The wide-open feeling offered by 86th Street is augmented here by the set-back buildings and Riverside Drive. The line of fancy apartments are dotted with trees and planters as you walk down the street.
It seems to me, expensive apartments fall into one of two categories architecturally: 1) Ornate, classic beauty, or 2) Bland simplicity. Now this isn't to say "old stuff is good" or "new stuff is bad" - in fact, often times the era in which something was built has little to do with my opinion of it. But in high-income areas it seems that a lot of the buildings are afraid to do anything with style. They'll stick to one color, one type of stone, and maybe add a little bit of glass for flair. Luckily this area of town doesn't suffer from this issue too much. While rather monochromatic, the buildings here offer a nice array of masonry and detailing.
What is comes down to: I'd much rather look at an "ugly" yet interesting thing than a "beautiful" yet boring thing.