680 Park Avenue, 684 Park Avenue,686 Park Avenue ,690 Park Avenue

McKim, Mead & White, 1909-11
McKim, Mead & White, 1925-26
Delano & Aldrich, 1917-19
Walker & Gillette, 1916
all: NYC ILs, NR-P

On the west side of Park between East 68th and 69th Streets is an architecturally cohesive group of neo-Federal townhouses, referred to as the Pyne-Davison Row. 680 Park Avenue was built for banker and philanthropist Percy Rivington Pyne. In 1960, Nikita Kruschchev gave a press conference on the balcony when he stayed there during a visit to the United Nations. 684 Park Avenue was built for Percy Pyne’s daughter, Mary, and son-in-law Oliver D. Filley. In December of 1964, before the city passed the Landmarks Law to enable the legal protection of historic buildings, plans were underway to demolish 680 and 684 Park Avenue. A last minute purchase by the Marquesa de Cuevas, the former Margaret Rockefeller Strong, granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller, saved the buildings, along with 49 East 68th Street. The Marquesa donated 680 Park Avenue to the Center for Inter-American Relations (absorbed into the Americas Society in 1985), and sold 684 Park Avenue to the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, stipulating that changes could not be made to its exterior. The threat to these buildings was one of many that underscored the great need for a law to protect the city’s architectural heritage. 686 Park Avenue was built for William Sloane, president of the home furnishings store W. & J. Sloane. In 1958, it was purchased by the Republic of Italy for its Istituto Italiano di Cultura. 690 Park Avenue was built for banker Henry Pomeroy Davison and his wife Kate Trubee. In 1952, it became the residence of the Consul General of Italy.