A rendering of the rooftop terrace at 170 Amsterdam Avenue.

You’ll have to pay up if you want to live in one of the most talked-about buildings on the Upper West Side.

170-amsterdam-apartments-upper-west-side-1Apartments in the new Equity Residential building at 170 Amsterdam Avenue (68th street) have hit the market, with an expected move-in date of April 20. Studios start at $3,365, one-bedrooms at $4,790, and two-bedrooms at $7,485. Three-bedrooms don’t have prices attached — you have to call the management to apply. The full leasing site is here.

While some readers have called the new building the X-box and World Cage Center, the leasing site compares it to a more natural phenomenon: a tree.

“The building’s unique exoskeletal design, like branches of a grand tree, cradle the open and airy interior space. Floor-to-ceiling windows with cityscape views, wood flooring, quartz stone counters and stainless steel appliances are among the fine features. Amenities include 24/7 concierge, a rooftop terrace, a lobby lounge overlooking a private garden, fitness area, yoga room and a children’s playroom.”

There’s a wide variety of floor plans given the building’s somewhat unorthodox shape. Below, check out one floor plan for a two-bedroom. The black dots are presumably the exoskeleton.



Renderings via 170 Amsterdam Avenue leasing site.

NEWS, REAL ESTATE | 46 comments | permalink
    1. Howard Freeman says:

      why not.

    2. Paul RL says:

      It may not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s nice to see someone bring some bold new architecture to the UWS. More please!

    3. Harriet says:

      I too like the bold architecture. I LOVE the striking “weirdness” of the block. The old library turned into a synagogue, the undulating facade of the newly built synagogue, this new building, and the little old-world Citibank building. BTW, these rents are no higher than what they are getting at the new corner of 72nd and Broadway, above Trader Joe’s. I can’t pay it, but certainly enough people can that it makes sense to the builders.

    4. Mee says:

      Ouch. I’ve been waiting to see how they topped off the posts and it looks like an inelegant afterthought. Good luck also trying to keep those sills pigeon free and the windows clean. (With every new exoskeleton, comes s new challenge for maintenance.)

    5. Mark says:

      Rich people always live in tiny apartments with no windows in their bathroom. Real “luxury”

    6. al says:

      $7,485 for that 2 bedroom….CRIMINAL!

    7. 24gotham says:

      A welcome relief from the banal value engineered crap most developers are throwing up these days. There is good and interesting modern architecture being built today but it is all too frequently “dumbed” down to save money on construction as well as appeal to the lemmings who know nothing of good design.

    8. Lisa says:

      Reminds me of a Las Vega shotel. Sorry – don’t like it on many levels.

    9. AC says:

      As an engineer who has worked with several architects, I can appreciate “out of the box” thinking. But I also believe that there is a time & place for everything. This building is very unique and ‘purty’, but it does not blend in with its surroundings. The UWS is not an upcoming hipster neighborhood looking for an identity. Sadly, this building does not fit in and sticks out like a sore thumb.

    10. Dan says:

      Just plain ugly!!

    11. webot says:

      bold architectural statement.

      thumbs up.

      sure beats the blighted empty taxpayer it replaced.

      i remember the old dirty Woolworth’s there……and burger king ……then shuttered for a long time

      • AC says:

        Remember the disco Sweetwaters? Going way back now , , ,

        • webot says:

          too young to go, but yes sweet waters was right next to the blood bank….

          also, i recall a bagel place and woolworths lunch counter.

          i lived at lincoln towers, and yes great apartments and community, but not attractive buildings and bulldozing blocks of pre-wars, removing the street grid, in the name of urban renewal was a bad idea. See opening of West Side story movie for what it was before…..not so bad!

    12. Aaron says:

      i live next to it, i saw it going up, and i am forced to gaze upon it every day. it is ugly as sin, it is inefficiently designed, it is completely incongruous to the rest of the neighborhood — and anyone dumb enough to dump that much money to live directly on top of Amsterdam Ave (adjacent to a very active firehouse and a hulking abandoned synagogue that doubles as an outdoor homeless shelter)… well, no offense, but they deserve exactly what they get.

      oh, and good luck with those heating bills. the floors stick out at least a foot beyond the windows, which means that renters will be paying to heat/cool their apartments, as well as a comfortable perch for pigeons to poop on.

