It’s not every day that Manhattan gets a striking new addition to the skyline, but the slender skyscraper that has been rising high over Central Park at 111 West 57th Street is finally nearing completion. Located between Sixth and Seventh Avenues on what’s known as Billionaire’s Row, the building combines the historic Steinway Hall and a new supertall tower—the second tallest residential building in the western hemisphere—by SHoP Architects with interiors by Studio Sofield. Departures got an exclusive first look at the building’s entry sequence, images of which have never been published before.
The building spans an entire block between 57th and 58th Streets, with a pedestrian entrance through Steinway Hall on 57th Street and a private double-height porte-cochere on 58th Street where the loading dock that once received the pianos was located. Steinway Hall was built in 1924-25 by Warren & Wetmore, the firm that gave us stately Beaux-Arts icons such as Grand Central Terminal and the New York Yacht Club, and received landmark status in 2001. Its interior rotunda, which features Ionic columns and ceiling murals inspired by Imperial Roman and Italian Renaissance paintings, was designated an interior landmark in 2013. Much more than just a showroom for the famed piano maker, Steinway Hall hosted performances and lavish receptions. For its opening night celebration in 1925, musicians from the New York Philharmonic performed for an audience of 300 members of New York’s high society.
“What I wanted to do was create a series of emotional experiences that are quite sumptuous and rely on materials, so it captures the spirit of the old Steinway Hall, which had a certain grandeur and luxury to it, without copying or reproducing anything directly,” Bill Sofield, principal of Sofield Studio, told Departures.
Upon entering the building, a series of opulent-yet-understated rooms leads to the lobby with its concierge desk and elevator banks. Limestone walls, a lily of the valley frieze with cast glass flowers backed by gold leaf, and a pair of fused glass urns with decorative gold palms lend the lobby a sense of grandeur, while a gold and silver leaf mural depicting elephants escaping from the Central Park Zoo adds a playful touch while nodding to the ivory used in piano keys. Sofield commissioned Brooklyn-based artist John Opella to create the mural and collaborated with Long Island City-based painter Nancy Lorenz to fashion the etched bronze elevator doors.
“In all my work, what I try to do is pay tribute to the local artisans and craftsmen that are still alive because I think it’s an important social responsibility to keep those people alive and well,” Sofield, who has designed lavish residences and retail spaces for the likes of Tom Ford, Ferragamo, and Gucci, says.
Every detail, right down to the custom bronze door handles that allude to the skyscraper’s shape, was created specifically for this building and won’t be seen anywhere else. “I’ve always been above all committed to craft and excellence,” Sofield adds. “I was given free reign, really, to outdo myself. So while it’s grand, it has a lot of humor and personality to it.”
Within Steinway Hall, there are residences that range in size from 2,580 square feet to 5,269 square feet for the Landmark Penthouse, which features extensive private terraces. Tower residences range from a spacious 3,873 square feet to 7,128 square feet and start at $16 million. Because each residence occupies an entire floor in the tower, residents don’t have to choose between Central Park views and views looking downtown, which feature the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building—they get both.
Sofield brought the same level of attention to detail to the residences, which feature sumptuous white onyx bathrooms with nickel-and-bronze bathtubs, kitchens with custom curved cabinetry, and tranquil living rooms and bedrooms that let the breathtaking views of the city steal the show. Buyers also have the option to customize their residence with a bathtub carved from a single block of onyx.
Residents get exclusive access to amenities, including an 82-foot indoor swimming pool flanked by cabanas, a spa with sauna, steam, and treatment rooms, a double-height fitness center, a private dining room and chef’s catering kitchen, and a lounge with an expansive terrace, meeting rooms, and a study area.
“This is kind of a perfect storm,” Sofield muses. “This will never happen again in Manhattan’s history—this beautiful building placed exactly on center with Central Park. There are other tall buildings, but none are crafted this way and certainly there’ll never be one with this dead-on center view—almost a carpet of Manhattan at your feet.”