890 West End Avenue was designed by the Schwartz & Gross. The firm designed and built hundreds of apartment buildings in New York, including: 55 Central Park West , 44 Gramercy Park North, The Pennsylvania Building, and others. 890 WEA was ready for occupancy in 1925, and it has been occupied continuously since then.
The firm of Schwartz & Gross was among the most productive New York architectural firms in the first half of the twentieth century. Both graduates of the Hebrew Technical Institute, Simon I. Schwartz (1877?-1956) and Arthur Gross (1877-1950) began their lucrative practice in 1902. From the beginning, the partners specialized in hotels and apartment buildings, particularly luxury buildings with ample plans and generous proportions. The work of Schwartz & Gross is found throughout the city, but particularly on the Upper East and Upper West Sides and in Morningside Heights.
The firm's typical early buildings, like 409 Edgecombe Avenue, have stone-faced bases and brick upper stories, and display the traditional tripartite composition enlivened with ornamental overlays. Most of the pre-World War I buildings have facades highlighted by traditional ornament, often reflecting the influence of the French Beaux-Arts or Italian Renaissance styles. The two buildings flaking the intersection of West 116th Street and Riverside Drive, the Coliseum (1910, No. 435 Riverside Drive) and No 440 Riverside Drive, are particularly interesting comparisons to 409 Edgecombe. Like that 409, their prominent, curving facades take advantage of a park frontage and a river view. The firm's work in the late 1920s and 1930s takes on a more modernistic image, as is seen at three Art Deco buildings on Central Park West: Nos. 55 (1929-30), 241 (1930, and 336 (1928-29).
It is very likely that Schwartz & Gross, so active in the design of apartment houses in New York, was involved in the financing and development of certain projects. Schwartz, in particular, is known to have been president and director of the Surrey Hotel, the Brunton Realty Corporation, and the 38 East 85th Street Corporation at the time of his death. The New Building Application for 409 Edgecombe Avenue gives Jacob Frankel as the president of the Candler Holding Corporation, and Charles Strauss as secretary. Strauss's business address is listed as 347 Fifth Avenue, which is the same as the architects' offices; thus, it is conceivable the architects were in some way financially linked to the venture.