There’s a section of Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side that’s overrun with enormous homes that are as close as New York City gets to mansions—and the turn-of-the-century house at 86 Riverside Drive, which just hit the market for $8 million, is perhaps one of the most grand.
The house dates back to 1897, and was built by the architect Clarence True, a prolific builder who’s responsible for many of the picturesque rowhouses found throughout the Upper West Side. (In a 2011 Streetscapes column, the late Christopher Gray said he “rethought the entire concept” of homes in that neighborhood.) It was built as part of a grouping of homes on West 81st Street and Riverside Drive, and is now part of the tiny Riverside Drive-West 80th-81st Street historic district.
The house itself is huge—over 8,400 square feet, with 50 feet of frontage on Riverside Drive—but it also needs some work. The listing says it’s “ready to be re-imagined and returned to its former splendor,” meaning the interior is not the perfectly renovated space often seen in older townhouses. But there’s quite a canvas to work with in this home.
Here’s what a buyer would have to work with: There are a whopping nine bedrooms and six bathrooms situated over the home’s five floors, although those could be reconfigured. There are plenty of formal spaces throughout, including a massive ballroom that takes up almost all of the entire fourth floor. Many of the rooms have direct views of Riverside Park, and thanks to the home’s orientation, they get plenty of sunlight.
Original details abound: There are coffered ceilings, decorative plaster, carved wooden details, and a “baronial” staircase that travels the entire height of the house. (There is not, alas, an elevator.) Even the entryway—a limestone portico that has wrought-iron gates—is opulent and reflective of the home’s Gilded Age grandeur.
The historic home at 86 Riverside Drive is listed with Pamela D’Arc of Stribling at Compass.