About Imperial House, 150 East 69th Street
In 1950, the New York Life Insurance Company erected Manhattan House on the entire block bounded by Third and Second Avenues and 65th and 66th Streets. The 581-unit, light-gray brick, 19-story slab tower was very influential for its enclosed garden and its light color. The building was generally credited with initiated the craze for glazed, "white brick" buildings, most of which suffered severe maintenance problems over the years.
Manhattan House, which was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Mayer & Whittlesley, however, had few imitators as full-block sites for "luxury" housing were had to come by.
Imperial House is its best imitator and indeed is almost better as its location further west is more desirable, its tower with mid-rise wings is a more attractive form and its block is smaller and therefore it has fewer units.
Designed by Emery Roth & Sons, Imperial House was built in 1960 on the former site of the New York Foundling Hospital. The 30-story building has 378 good-sized apartments and was converted to a cooperative in 1971.
The building, whose lobby was designed by William Raiser of Raymond Loewy/William Snaith, has a large garden behind a brick wall on 68th Street.
On Lexington Avenue, the building has a one-story retail base with a cantilevered roofline and one of the stores is Garnet, a leading liquor store in the city.