Living in Sutton Place: Things to Do and See in Sutton Place, Manhattan, New York City

Sutton Place, New York City—Elegant Townhouses and White-Glove Buildings Overlooking the East River

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Where Is Sutton Place located in NYC?

Sutton Place is located in the New York City Borough of Manhattan, between the Upper East Side, Midtown East, and Turtle Bay.

  • East to West Boundaries: East River to First Avenue
  • North to South Boundaries: 59 Street to 53rd Street
  • Subway: 4, 5, 6, N, Q, R, E, M
  • Ticket out of the City: The FDR Drive, north- and southbound; The Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge

What is the History of Sutton Place?

Sutton Place was named after Effingham B. Sutton (1817–1891), a shipping magnate and entrepreneur who made a fortune during California's 1849 Gold Rush. He developed what was then an industrial area into a row of brownstones between East 57th and 58th streets on what was then Avenue A. By the turn of the century, the neighborhood had fallen into neglect.

Yet by the early 1920s, Sutton Place was one of the most elegant addresses in Manhattan.  It was pioneered by several society matrons. Elisabeth Marbury, a wealthy literary agent and producer and partner of renowned decorator Elsie de Wolfe, commissioned architect Mott Schmidt to transform one of the original Sutton Place brownstones, No. 13, into a French château-inspired mansion. New York socialite Anne Vanderbilt, widow of railroad heir William Vanderbilt, followed suit, hiring Schmidt to transform No. 1 Sutton Place, a brownstone on the northeast corner of 57th Street, into a grand 15-room mansion with a signature blue door.

An article in The New York Tribune on June 19, 1920, announced the arrival of B. Stafford Mantz, the treasurer of the Corporation Trust Company with the headline: “Banker Joins Sutton Square Home Colony Along the East River.” The five-story-high mansion featured a limestone entrance adorned with a keystone in the form of a head of the Medusa. Other Sutton Place brownstones, as reported by the Tribune, were “bought by Mrs.  W. K. Vanderbilt, Miss Elisabeth Marbury, Mrs. H. Lorillard Cammann and Francis B. Griswold.”

What to See in Sutton Place?

Sutton Place, one of New York's most attractive and exclusive enclaves, is also one of its smallest, comprising just 14 townhouses arranged in a U-shape around a private park. Each home faces the East River with views of Roosevelt Island and the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. Another landmark townhouse is No. 3 Sutton Place: the official residence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Neo-Georgian mansion was built in 1922 for Anne Morgan, daughter of banking tycoon J.P. Morgan. No. 11 Sutton Place is the former home of Laura “Polly” Delano, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cousin. The elegant four-story townhouse was later purchased by Pritzker Prize-winning architect I.M. Pei and blends his signature style of modernism with its original architecture.

Other notable residents over the years include Marilyn Monroe and her then-husband Arthur Miller; actresses Maureen O'Hara, Lillian Gish, and Sigourney Weaver; shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis; cabaret singer and pianist Bobby Short; fashion designer Bill Blass; former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.

The construction of luxury co-ops and apartment buildings were completed after the Great Depression. One recognizable facade belongs to No. 36. The doorman building’s green awning was made famous in How to Marry a Millionaire, starring Marilyn Monroe, Lauren Bacall, and Betty Grable. One Sutton Place South is a 1927 co-op designed by Rosario Candela. Across the street is Two Sutton Place South, built in 1938 and designed by Emery Roth.  East of Sutton Place, on 58th Street, is Riverview Terrace, a private cobblestone street of six townhouses. First Avenue is lined with low-rise prewar apartment buildings, modern high-rises, shops, and restaurants.

Sutton House is a full-service cooperative building with an extensive suite of amenities. Located on a charming cul-de-sac block on the border of Beekman and Sutton Place, the 19-story tower building is segmented into two 12-story wings with 287 units ranging from studios to three-bedroom homes.

What to Do in Sutton Place

Sutton Place and Sutton Place South are residential streets, with no storefronts or restaurants, but there’s no shortage of bistros, cafés, and bars along First and Second Avenues. Bistro Vendôme on 58th Street offers elegant French fare in an airy townhouse setting. La Villetta is an intimate Italian restaurant with a large wine list and a prix fixe lunch option. Neary’s is one of New York’s classic Irish pubs. Just west of the neighborhood, on the northeast corner of East 55th Street, is another popular watering hole, P. J. Clarke's, a saloon bar established in 1884. Close by are several organic and gourmet food stores and high-end supermarkets, such as a Whole Foods Market. The neighborhood organization Sutton Area Community hosts several annual events, such as the Easter egg hunts and the Taste of Sutton food festival.

What Schools Are in Sutton Place

Many families are drawn by the neighborhood’s highly rated schools. The Beekman School, founded in 1925, is one of Manhattan's best private schools, offering tailored educational programs. PS 59 Beekman Hill International is a top-rated public elementary school serving 611 students from pre-K to 5th grade. Other District 2 schools include P.S. 183 Robert L. Stevenson elementary school, Vanguard High School, the Manhattan International High School, and the High School of Art & Design. For alternative education, the Montessori School of New York International offers a popular performing arts program.

How Many People Live in Sutton Place?

The population of the Sutton Place area is an estimated 7,139.

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