Tag Archives: 1891

Montauk Club

Montauk Club is “an architectural treasure” of Park Slope, Brooklyn, according to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. Francis H. Kimball designed the brownstone and brick building in the style of a Venetian palace, decorated on three sides in terra cotta with scenes of the Montauk Indians. (The north side of the building, adjoining a vacant lot, was left plain for possible expansion.)

The club itself still exists (see their website for details), though it now uses just the two lower floors. The upper floors have been converted to cooperative apartments – accessed through the club’s former “ladies’ entrance.” The ladies’ entrance allowed the lady of 1891 to go directly to the third floor dining room without encountering cigar smoke or other male vices.

Montauk Club Vital Statistics
Montauk Club Recommended Reading

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Franklin Trust Company Building

Franklin Trust Company Building (aka Franklin Tower Apartments) was built to impress. The bank is no more (absorbed through mergers into present-day Citibank), but the building still impresses.

The former bank/office building stands at the corner of Montague and Clinton Streets, on the block where Montague transitions from residential to “Bankers’ Row.” Diagonally across the street are three consecutive bank buildings.

In 2009 Rothzeid Kaiserman Thomson & Bee (RKTB) performed a $10 million “gut renovation” of the building, creating 25 condo apartments plus retail spaces while preserving and restoring the exterior.

Franklin Trust Company Building Vital Statistics
Franklin Trust Company Building Recommended Reading

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Bleecker Tower

Bleecker Tower, originally the Manhattan Savings Institution, is a distinctive red sandstone and brick structure. Its chamfered corner and Romanesque arches are on a massive scale – appropriate for the bank that it was. (Lofts filled the upper stories.)

After mergers with two other banks, Manhattan Savings Institution became Manhattan Savings Bank – and closed the branch at 644 Broadway in the early 1940s. “MSI” remains embossed on the building’s copper pediment.

In the 1970s the owners converted the building to residential lofts; in the 1980s the building was converted again, to luxury loft apartments. In 2000 the owners embarked on a major facade restoration.

Bleecker Tower is in good company: Landmarked Empire State Bank Building is across the street; landmark Bayard-Condict Building is next door.

Bleecker Tower Vital Statistics
Bleecker Tower Recommended Reading

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700 Broadway

700 Broadway seems to have an ongoing identity crisis. Originally the Schermerhorn Building*, it was designed by George B. Post as a store. A decade later the Romanesque Revival structure was converted to showrooms, offices, storage and workshops. Then it became lofts. The building was vacant and abandoned for most of the 1980s, until the National Audubon Society took it over as their national headquarters in 1989. Lincoln Property Company bought the building in 2006, but sold it in 2008 to the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg.

The building became “green” as the Audubon House: A two-year restoration project triple-insulated the structure’s walls and roof, rebuilt interior spaces to make better use of natural lighting, and installed high-efficiency lighting and heating/cooling systems, among other improvements.

When Weitz & Luxenberg took over, the firm discovered that routine facade maintenance was anything but routine: Years of subway vibrations and freeze/thaw cycles had created severe structural damage – major cracks had developed and parts of the walls were leaning out over the street. Another two-year restoration project ensued, rebuilding and repairing the walls, cornice, and terra cotta ornamentation.

Architect George B. Post also designed the landmark New York Stock Exchange and Brooklyn Historical Society.

* Not to be confused with the Schermerhorn Building just two blocks away at 380 Lafayette Street.

700 Broadway Vital Statistics
700 Broadway Recommended Reading

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Main Brooklyn Post Office

Main Brooklyn Post Office, aka Conrad B. Duberstein U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse, is one of downtown Brooklyn’s architectural gems. The four-story (plus tower) granite structure is boldly detailed Romanesque Revival. The building originally included federal courtrooms – but the courts have now pushed the original post office functions into the addition, built in 1933.

Both the original building and the annex were restored, inside and out, from 1996 through 2013. But prior to the restoration, the Federal Government wanted to demolish the annex to build a 415-foot-high courthouse tower – a structure that would dwarf the original building.

As The New York Times reported in 1992, “Deirdre Carson, a vice president for land use for the Brooklyn Heights Association, said that the 1891 building was one of the classic architectural structures in downtown Brooklyn and that putting a large building next to it would ruin its visual impact. ‘We’re trading two years of jobs for generations of ugliness,’ she said.” (full story)

Main Brooklyn Post Office Vital Statistics
Main Brooklyn Post Office Recommended Reading

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Warren Building

Warren Building is a neo-Renaissance gem with exquisite detail, refurbished in 2012. Though stripped of its original first floor colonnade and fourth floor balconies, the building’s marble and terra cotta trim, combined with roman brick, are stunning.

The prominent firm of McKim, Meade & White designed this seven-story building – and also designed the Goelet Building diagonally across Broadway. Broadway cuts diagonally across E 20th Street, making corners a little awkward (because we expect building corners to be right angles). McKim, Mead & White finessed the Warren Building’s corner with a chamfer; the Goelet Building’s corner is rounded.

Warren Building Vital Statistics
Warren Building Recommended Reading

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