Developer turns marketing new condos into a three-ring circus, complete with life-sized zoo animals

May 4, 2017

Photo: DBOX for Macklowe Properties

Harry Macklowe, the P.T. Barnum of developers and never one to miss a chance to nibble the tallest branches, has found an 18-foot fiberglass giraffe (plus elephants and rhinos) to do just that. And not to be outdone by the live giraffe used in marketing a Rem Koolhaas (the P.T. Barnum of starchitects, if you will) building outside Paris (Or by Richard Pandiscio’s now-retired beaver) Macklowe has decided that an entire life-sized safari of zoo animals is just the thing to remind people that the vast terraces at his new glass-walled condo at 200 East 59th Street with a “Miami Beach look” are big enough to house an entire circus, the Wall Street Journal reports. Macklowe said the idea was born in a staff meeting where said terraces were touted, and that the critters were sourced in Southampton, NY.

Once the top floor of the new condo project, a 35-story modernist structure of concrete and glass across the street from Bloomingdale’s, is in place, a fiberglass giraffe and a 10-foot-tall, 12-foot-long elephant will be trucked in to ascend a pedestal from which they can “tell the world that the building is special and to give a personality,” according to the developer.

The fiberglass menagerie has already been deployed in the building’s videos, renderings and social media posts, where a completely adorable giraffe peers over a glass-walled terrace and an elephant beholds a flock of red balloons while surveying the city from a suitably majestic perch.

The 79-year-old developer behind New York’s current tallest residential tower, 432 Park Avenue, gets credit from brokers and those tasked with marketing the more than half a dozen new condos in the area alone for finding something other than marble baths and fancy kitchens to help the pricey homes attract wealthy buyers. According to Macklowe, the building’s ultra-wide wall-to-wall terraces, not the big zoo animals, are what distinguishes the new building from its glass-and-concrete neighbors, and the wild-and-woolly marketing campaign is meant to underscore that.

Macklowe paid $86.7 million for four low-rise buildings on the corner of Third Avenue and East 59th Street in 2014. Designed by CetraRuddy Architecture, the building’s exterior will be composed of glass and all-encircling terraces, and the base will hold nearly 15,000 square feet of retail, reports CityRealty. The building is clad in a basket weave of metals that reflect light during the day and will glow at night. Each of the building’s 67 units has outdoor spaces, and many offer views of the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge or, on upper stories, of Central Park. Prices start at $2.1 million for a one-bedroom apartment.

The campaign was created by design studio DBOX, for whom putting “large wild safari animals” in marketing is a first. Richard Pandiscio, who designed the aforementioned martini-quaffing beaver that arrived with the launch of downtown’s William Beaver House, mentions that buyers sometimes react negatively to people in marketing campaigns because of race, age, style and attitude. “Animals can be a safer, softer, less threatening bet.”

Find out more about 200 East 59th Street at

[Via WSJ]


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