      • webot says:

        Aaron is that a failed attempt to scare away renters or just sour grapes?

        you are an authority on heating and cooling systems?

        also, you write you live next to it, does that make you “dumb enough to live directly on top of Amsterdam Ave (adjacent to a very active firehouse and a hulking abandoned synagogue that doubles as an outdoor homeless shelter).” ?

        IMHO, the immediate blocks are poor urban planning – super blocks, tower in park, outdoor parking – so it is the exact location for compelling , startling , forward thinking architecture.

        • Aaron says:

          You rather brazenly misquoted me. I live in this neighborhood because I can afford it, not because I think it’s the nicest area of the UWS or Manhattan as a whole. If I had $7500 to blow on rent each month, it would definitely not be in that location.

          Also, regarding the heating/cooling issue, don’t take my word for it — just ask an architect or a building engineer. When you have more exposed areas of a surface floor, that surface will absorb more heat and cold from the outdoors. And pigeon poop.

    13. Ferber says:

      Let the sanctimonious hand-wringing commence!

    14. Giunia says:

      What does HP on the floor plan mean?

    15. Bruce Bernstein says:

      i wonder what the demographic profile of the people who actually rent these apartments is. Why would someone spend that much on rent and not buy? Are these pied a terres for rich foreigners?

      I don’t understand it at all. But i could never afford something like that.

      • Jeremy says:

        It’s more or less consistent with the Larstrand, Aire, Grand Tier, Melar, and modern buildings like that. I’m in one of those buildings – mostly very normal people. It has been worth it for me.

        • Aaron says:

          lol… I’m not sure I even want to ask how much “normal people” earn in income each year to afford such a boondoggle. After taxes and everything else, that kind of monthly rent would seem to be relatively high even for someone with a mid six-figure salary. So unless you happen to know a lot of “normal people” who make $500k+/year, I’m not sure about your perspective here.

          • Jeremy says:

            I don’t judge people by how much they make. My neighbors seem like pretty good folks. I’m sure a number of them make more than $500k.

            • Eric says:

              If one assumes that rent is 1/3 of pre-tax salary, $7485/mo requires an income of approximately $270k/yr, which is not outrageous for a luxury building.

              I realize that this will seem outrageous to people who still conceive of the upper west side as a neighborhood of $1500/mo rent-stabilized apartments but like it or not, the market moved away from that model 15 years ago.

            • Aaron says:

              Eric, I don’t mean to quibble, but your math could only make sense if you didn’t intend on eating and you planned on dying at age 60 (so no need to save money for retirement). I can tell you with great certainty, as someone who is actually in that income bracket, you can’t reasonably afford to drop 33% of your pre-tax salary on rent. That’s nearly half of net income. Are there any financial advisors really suggesting it’s a good idea to dump half your net income into a luxury rental? And since that price doesn’t include utilities, probably makes sense to tack on another $300-$500/month.

              There is a vast difference between a $1500/month rent controlled apartment (which I would agree is not realistic in this area) and a $7500/month rental with no view and a mediocre location.

          • 9d8b7988045e4953a882 says:

            To comfortably afford the studio at $3365/month, I’m guessing that someone would need to make at least 200k/year. Based on the ADP take-home pay calculator, 200k/year in NYC translates into $8600/month (including maxing out 401k and the various levels of taxes). That would work out to 39% of take-home pay being spent on rent.

      • marie says:

        One partial reason could be that these apartments are actually available. There isn’t a lot of inventory on the market and all-cash buyers (foreign and not) snatch up a lot of it. I’d agree that in most cases buying would be the better financial decision but if you’re not planning to live in town for 3+ years the transaction costs of buying might not be worth it….

