Historic Manhattan Brownstone – DIRT

Named after industrialist Andrew Carnegie, whose mansion has stood on Fifth Avenue and 91st Street since 1901, Carnegie Hill is one of Manhattan’s most desirable neighborhoods. The quiet Upper East Side nabe is home to museums and elegant townhouses, one of which, just off Fifth Avenue near Central Park, has come on the market for $20 million. The 20-foot-wide, 7,500-square-foot brownstone is listed by Manju Curry with Corcoran.

The residence is owned by Andrew Panzures, a financier currently working for Piraeus, a Greek bank. Records show he bought the building in 2008 for $9.5 million, then gutted the interior and embarked on a three-year renovation. The house is currently configured with four bedrooms, a library, five full bathrooms, plus three other powder rooms, six fireplaces, an elevator, as well as a boudoir and a laundry room in the basement. Ceiling heights vary from 10 to 12 feet.

One of the luxuries of owning a townhouse in New York is the outdoor space that comes with it. In this case, there’s about 1,000 square feet of outdoor space, including a garden-level courtyard, patio, living room-level balcony, and fifth-floor terrace.

Of course, the finest finishes and materials have been chosen to adorn the house. There are limestone floors, Venetian plaster walls and onyx bathrooms. The elegant staircase is guarded by an oak and iron railing, and there are Jerusalem marble countertops in the kitchen, where the walnut cabinets were made by English firm Smallbone. (Also notable, though probably not included in the sale, are the distinctive paintings of many pieces by Greek artist Alekos Fassianos.)

The beginnings of the townhouse date back to around 1890, when developer Philip Braender hired architect William Graul to design a group of townhouses on East 93rd Street. Braender, whose name lives on in New York with The Braender, an apartment building (now a condominium) he built in 1903 at 102nd Street and Central Park West, was a speculative real estate developer.

Construction of four four-story townhouses began in 1891, and on June 18, 1892, Braender announced “East 93d st, near 5th av–Fine four-story private houses; low price; cabinet trim throughout; butler’s pantry extension; strictly private neighborhood; must be examined to be appreciated. One of the townhouses he kept for his own family.

In 1914, this particular brownstone, the most altered of the four residences, was occupied by Stuyvesant Fish, Jr. and his family. The fish came from one of New York’s oldest and wealthiest families. His grandfather, Hamilton Fish, was the 16th Governor of New York, a United States Senator, and United States Secretary of State under the Grants Administration, while his father, Stuyvesant, Sr. was President of the Illinois Central Railroad and her mother was famous acid Mamie Fish, hostess of the Gilded Age society. Mrs. Fish once threw a lavish birthday party for her dog, who wore a $15,000 diamond collar to the party – that’s $15,000 in 1890s dollars! – and once, when Mr. Fish asked her: “Can I have something for your throat, my dear?” she replied, “Yes, that diamond and pearl necklace I saw today at Tiffany’s.”

Fish, Jr. bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange in 1909 and later served as a financier. He spent most of his time at his country home in Westchester County, however, in 1939 he decided to convert the brownstone into apartments. He removed the huge front stoop and created basement entrances, as well as removing the ornamentation from the oriel window.

The building remained as apartments until 2008 when the current owner bought it and converted it back into a single family home. He’s now ready for a hugely wealthy new family to occupy him in New York’s new Golden Age.

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