The Big OH: Touring the long-delayed 53W53

For over a decade, we’ve been eagerly anticipating an angular, glass-wrapped tower at 53 West 53rd Street next door to the Museum of Modern Art. Now construction is on track and the tower dubbed 53W53 is finally joining the city’s skyline.

Construction on the building recently reached the 28th floor — the tower will eventually reach 82 — and to get a taste of what’s to come, LLNYC was treated to a tour of the building’s nearby sales office and to some brand new renderings for the latest installment of our Big Open House series.

When construction is completed on the 1,050-foot building in 2018, it will be starchitect Jean Nouvel’s first residential skyscraper. And to up the design pedigree of the tower even further, developers Hines, Goldman Sachs and Pontiac Land Group tapped society designer Thierry Despont to create the building’s interiors.

One hundred forty-five residences, ranging from one-to-five bedrooms, are planned for 53W53, including full-floor homes and duplex penthouses with private elevator entry. Prices range from approximately $3 million to $70 million for the penthouse, which is yet to hit the market.

Over in the sales office, a mock lobby demonstrates how the building will greet its future residents. Oak wood panelling lines the walls and high coffered ceilings will be inlaid with backlit green onyx.

The apartments themselves will feature soaring 9-foot-high walnut entry doors framed by the same backlit green onyx from the lobby ceiling. They also boast solid American oak floors, custom crown moulding with integrated air diffusers and custom-designed bronze door handles that mimic the silhouette of the building.

Kitchens will have back-painted glass cabinetry, marble countertops and islands, touch-controlled cabinets and appliances by Miele and Sub-Zero.

All of the bathrooms — from the powder rooms to the sprawling master baths — will feature carved Verona limestone (bucking the marble trend). The master baths will of course include a few extras, such as heated floors, height adjustable vanities and marble feature walls (because you’ve got to have some marble!).

Naturally for a building that is literally linked to a world famous museum of art, the building’s integrated humidification system will maintain a 30 percent relative humidity, which we’re told is ideal for protecting and preserving art. 

Each and every apartment will be unique thanks to Nouvel’s “exposed structural system” or beams that criss-cross the perimeter of the building, creating 6,747 different window panels of different shapes and sizes.

On the exterior, the beams will have a pewter finish that will fade into gold, silver and black at the top of the tapered building. To us, this makes it look like a very tall, pointy iceberg.

But, of course, the building offers more than just structural individuality and a whole lot of windows. There will be amenities aplenty, including a wellness center, library, theater and wine vault. It’s also capitalizing on the in-house restaurant trend. While we don’t have the chef’s name quite yet, we do know that the restaurant will be open to the public but also available in-room to residents.

And last but not least, 53W53 will house three new gallery levels for its next-door-neighbor. The museum will extend sideways into the building taking up a total of seven of the tower’s floors. Residents will receive a special Benefactor W53 MoMA membership, which means museum perks galore.

But after our tour it’s plain to see that those who are splashing out on one of these pads are doing so for many more reasons than just being able to skip the lines.