school elegance and new school chic go hand in hand.

By Jeff Vasishta February 16, 2017
Renderings courtesy of GTIS Partners

There’s a lot to like about the Upper West Side—Central Park, museums, restaurants and great schools. An enclave of established, assured New York wealth. In recent years, it’s been the established part that has also been its Achilles heel.

Old money means old buildings. For many a historic apartment complex, it means old plumbing and pipes, and air conditioning units that rumble in the summer like a diesel locomotive. Creaking floorboards and paint, layered like frosting on a cake, has been a reason for buyers to seek out glassy towers downtown or on the condos on newly rejuvenated Upper East Side. All the glass and steel, though, just doesn’t say New York like stately red brick, cornices and sculptured grotesques.

It’s what the developers of 101 West 78th Street, a completely gut renovated 23-unit apartment complex that screams contemporary on the inside but exudes classic on the outside, have intended.

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Built in the late 19th century and designed by Emile Gruwe, 101 West 78th Street is a mix of two-to-five-bedroom homes, including one full-floor penthouse. Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing is spearheading the sales and marketing for the property, with a team led by Anne Sullivan Young and Amanda J. Young.

We’re proud to be the stewards for this remarkable, pre-war property, preserving the graciousness of space and detail while bringing it into a new era of modern, luxury living,” said developer Tom Shapiro, GTIS’ President. “We’re offering a rare opportunity – a combination of superior location, old-world architecture and modern design. It is unparalleled.”

There’s little doubting the quality of the elegance and finishes of the apartments which are airy  and light with featuring marble fireplaces, eat-in kitchens, formal dining rooms, and large bedroom suites. The kitchens are also bright, a collaboration with Stephen Sills that feature handcrafted British cabinetry, White Carrara honed marble slab countertops and backsplash, and integrated Miele appliances. More marble abounds in the bathrooms with custom white smoke lacquer vanities and Waterworks fixtures.

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In the instances that newer apartment buildings are built on the Upper West Side, attempting to emulate the shimmering towers downtown is not a good idea. Understated elegance is the order or the day around the leafy streets near Central Park. Developers such as The Naftali Group’s building at 210 West 77th Street and its sister property 221 West 77th Street, which replaced parking garages, made sure their buildings were not steel and glass behemoths reflecting blinding sunlight onto the streets below, but rather muted and soft, blending in with the old world architecture.

Juliet balconies and terraced setbacks help blur the lines. The building at 210 West 77th features a brick and bronze exterior with mahogany French doors, while 221 West 77th has casement windows set into precast stone.

“The Upper West Side is so texture-y and neighborhood-y, it always seemed like such a disconnect to me when developers threw up glass towers,” Stribling and Associates broker Alexa Lambert told The New York Times.

Other buildings on the U.W.S. which blend the classic and contemporary include the Chamberlain, an Art Deco-inspired tower at 269 West 87th Street designed by FXFowle. The 39-unit building, which is being developed by Simon Baron Development and Quadrum Global. As with 101 W.78th St it has a brick and masonry exterior.

“They didn’t want a building that would feel like a cacophony on the Upper West Side,” Ann Froelich, an associate real estate broker at Douglas Elliman, which is handling sales at the project, told The Times.

Of course, one of the main differences between the newer buildings in older shells compared to their former incarnations is the fact that not only are the apartments and mechanicals completely new—but the amenities now exist where none did before. A fitness center, children’s playroom, and bicycle and stroller storage are available at 101 West 78th Street. Both the Chamberlain and 221 West 77th, for example, have half-court basketball courts along with the prerequisite fitness center, children’s playroom. The Chamberlain has a library lounge and garden courtyard.

High-end finishes and amenities are now par for the course in buildings where apartments priced from anything from $2-$12 million and more.

“I think that developers realized that the market was going to be crowded,” Ms. Lambert said told The Times. “Whatever price sector they’re building for, they now know they have to do a little bit better.”


Jeff Vasishta



Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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