34 East 62nd Street rendering
There would seem to be something ill-omened about 34 East 62nd Street. This single plot of land between Madison and Park avenues was for years home to a noble townhouse, set among Cumberland House apartment building to the west and the Browning School to the east.
Indeed, having been built in 1882, it was the oldest building on that distinguished block. In the early 1940s, a group known as “The Room” met clandestinely within its walls to discuss urgent matters of peace and war and communicate the fruits of their deliberations to Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the fullness of time, however, it passed through a number of hands, before landing in those of the deranged Nicholas Bartha, a 66-year-old internist, who, you will recall, blew the place up on July 10, 2006, with himself in it (although he was rescued and later died from his injuries), rather than hand it over, in divorce proceedings, to his estranged wife.
Christopher Gray wrote shortly afterwards in the New York Times, “just as this unusual block has lost its oldest building, in a few years it will most likely gain its newest.” Well, that time, it appears, is now upon us. … [more]