Manhattan’s Upper West Side is a repository of striking architecture—it seems like every block features a different, breathtaking example of residential construction. One of these is the Park Royal, located on 73rd Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West. A co-op since 1985, the building has twice been named one of the top ten most desirable co-ops in the city.
An Apartment Hotel
The Park Royal was originally designed as an innovation in New York City living—the apartment hotel.
After the turn of the last century, from the time of the construction of the Dakota (which is just down the block from the Park Royal) through the Golden Age of luxury apartment building in the 1920’s and 30’s, developers faced a challenge. As space became more and more of a premium and the economics of the city changed, developers had to sell the idea of apartment living to New Yorkers—many very wealthy—who had previously lived in private homes.
One of the aims of buildings like the Dakota, for example, was to lure people not only to the Upper West Side, but out of their townhouses, says Victor Principe of Prudential Douglas Elliman. The key was making apartments feel more like houses…or mansions. “When you walk into these apartments,” says Principe, “you feel like you are walking into a home.”
The Park Royal also offered something different. The George F. Pelham-designed building offered all the conveniences of a hotel, yet each resident could individually design their own home. Occupants also enjoyed full-time maid service, which was in fact part of each lease—releasing the owner of cleaning and other domestic duties.