The COASTER, April 23, 2009
Landmark City Building Celebrating 80th Anniversary By DON STINE The historic Santander in Asbury Park, long considered a landmark building for its unique Moorish architecture, will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year. Built in 1929 at the corner of Park Avenue and Deal Lake Drive, the nine-story, 81-unit building is well-known for its beautiful center fountain courtyard and splendid lobbies. “People love it here and about 24 residents have moved to upgraded units. It’s a very interesting, eclectic building with a wonderful group of people. It’s an architectural gem,” said local Realtor Jay Bernstein, who also lives in one of the penthouse units. Bernstein, who used to manage the building, said the Santander is built of steel and concrete with original hardwood floors. Particularly pleasing is the unique Moorish architecture and ocean or lake views from most units. “It has a very pleasant entrance and going into each unit is a pretty special experience,” he said. Bernstein said most units have their own unique shape because they wrap around the central courtyard. “The rooms are not cookie-cutter in design,” he said. The Santander has two separate wings, east and west, with their own elevators and lobbies. The wings do not connect on the upper floors, adding to the buildings intimacy. “All of the lobby floors are the original porcelain tile and the building has been taken care of over the years,” Bernstein said. The Santander converted to condominiums in the late 1980s. Studio units begin at around $125,000 with larger four-bed-
Jay Bernstein, a local realtor, is pictured in his penthouse at the Santander.
The Santander in Asbury Park is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. room, four-bathroom units bring- tile but it is all hand-painted,” ing close to $1 million. Bernstein said. The first floor originally conThe building is serviced by two tained the Santander Tea Room, a old Westinghouse elevator cars. restaurant. The restaurant was Bernstein said one penthouse later converted into what are unit was occupied by a distant referred to as “mansionette” member of the Rockefeller famiunits, each with its own entrance ly, most likely the sister of John off the courtyard and original 14- W. Rockefeller Jr., an engineer foot high ceilings, much like the who designed the mainspring for lobby. the Norden bombsight used in “The lobby looks like mosaic allied war planes during World War II. Their grandfather was a second-cousin to John D. Rockefeller. John W. was born in Asbury Park where his father was a physician. “The female Rockefeller taught private piano lessons. She was kind of a spinster piano teacher,” Bernstein said. Another penthouse was rented out to a count and one to the wellknown actress Myrna Loy. Loy’s
A fireplace is one of the features in this penthouse at the Santander. father-in-law, longtime editor of Theater Magazine Arthur Hornblow Sr., died in May, 1942 after suffering a stroke in Asbury Park. Bernstein said the Santander has been greatly improved over the last decade with infrastructure repairs, new boilers, sprinkler systems, a new roof, renovated hallways, and a refurbishing of the courtyard. “Some units have wood-burning fireplaces and terraces. Originally all the bathrooms had salt water running to the tubs from the ocean for therapeutic purposes,” he said. Bernstein said residents are planning an 80th anniversary party but no date has yet been set. “We are looking to do some landscape improvements to honor the anniversary,” he said.
The Santander in Asbury Park is known for its Moorish architecture as well as its decorative animal figures.
Local Happenings The Neptune City Library on West Sylvania Avenue is holding it’s annual book sale May 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. and May 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. **** Document shredding is available in Farmingdale for Monmouth County residents free of charge for up to four boxes. Residents may watch the documents get shredded. Call 732.751.9041 for information. **** The Bradley Beach Walking Club will take its first walk on Fri., May 1, beginning at 5 p.m. Anyone interested in walking for health and fitness can meet at the pavilion on the boardwalk. Councilman Harold Cotler said the club will be looking into joining other groups for walks in surrounding areas.