The fire began Friday afternoon on the fourth-floor of the 12-story Brentmore apartment building near Central Park and was put out about an hour later, The New York Times reported.
Some residents told the Times the fire started in the laundry room of De Niro's apartment, which spans the fourth, fifth and sixth floors.
The actor was not in the building at the time of the incident, fire officials said. No injuries were reported.
Academy award-winning actress Celeste Holm and her husband, Frank Basile, were trapped in their apartment in the building as firefighters battled the flames, the Times reported.
"My wife and I were out late last night, and we were woken by the fire trucks and phone calls saying, 'Get out, the apartment building is on fire,' " Basile said.
Fire officials are investigating the cause of the blaze.