111 West 57th Street Preserves History While Embracing Future Design

The Steinway Tower at 111 West 57th Street, is the thinnest building worldwide. As New York City’s third tallest building, construction also included efforts centered on preserving the historic Steinway Hall.

The Bare Essentials: Steinway Tower

New York 111 West 57th Street

The Steinway Tower is the thinnest skyscraper in the world. The super-tall luxury tower has a width-to-height ratio of about 1:24. The super-thin structure stands at 1,428 feet. The widest point at the building’s base is roughly 57 feet wide.

SHoP Architects designed the tower. The building’s developers included JDS Development Group and Property Markets Group.

Situated on Billionaire’s Row, Steinway Tower offers 60 residential units. The main tower holds 46, and the other 14 are in the original Steinway Hall building. The building’s 14 elevators offer fast access to each residential unit. The original Steinway Hall has five elevators while the new tower has nine.

The basement and floors 1, 3, and 4 are commercial spaces. Also, the 51st, 71st, and 86th floors were designed as windbreaks and therefore do not contain residential units.

Historic Preservation

The original Steinway Building remains a city landmark. Situated at the base of 111 West 57th Street in New York City, it served as the iconic piano company’s store for more than 90 years. Constructed in 1925, the building included a recital hall and offices.

The developers worked with the Landmark Preservation Commission of New York to restore the hall and incorporate it into the tower. Developers restored the facade and the rotunda.

Designers Studio Sofield created an opulent central lobby that connects the Beaux-Arts style Steinway Hall and the tower of 111 West 57th. The historic structure now has amenity spaces along with some residences.

Pricetag: 111 West 57th

With a name like Billionaires’ Row, how could residential units be anything but expensive? It’s not surprising that you won’t find affordable housing or AirBnB listings on this “row.”

Units start at $7.75 million for a studio and run upwards of $66 million for the 111 West 57th Street penthouse.

Condos are 3,873 to 7,128 square feet. They start above the 17th story, which is listed as the 20th floor because the views of Central Park are obstructed on the lower floors.

The floor plans for most units include three bedrooms, with each unit taking up an entire floor. There are seven duplex units on floors 60–61 and 72–83. Many of the residences are open-plan designs with 14-foot ceilings.

Steinway Hall offers 14 residences above the floors with amenities. The largest unit is a duplex penthouse that takes up the 19th and 20th floors and features 26-foot-high living room ceilings.

Top-Level Designs

P. E. Guerin Hardware designed the living rooms with special bronze door knobs. The handles are shaped just like the building.

Dark wood and onyx flooring are stylish nods to Steinway Hall’s design. Each unit is equipped with top-notch appliances, walk-in closets, and custom bathrooms.

Tuned Mass Damper

To prevent the needle skyscraper from swaying in the wind, an 800-ton tuned mass damper (TMD) sits on top of the building. Otherwise known as a harmonic absorber, the device reduces a structure’s vibration amplitude. When a building bends and sways during strong winds, it will make an uncomfortable noise, and this is how TMDs are useful.

Luxurious Amenities

The supertall building has an indoor pool that is 82 by 12 feet and includes cabanas and a limestone deck. Sauna and steam rooms are also connected to the pool area. Residents enjoy a private dining room, fitness center, and study.

Today, 111 West 57th is the only new building equipped with a padel court.

Problematic Process

111 West 57th Street problems plagued development and construction. Financing, lawsuits, staffing issues, and accidents hindered the building’s completion in April 2019.

On January 21, 2019, scaffolding broke free from the outside of floor 55 due to high winds. The incident sent broken glass from cracked windows falling onto sidewalks. City officials ordered a partial cease to the construction and issued developers a violation.

In January 2020, a terracotta block fell off the tower, hitting a taxi that was passing by. Strong winds on October 29, 2020, knocked a construction crane loose, causing debris to fall. A lawsuit was later filed against the crane operator.

A few weeks later, a glass curtain wall fell 56 floors, shattering on the street below. And then, in December, on 58th Street, another glass curtain fell to the ground.

In early 2022, two incidents of pedestrians being struck by falling ice were reported.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How much did it cost to build 111 57th Street?

The price of tower construction and Steinway Hall renovation totaled $2 billion. During the construction process, some investors filed suit against the developers over alleged construction cost overruns.

What's so special about 111 West 57th Street?

The Steinway Tower is the thinnest skyscraper in the world. It pushes the envelope when it comes to construction and superskinny skyscrapers. It’s also three times thinner than required to be called a pencil tower. The required ratio is 1:7 while 111 West 57th Street is 1:24.

Does the Steinway Tower sway?

For stability and safety, most superskinny skyscrapers in New York include openings in the building. Openings allow the wind to flow through a cut down on wind load and minimize swaying, which can be as much as a few feet in very strong winds. Some supertall residential buildings creak old-fashioned ships as they sway.

When was 111 57th Street completed?

Construction started in 2015, the residential tower topped out in 2019 and the residences were completed in the spring of 2022. Although it was recently completed there are a handful of 111 West 57th Street apartments for sale.

Do celebrities live in the Steinway Tower?

The Steinway Tower is located on Billionaires’ Row so residents are high-net-worth individuals. Many celebrities fall into this category. 

111 West 57th Street Conclusion

As the skinniest residential building in the world, the Steinway Tower is a special structure. By incorporating and preserving a storied musical past, the building is already a unique landmark.

As the original Steinway building was a cultural hub for 90 years, today, it enjoys a new life as one of New York City’s premier residential buildings.