The Enduring Appeal of Emery Roth + Bing & Bing
Updated: Oct 9, 2020
By Bart Boehlert
Every artist needs a patron. In the early twentieth century, architect Emery Roth was often hired by developers Bing & Bing, and together they produced some of the most desirable apartment buildings in luxury New York City real estate. The brothers Leo and Alexander Bing were distinguished developers who constructed fine prewar properties, and they regularly enlisted architect Emery Roth, who designed Beaux Arts and Art Deco buildings that featured solid construction, graceful room layouts, and decorative exteriors. Brown Harris Stevens is currently offering several properties designed by Roth and developed by Bing & Bing, including a spacious four bedroom apartment at 230 East 73rd Street, which is located in the large residential development Eastgate (pictured above) built in 1929. Signature elements of the graciously proportioned home include high ceilings, wood floors, two wood-burning fireplaces and two terraces.
At age 13, Emery Roth emigrated from Hungary to the United States like another great architect of his time, Rosario Candela, who emigrated from Sicily. Emery Roth worked as an architectural apprentice and then was hired by Richard Morris Hunt, “the dean of architects” who designed the facade and Great Hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He also toiled for Ogden Codman Jr., the American architect and interior designer who, along with novelist Edith Wharton, wrote the book “The Decoration of Houses,” which is still a standard of American interior design.
In 1895 Roth opened his own office at 248 West 16th Street and went on to have a long and illustrious career designing many noteworthy edifices including apartment buildings on Central Park West. The Beresford, which the architect completed in 1929, at Central Park West and W. 81st Street, is a massive, fortress-like palazzo that looks from the distance like a medieval castle. At W. 74th Street, Roth designed The San Remo in 1930, topping its twin towers with lyrical Corinthian temples based on a Greek monument. Further up at West 90th Street, Roth co-designed The Eldorado in the Art Deco style with Margon & Holder in 1930.
Along Central Park West at West 82nd Street, Roth was hired by Bing & Bing in 1927 to design The Alden apartment building, which the architect outfitted with an airy, elegant lobby. The Bing brothers were developers and well-read lawyers who supported the arts and were known for their stately, tastefully detailed buildings that often had multiple setbacks with private terraces. Bing & Bing and Emery Roth both favored classic design and so were a good match, working on many projects together including 1000 and 1009 Park Avenue, the Eastgate complex and the Southgate complex on East 51st and 52nd Streets, and 59 West 12th Street and 299 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village.
In a whimsical touch, Roth honored his patrons on the facade of 1000 Park Avenue, modeling two medieval figures at the entrance after the Bing brothers. In carved limestone, the figures pay permanent tribute to the dream team of Emery Roth and Bing & Bing.