Cliff Dwelling is an oddly shaped, exotically decorated apartment building overlooking New York’s Riverside Park at W 96th Street.
The shape – dictated by the parcel of land left over after other developers picked their plots – is a thin north-pointing wedge. The decoration, white terra cotta in desert-Western motifs, is from the imagination of Herman Lee Meader (who used similar designs on the Friends House on E 25th Street). Don’t be shocked by the swastikas – they were used by the Navajo (and many other cultures) centuries before Nazism.
While the yellow brick facade is memorable, the apartments inside were not (at least in their tiny original five-to-a-floor form). After the building went co-op in 1979, residents began buying up and combining adjoining apartments. According to City Realty, the building now has just 43 units.
Cliff Dwelling Vital Statistics
- Location: 243 Riverside Drive at W 96th Street
- Year completed: 1917
- Architect: Herman Lee Meader
- Floors: 13
- Style: neo-Classicism
Cliff Dwelling Recommended Reading
- Wikipedia entry (Herman Lee Meader)
- The New York Times Streetscapes/Cliff Dwelling at 96th Street and Riverside Drive; A Terra Cotta Masterpiece in Unusual Dimensions (January 6, 2002)
- City Realty review
- Emporis database