163 East 64th Street
Upper East Side
New York, NY 10065
About the Property
Its current owner continued in this rich tradition, preserving many of the original details from the 1872 construction and later restoration, while adding his own sophisticated detailing and finishes to the house that were overseen by noted designer Ronald Bricke.
Today the house is widely celebrated as a timeless classic. Its floorplate, built 90 feet deep, while most townhouses in the area are only half that depth, allows for over 8,000 square feet of majestic living. There is no single pièce de résistance, but the house has a number of spaces that qualify. This includes the parlor floor, with its bold 13.5 foot ceilings and parquet de Versailles floors. The parlor floor is graced with an original 1872 English Pine library and a Louis XIV styled living room adorned with canvases inspired by the Fragonard room of the Frick collection. Other details on the floor inspire a sense of awe and wonder: a Lalique glass ceiling, a Belle Epogue American Walnut bar, and an elegant formal dining room worthy to host a Head-of-State. Atop the home, on the same floor as the primary bedroom suite, is a European designed private rooftop garden that simply must be seen to be fully appreciated.
The house melds form and function, with 5 bedroom suites, 5 full bathrooms, 3 powder rooms, 8 fireplaces, and a swift but elegant elevator which services each splendid floor (including the basement). Its exterior facade, stunning any time of day, any time of year, is one of the most photographed in the city. While its blue limestone sidewalk is striking, it also features a radiant snow-melting system beneath it.
The writings of architectural critic Montgomery Schuyler still ring true, even a century after he observed the following on Neo-Georgian townhouses like 163 East 64th Street. These houses, he would state, are “more suitable to the needs and notions of the modern New Yorker than any manner of building which had followed it.”
Listing courtesy of Jessica C Campbell of Nest Seekers
Change on the Upper East Side was significant during the particularly sweltering summer of 1902. The existing townhouses of the era were undergoing a transition with home after home razed to the ground in order to make way for apartment houses or newly styled brownstones. Almost no townhouse survived the wrecking ball. But one did.
In July of that summer, The Real Estate Record & Builders’ Guide noted that a contract had been awarded for the renovation – not demolition – of John Prague’s 1872 townhouse located at 163 East 64th Street. The house now belonged to architect R.D. Graham, who set out to make it like nothing else in New York.
The original Victorian designed house was converted by Graham to Neo-Georgian. Raked limestone was added to its base. Red brick in a diamond pattern and cast iron window boxes were installed above. A fashionable mansard roof added a crescendo to the imposing facade.
163 East 64th was the first grand turn-of-the-century renovation on this block. Others would follow. Imitations and copycats would abound. But there would only be one townhouse of this providence and significance. Over time, the house would be occupied by storied New York families who never converted the house – like so many in the area – to a multi-family dwelling. This townhouse avoided that unglamorous fate and remained an exemplar of Neo-Georgian design.