Tag Archives: 1902

Siegel-Cooper Buildings

The Siegel-Cooper Dry Goods Store, designed by DeLemos & Cordes (New York), was the world’s largest store when opened in September 1896. The Beaux Arts-style building on Sixth Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets had the other distinction of being the first steel-framed store in New York City. The same architect designed the Siegel-Cooper warehouse a few blocks away. (And in 1902 De Lemos & Cordes designed Macy’s Herald Square – which took over the “world’s largest” title with its expansion in 1924.*)

The current tenants at 620 Sixth Avenue are Bed Bath & Beyond, T.J. Maxx, and Marshalls.

The warehouse/wagon house is a block-through building with entrances on 17th and 18th Streets, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. The 18th Street Side is currently used by Barneys New York.

Siegel-Cooper Building Vital Statistics
  • Location: 616 Sixth Avenue between W 18th and W 19th Streets
  • Year completed: 1897
  • Architect: De Lemos & Cordes
  • Floors: 6
  • Style: Beaux Arts
Siegel-Cooper Warehouse Vital Statistics
  • Location: 249 W 17th Street block-through to 236 W 18th Street between Seventh and Eight Avenues
  • Year completed: 1902
  • Architect: De Lemos & Cordes
  • Floors: 6
Siegel-Cooper Buildings Suggested Reading

*Korean chain Shinsegae took over the title in 2009 with a store in Busan.

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The Dorilton

Although the Dorilton apartments (co-op) doesn’t take up the entire block, it certainly seems that way, towering over the intersection of Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue and 71st Street. Designed by the firm of Janes & Leo in the Beaux Arts style, the structure was completed in 1902 and remains an impressive piece of New York architecture.

The Dorilton’s ornate facade is best seen from Broadway/Amsterdam Avenue, though the nine-story arched entrance is on 71st Street.

The Dorilton is a New York City landmark and listed in the National register of Historic Places. The building has attracted many architectural critiques – see the sample below.

The Dorilton Vital Statistics
  • Location: 171 W 71st Street at Broadway
  • Year completed: 1902
  • Architect: Janes & Leo
  • Floors: 12
  • Style: Beaux Arts
  • New York City Landmark: 1974
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1983
The Dorilton Suggested Reading

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Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building isn’t the only triangular building in New York, but it’s undoubtedly the best recognized – perhaps for its ornate decoration as well as for its quirky shape.

The 21-story steel-frame skyscraper is at the northern end of the Ladies Mile shopping district, considered “uptown” when built in 1902. Folk lore has it that those ladies were frequent victims of the Flatiron Building: It created unpredictable winds that sent skirts billowing. Police had to disperse oglers – coining the phrase “23 skidoo” in the process.

Like other early skyscrapers, Flatiron Building had a tripartite design – modeled after a classical column with a distinct base, shaft and capital. All three facades are ornamented from top to bottom – including statuary at the 21st floor.

The building’s owner, George A. Fuller, insisted on the glass-and-iron “cowcatcher” store – over the objections of the architect. And apparently the 21st floor penthouse was also a last-minute addition; the building’s elevators only go up to 20.

If you think the Flatiron Building is quirky on the outside, read The New York Times’ column about life on the inside.

Flatiron Building is just one of more than two dozen architectural landmarks within a few blocks radius. Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership conducts free walking tours every Sunday at 11 a.m. – meet at the SW corner of Madison Square Park, in front of the William Seward statue. (You may also enjoy our earlier gallery, “Flatiron Building and Vicinity.”)

Flatiron Building Vital Statistics
Flatiron Building Recommended Reading

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The Braender

The Braender is one of the more interesting apartment buildings of Central Park West’s far northern blocks – Manhattan Valley. The 10-story structure was restored in 2006. Among other repairs, huge terra cotta ornaments were replaced with lighter replicas. A couple of the originals are now displayed at ground level, in the building’s courtyard, where they can’t fall and hurt someone.

The building hasn’t had stunning architectural reviews – it’s a quirky mix of styles that’s hard to categorize – but it does get noticed. Originally the building had about 50 apartments (according to The New York Times Streetscapes column); those have been subdivided into the current 88.