      • Chris says:

        It is the same demographic who live in most new construction buildings in the hood – married professionals with a kid or two, who are willing to pay up for good public schools and building services (and having a washer / dryer in unit!).

        Buying is not so easy. There is almost no inventory on the UWS. In this market the rent vs. buy math is also a bit out of whack (in my view), and the tax benefit of owning for the merely affluent in NYC is essentially gone as of 2012, so it makes very little sense to buy, again IMHO.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        this confirms how insane the housing market has gotten on the UWS. if you’re single person making 200K+ per year — a top 2% salary for the US, and top 5% even for NYC — the best you can afford is a not very attractive studio?

        it boggles the mind.

        i don’t understand why these people are not renting cheaper studios in Queens or somewhere and saving up to buy, which at those salaries they can do very quickly.

    16. RSDresident says:

      I like it.

    17. Andrew says:

      As an architect I’ve been watching this crappy building go up thinking whoever designed this is s pretty lousy architect. There’s no sense to the structural layout with remarkable inefficiency designed into the placement of the columns. There is no rigor, with the columns criss-crossing without any recognition of structural integrity, each one engaging the floor slabs willy nilly, not uniformly, leading to incongruity and no benefit to the overall structure. It’s simply a mess for no purpose. While aesthetics is personal, this building is structurally odd and intellectually lazy and by those standards, ugly!

    18. denton says:

      While I like the building, no one has commented on how SMALL the apts are!

      • Jeremy says:

        And the site doesn’t give much detail about the finishes or fixtures, so they are very possibly not real high-end.

      • marie says:

        small?? I would be thrilled with that amount of space and could fit my possessions (and lifestyle I suppose) into it with no trouble.

    19. Lisa says:

      Regarding who likes this building…Among them, Scott Disick the “reality star” and partner/ex-partner of Kourney Kardashian.

      (BTW he has further opined his dislike for the “public housing” in the background, suggesting such housing should be torn down. Presumably he means Lincoln Towers)

    20. Wendy says:

      It’s ugly where it sits on the UWS, period. Maybe it would look good in midtown amongst other similar buildings. But it just doesn’t fit in where it is.

    21. Don says:

      From one more UWS architect, my opinion is that at least it hides the truly ugly Russian-inspired housing block to its west. Certainly not a well worked out solution on many levels as has been pointed out, and quite small inside for the money. I am for tiny housing solutions that may be appropriate for the young though.It’s here to stay for a while at least. May as well get used to it the way we usually adapt.

    22. rob says:

      Wondering how many “affordable housing” apartments the builders of this rather ugly building built in order to get the city’s generous real estate tax breaks and why no one seems to have even bothered to raise this question.

      • webot says:

        Rob –

        Not 100% sure, but I think there are no tax breaks for “affordable housing” for a building that is 100% market rate.
        421-a are tax certificates used for new condos.

        Also, why so much hatred ? You do know that the City landlords generally pay about 30% of their income in taxes for multifamily? meaning same politicians demonizing the “greedy” landlords are the ones in their pockets for a third of the income (throw in water, sewer, tickets, etc, compliance, etc).
        You want to point figures as to why the city is so expensive, its starts at City Hall.

        • Bruce Bernstei says:

          by “30% of their income” in taxes, i assume you mean net income (profits) and not revenue.

          i have tried to find the basis for this claim by you many times, but cannot do so. Can you point us to articles about the average costs and revenue stream of running a rental apt building in Manhattan?

          • webot says:

            FYI, don’t know if you are aware, that just because an “article” is “published” does not make it true or for that matter, the sole basis of anything. they are just opinions of one writer.


            if you are so interested, i suggest you contact REBNY or the RSA.


    23. Ed says:

      I’m not going to comment on the design, prices or what looks to be small rooms. All I’m going to say is that I hope there is a Dunkin’ Donuts on the ground floor! Pleeeeeeese!!!

    24. Jimbo says:

      As a child I lived exactly where the new entrance to this bldg. is—-at that time we paid $28.00 a month for three nice rooms–ahhhhh the good old days….