About The Galleria, 117 East 57th Street
One of the city's most daring and innovative buildings, the 57-story Galleria was the city's first very complex mixed-use building.
It includes a public galleria, 8 floors of offices, a health club and 47 floors of condominium apartments in a package that is as dramatic and elegant at its base as it is awkward and strange at its top.
Many of the apartments were distinguished by the city's first major use of "wintergarden" rooms that basically were living rooms that expanded onto normal balcony areas that were glass-enclosed with curved roofs.
The unusual top of the tower was especially designed as a 16,000-square-foot quadruplex penthouse for Stewart Mott, a General Motors heir with an interest in philanthropy and gardens.
The building's pre-Deconstructivist top is strange, if not ugly. If it had smokestacks, it might look like debris from a scuttled battleship with its flying bridges and turrets. The look resulted from the complexity of Mott's layout.
Mott, whose landscaping demands required added structural strengthening for the tower, subsequently did not move into his spectacular dream penthouse. That added a bit of intrigue to the midtown skyline, albeit with little deference to its noble neighbor to the immediate west, the Ritz Tower, which occupies the northeast corner at 57th Street and Park Avenue, or its elegant neighbor to the immediate east, the office building with the concave front on the northwest corner of 57th Street and Lexington Avenue, which was also built, a few years later, by the Galleria's developers.
The apartment was eventually occupied, only to be put back on the market without much success for quite a long time. In late 1997, David Copperfield, the magician, bought it.