Navarro Flats: New York’s Most Spectacular Apartment Building
Called the Navarro Flats, this massive fortress of Gilded-Age extravagance was built on Central Park South at Seventh Avenue in the mid-1880s.
The Navarro Flats was an early example of apartment-style living. At the time, most New Yorkers of means still preferred living in a single brownstone or townhouse.
But “French Flats” were catching on, and the developer, Jose Francisco de Navarro, expected to make a mint selling luxury apartments to new-money New Yorkers.
He spared no expense. The seven-bedroom duplexes had as much as 7,000 square feet of floor space, including a drawing room, library, and billiards room (but only two bathrooms per apartment).
Each $20,000 duplex was part of one of eight townhouses within the complex, an arrangement thought to make the idea of apartment life more palatable, reports Nathan Silver’s Lost New York.
So why isn’t such a spectacular mishmash of Queen Anne and Gothic architecture there anymore?
Some apartments sold, but mostly, New Yorkers didn’t bite. In 1888, de Navarro was fending off lawsuits from mortgage holders, and the enormous complex met with foreclosure.
By the 1920s, it was gone–replaced by newer luxury residences the Hampshire House and Essex House.