55 Central Park West New York is a 19-floor housing cooperative located in Manhattan, New York City. The building was built in 1929 and designed by the firm Schwartz and Gross.Both the interior and the exterior possess unique architectural features that set the structure apart from its peers. The building is considered a contributing property within the Central Park West Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building holds significance in American popular culture because scenes from the 1984 film Ghostbusters were shot there, as it is the setting for the climax of that film.
Plans for the building were filed by architectural firm Schwartz and Gross at the behest of Victor Earle and John C. Calhoun, for whom they were working. Earle, and his brother Guyon, had been actively developing the Upper West Side of New York City since the 1910s.
The structure, between 65th and 66th Streets, is considered to be mostly “second tier” by the socialite New Yorkers who occupy most of the buildings along Central Park West, and was opened as a rental property in 1930. Its neighbor to the south is the earlier Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. Upon its opening Real Estate magazine praised it as resembling “Jungfrau, that most beloved snowcapped Alpine peak.” Musician Rudy Vallee, whose salary was up to $20,000 per week, was one of the building’s earliest residents. Ginger Rogers was one of its residents during her Broadway days in the early 1930s.
The exterior of the building is also somewhat non-traditional. As the brick facade rises from the ground it changes shade from a deep purple to a yellow-white. Color was being widely used during the 1920s as a tool in architecture for overall effects. Indeed, the rental brochure touted the exterior features of the building, “new modernistic design of exterior with beautiful shaded color scheme,” it stated. The New Yorker’s architecture critic, George S. Chappell, praised the building’s use of color, saying, “the total effect is exhilarating.”