Gothamist has often wondered about the new luxury condo, 455 Central Park West, because there would be nothing cooler than living in a rotunda. It looks like one of the rotundas at the American Museum of Natural History - it's just that one wouldn't necessarily have any dinosaur fossils to display in it. The NY Times' City section looked at the 455 Central Park West, which used to be a nursing home and cancer hospital. We liked this rumination of how memories in buildings are very transient, especially when it comes down to needing a place to live:
In fact, though, they have not. Addresses that once seared themselves into the city's consciousness - the Kew Gardens foyer where Kitty Genovese was slain by a psychopath in 1964; the Greenwich Village brownstone where Joel Steinberg beat his daughter and wife in the 1980's - are forgotten. The Octagon Tower on Roosevelt Island, once home of the forlorn New York City Lunatics Asylum, is about to be incorporated into a mixed-income housing development. The former Asch Building near Washington Square, where 146 people perished in the 1911 Triangle Waist Company fire, now thrives as a biology building at New York University.
One woman, an artist who wandered through 455 CPW when it was abandoned, said, "As much as I would love to have $7 million for an apartment. I would never want to live in a building that I think is probably haunted." Haunted? Ha! Apartment-hungry New Yorkers who can lay down millions on a place laugh at things like spirits and souls. As they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Gothamist expects 455 to sell out even more quickly. And we predict a rise in feng shui object sales, as there will need to be a lot of mojo to keep the ghosts away.
Wired New York's forum has a collection of articles about 455 Central Park West, proving that if the building isn't haunted, its recent development history certainly is. And go to Forgotten New York for other pieces of old NYC lore.