By Amy Zimmer
DNAinfo News Editor
UPPER EAST SIDE — Is One Sutton Place North actually in Sutton Place? Depends who you ask.
The developer Sheldon Solow named his sleek black glass 42-story residential tower at 420 East 61st St. "One Sutton Place North" when he built it in 2003.
But the residents of the exclusive East Side enclave nearby have been fighting that moniker ever since, claiming the real One Sutton Place North is an elegant townhouse at East 57th Street.
"His building is on the border of our neighborhood," said Mary Clare Bergin, of the Sutton Area Community neighborhood group, who had alerted the Manhattan Borough President's office to the address problem eight years ago and again a few months back. A spokesperson from the Borough President's office told DNAinfo, "We are still exploring our legal options."
The affluent neighborhood's is bordered by the East River and Second Avenue and East 53rd and East 59th streets. Solow's building sits just north of the 59th Street Bridge, the dividing line where the street Sutton Place turns into York Avenue.
The address One Sutton Place North "has never been approved by the Manhattan Borough President's office," the Borough President's Office wrote to Solow in November. "Please cease any further use of One Sutton Place North as an address for 420 East 61st St."
Bergin fretted that Solow's building — which sits across from a hotel and is surrounded by other businesses — is not in a very Sutton Place-like area.
"It makes our neighborhood more commercial," she said. "We are not commercial. That's why people move here. Sutton Place is known as residential."
The actual One Sutton Place North, she said, is an elegant neo-Georgian brick townhouse built in the 1920s for Anne Harriman Vanderbilt, the widow of one of the Vanderbilt heirs.
It's currently home to an heiress of the Heinz ketchup company and sits on a rarefied block. The townhouse next door built for a daughter of the banker J.P. Morgan is now the official residence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
"While the name Sutton has been used by bars, restaurants, stores and apartment houses beyond our neighborhood, Sutton Place and Sutton Place South have for nearly a century been the exclusive identifiers of an enclave neighborhood of residential buildings and townhouses," Bergin wrote to Solow in 2003.
"SAC and the community regard any infringement by name annexation as diminishing this special ambiance and distinction," she wrote.
Solow's company did not respond for comment.
Residents had fought Solow — and were victorious — in 2001 when he and the New York Board of Realtors tried to rename York Avenue from 59th to 63rd streets as Sutton Place North.
"He was going to change five blocks of York Avenue and take that honor away from Sergeant York," Bergin said about the decorated World War I soldier whose life was made into a 1941 movie starring Gary Cooper.
But residents at One Sutton Place North — where Street Easy reported a three-bedroom unit recently rented for $8,990 a month — seem to be above the fray.
"When I tell people my address, I refer to it as 420 East 61st Street," said a 25-year-old medical professional who declined to give her name but said she moved to the building a year ago to be near her job at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
"I thought One Sutton Place North was the name of the building's management company," she said. "I'm sure Sutton Place is considered very prestigious, but that's not why I live here. I wanted to be close to work."