Braender Vital Statistics
Braender Recommended Reading

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Knox Building

The Knox Building is a landmark 10-story Beaux Arts commercial building, wrapped by the modern 29-story HSBC Tower. Both have ties to 19th-Century personalities.

Civil War hero Edward Knox took over his father’s ailing hat business and pledged to make the Knox name known wherever hats were sold. The Knox Hat Building on Fifth Avenue was part of the route taken. Knox, active in veterans’ affairs, met architect John H. Duncan and was impressed by his designs of the Grand Army Plaza Memorial Arch and the General Grant National Memorial (Grant’s Tomb). Knox subsequently commissioned Duncan to build his newest store and company headquarters.

In 1964 Republic National Bank bought the building and converted it to banking, making relatively few exterior changes (though they did remove the mezzanine). Then in 1985 Republic wrapped a 29-story L-shaped tower around the Knox Building. HSBC acquired Republic, and in 2006 made additional restorations and renovations to the structures.

The artfully done tower (Eli Attia, architect) comes off as a drape backdrop for the Beaux Arts Knox Building. The art came at the expense of the Kress Building, which many preservationists wanted to save from demolition.

HSBC Tower preserves some history that predates the Kress Building, though. In the middle of the Fifth Avenue facade a bronze door memorializes the site of an 1850s “House of Mystery.” That mansion was owned by the Wendel family until the last daughter, Ella, died in 1931 at age 78.

The five-story red brick home was said to be the last residence on that stretch of Fifth, an eccentric home to an eccentric and very wealthy family.

When Ella died, the estate reportedly took 10 years, 250 lawyers and $2 million to settle – there were no less than 2,300 individuals claiming to be heirs.

Drew University was among the beneficiaries of Ella’s will: They received, then sold, the mansion, and a Kress Department Store was built on the site.

Knox Building Vital Statistics
HSBC Tower Vital Statistics
Knox Building / HSBC Tower Recommended Reading

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194 Riverside Drive

194 Riverside Drive is relatively small, and well-screened by the trees of Joan of Arc Island – it would be easy to miss. But the building’s bold features are well worth seeing close up.

According to the Street Easy real estate website, the seven-story building originally had three 13-room apartments per floor; now there are 42 units.

The architect, Ralph S. Townsend, also designed neighboring 190 Riverside Drive as well as the much showier Kenilworth on Central Park West. In one of his Streetscapes columns, The New York Times’ architectural historian, Christopher Gray, provides some background on the architect.

(A wonderful collection of Gray’s columns was published in 2003 under the title New York Streetscapes. Although it is now out of print, you can still get copies at Amazon.com – both new and used: New York Streetscapes: Tales of Manhattan’s Significant Buildings and Landmarks)

194 Riverside Drive Vital Statistics
194 Riverside Drive Recommended Reading

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214 Riverside Drive

214 Riverside Drive, the Chatillion, is a distinctive Beaux Arts apartment building. Its picturesque, curving form is right in character with undulating Riverside Drive.

Originally conceived as a luxury building, with just two grand apartments per floor, Chatillion has been subdivided to 15 apartments per floor!

The coop appears to have more than its share of history. The property’s website recounts “Murder, suicide, crime, disasters, political intrigue” at the address.

214 Riverside Drive Vital Statistics
214 Riverside Drive Recommended Reading

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River Mansion

River Mansion has had a storied life, starting as the residence of a wealthy Broadway actress, devolving into a rooming house, then the home of (minor) royalty, back to a rooming house, then as a music school and now restored as a residence. It is part of New York’s Riverside-West 105th Street Historic District, an enclave of just 30 five-story town houses sharing similar architecture.

The building (and its neighbor 322 W 106th Street) was completed in 1902, just four years after completion of Riverside Park.

For the fascinating story of the River Mansion’s occupants, read the Daytonian in Manhattan blog. And to get a better sense of the house’s neighbors, read The New York Times‘ account, “The Heist, the Getaway and the Sawed-Off Leg.”

River Mansion Vital Statistics
River Mansion Recommended Reading

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