3 Surprising Downsides of Living in New York City’s Tallest Apartment Building

Central Park Tower


While New Yorkers all know that their city’s tallest building is One World Trade Center, do you know its tallest residential building? It’s soon to be Extell’s Central Park Tower—a 95-story, 1,550-foot super-high-rise at 217 West 57th Street (a.k.a. “Billionaires’ Row”).

Even though this building won’t be completed until 2019, units are already for sale!

Central Park Tower’s 279 residences will range in size from 1,435 square feet to over 17,500 square feet, priced from $6.5 million to over $100 million. Oh, and for those prices, they’ll also enjoy an array of sweet amenities including a 15,000-square-foot outdoor terrace with 60-foot swimming pool, plus an indoor pool, basketball and squash courts, lounge with billiards, screening room, plus a “surprise” room still under wraps on the 100th floor.

Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, Central Park Tower joins a bunch of so-called “supertall” developments in the area. But at least according to some real estate agents, Central Park Tower will not only be the tallest, but the most deluxe residence of them all.

new york city's tallest residential building

A view of Central Park Tower, under construction

Jenny Lenz

“This is the best building to be delivered in the next couple of years,” says New York City-based luxury real estate agent Dolly Lenz. “The location is ideal. Everyone is moving west, so this is the hub of everything.”

And although those prices seem steep, for what you get, “so far, the pricing is not out of whack,” Lenz continues. “We have a lot of interest—more than 50 calls and emails, mostly high-net-worth individuals worth more than $100 million, mostly from Asia. They want to be in the thick of things. And the views, of course, are incredible.”

But living on top of the world (or at least the Big Apple) may not be all it’s cut out to be. Here are a few surprising downsides to consider.

Central Park Tower

A rendering of how Central Park Tower will look once finished in 2019.


The building may sway

One potential downside with all that height is that it’s good for views, but not for structural integrity.

“Skyscrapers are going to swing in strong winds, regardless of how they are built,” points out Shane Lee at RealtyHop. “In the last few decades, we have seen many structural designs that allow skyscrapers to withstand high winds and earthquakes, such as the tuned mass damper [a device that reduces vibrations] in Taipei 101 and the concrete slabs in the One World Trade Center building. But skyscrapers are going to sway, and Central Park Tower is no exception—maybe 3, 4, or 5 feet.”

While swaying in a building 95 stories up might give some the heebie-jeebies, at least Central Park Tower is not as skinny as the supertalls at 432 Park Ave. and 111 West 57th, since this makes the swaying seem all the more precarious.

“Central Park Tower is much wider, so it’s a more comforting building in that regard,” Lenz says.

The long elevator rides—or, god forbid, stairs

Another concern for some might be the elevator ride—which, to the top, is nearly a third of a mile straight up. That’s longer than some people’s subway commutes!

“It’s faster than you think,” says real estate agent Jason Haber of Warburg Realty in Manhattan.

But what if the electricity goes out? That’s what worries Miami real estate agent Chris Morenza.

“In recent years many high rise buildings have been built in our area,” he says. “I visited one building in downtown Miami and all the elevators were out. However long the 50-story elevator ride took, walking up was much slower.”

And bad weather (to which New York is no stranger) only ups the odds of outages.

You’re so high, you might not see much of anything at all

Last but not least, living this high up could actually obstruct those fantastic views.

“When it’s cloudy, you will be in the cloud without views,” points out Compass’ “chief evangelist” and broker, Leonard Steinberg, in New York City. But then again, “In this world, having your heads in the clouds could be a relief.”

Central Park Tower

The view from Central Park Tower … provided it isn’t a cloudy day.


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Source: Housing Trends Feed