The Real Deal New York

Developer Bernard Spitzer dies at 90

November 02, 2014 02:00PM

Bernard Spitzer and 200 Central Park South

Bernard Spitzer and 200 Central Park South

Real estate investor, philanthropist and the father of former Governor Eliot Spitzer, Bernard Spitzer passed away Saturday night. He was 90.

Bernard had been battling Parkinson’s disease, according to the New York Daily News.

A memorial service is being held at Riverside Memorial Chapel on Monday at 10 a.m. Shiva will be observed at 4 p.m. at 200 Central Park South, Apt. 27-A.

In January, The Real Deal reported that Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp. inked a new 20-year deal with Spitzer for the master lease at 200 Central Park South for $18 million. Spitzer developed the 35-story residential building in 1963.

Over his career, Spitzer developed numerous residential and commercial buildings, including 150 East 57th Street, the Corinthian between 37th and 38th on First Avenue, 800 Fifth Avenue, 730 Fifth Avenue and 350 West Broadway. [NYDN]Christopher Cameron

  • Errol Rappaport

    Bernard Spitzer built 200 Central Park South in 1963. It is a modernist curved tower, with 309 apartments, where some of the residents have an unprecedented view of the park. Celebrities dwellers have included Linda Lavin, Martina Arroyo, Michael Connelly, Mohammed Ali, Alan Funt, Johnny Olsen, Beth Birkeel, Jackie Mason, Florence Henderson, Billy Stritch, Doris Roberts, Al Roker, Raquel Welch, B Smith, Bill Bradley, Francis Grill,Fashion Designer, Francesca Rappaport, Jacqueline Susann, Irving Mansfield, Dino De Laurentis and Gerald Schoenfeld. Schoenfeld was the chairman of the Shubert Organization from 1972-2008.

    Before 200 CPS was home to the stars, it was where the stars shined brightest, starting with Al Jolson’s 59th Street Theatre. Most people have not put two plus two together because the address was 926 and 932 Seventh Avenue. The Jolson Theatre (1921) became The Central Park (1931), The Shakespeare (1932), The Venice (1934), back to Jolson (1942), The Molly Picon (1943), and finally the New Century Theatre (1944). Built in 1921, due to the depression the theatre was shuttered down in 1954 and demolished in 1962 for the high rise you see now.

    Theatre architect Herbert J. Krapp was the designer. Krapp also designed the Lyceum, Shubert, Booth, New Amsterdam, Longacre, Majestic and Ambassador Theaters and was responsible for completely renovating the Winter Garden and the Helen Hayes Theatresin the 1920s. He also designed the Hotel Edison, the Lincoln Hotel (now the Milford Plaza) and numerous other buildings. Krapp worked directly with the Shubert brothers and became their primary architect. He also designed theaters for the Chanin brothers.

    As a theatre, there were many firsts here:
    The original Broadway productions of The Cherry Orchard, The Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya.
    Stanislavski’s Moscow Art Theatre‘s US debut was here in 1923. Maria Ouspenskaya and Richard Boleslavski stayed behind. Lee Strasberg, Harold Clurman and Cheryl Crawford all sprung up and started The Group Theatre. Also, Stella Adler was in that young acting class.
    In 1937, Orson Welles led the cast of The Cradle Will Rock, as the actors performed the play from the audience to avoid violating Actor’s Equity rules. They had been shut out of the Maxine Elliot Theatre for political reasons.
    Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg, Franz Lehár, Oscar Strauss, Reginald De Koven, Franz Schubert, either debuted their show or had their revivals here. This was a hub for the operetta and light opera scene.
    Gilbert and Sullivan did all their revivals here. 8 in total, from December, 1947-March 20, 1948
    Cole Porter premiered Out of This World and in 1944, Kiss Me Kate won the Tony Award
    The Blue Bird, the musical that was supposed to be Shirley Temple’s Wizard of Oz,debuted here before making it to the screen.
    Last play was a revival of Sherlock Holmes(1953)
    The last production was Azuma Kabuki Dancersand Musicians February 22 –March 21, 1954
    Musicals of note not mentioned: Up in Central Park, Inside U.S.A. (Dietz and Schwartz), High Button Shoes, Louisianna Lady,
    Toplizky of Notre Dame (Sammy Fain), Follow the Girls, Peg-O-My Dreams, Irene and the musical that started it all, Bombo.
    Plays of note: John Brown’s Body, St Joan (revival), Don Juan in Hell, numerousShakespeare revivals, Lysistrata, The BrothersKaramazov, Ivanov and a revival of this season’s critically praised show, An Enemy of the People.

    During the 42 years that this theatre’s doors were open, over 29 million people enjoyed the arts. We salute the artists who showed us the way, as we turn another page in the history of New York.

    • WannaBeLandlord

      Very cool.

      • NaNa

        He also founded the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at City College

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