Apartment 22

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Cha Cha Room

Apartment 22 Resident: Mrs. Elizabeth Howard Johnson

Located on the 22nd and 23 floor (12,000 sq. ft.)


In 1914 Roger Enright meet lawyer Thomas Howard of Philadelphia. The two hit it off instantly. Thomas took the brilliant Enright under his wing and introduced him to some of the biggest movers and shakers in finance. Within 11 months, Enright had made his first million. Enright never forgot Henry’s friendship and kindness. In 1936, Thomas Henry died and left Enright devastated. Enright promised to look after Thomas’s wife, Elizabeth. He gave her the 22nd floor duplex of Enright House.

It was in 1953, on a holiday in Europe, that Elizabeth had a revelation. Her secretary booked her on a last-minute trip aboard the maiden voyage of the SS Andrea Doria. She stayed in the Zodiac Suite designed by Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti. Julia had never seen a room that looked like this and fell in love. She described it as a “beautiful underwater dream.” Upon her return to New York, she called up Enright and they met for drinks at Bar Alfred. Enright knew Ponti and set up an introduction.


Elizabeth hired both Ponti and Fornasetti to design the entire two floors. During the course of the two year renovation Ponti introduced Julia to the world of Surrealism, and she once again feel in love. Over the next 25 years she amassed one of the largest collections of surreal art (over 630 works) in the world.


An avid jogger her entire life Elizabeth loved being in motion. One night at Bar Alfred artist Willem de Kooning started to dance with Elizabeth, and taught her a new dance called the Cha Cha. Julia was beside herself. She LOVED this dance movement. The next day she called Gio Ponti and ordered a ballroom which she called her Cha Cha Room. Many nights the residents of Enright House would start off their evening at Bar Alfred and end dancing the night away at Elizabeth’s glamorous duplex apartment.


The Cha Cha Room




Designed by Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti in 1953. The lacquered double doors lead to the entry corridor. Ceilings soared to a staggering 23’, the walls were reverse painted sheets of glass. The seashell imagery was painted at the Fornasetti Studio in Milan. The swirling marble ceiling was painted by Gio Ponti’s assistants. Ponti designed the blue ceiling lights that were hand blown in Italy by Murano. The pediment and door surround was designed by Max Ernst. The floors are poured colored resin. Artworks by: Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Giorgio de Chirico, Yves Tanguy and Leonor Fini.


Detail of Cha Cha room showing works on canvas by

Detail of Cha Cha room showing works from Elizabeth Johnson’s massive collection of Surrealism paintings.



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