Tag Archives: 1908


The Kenilworth has an impressive entry flanked by banded columns reminiscent of the Prasada and the Lucerne. Last of the Second Empire-style buildings to be built on Central Park West, remarkably the structure looks unchanged from 1908, except that the wood-frame windows were replaced.

Even the interiors have been preserved. Architectural historian Andrew Alpern wrote, “The Kenilworth has three apartments on each floor, two of which are of a modified long-hall variety. While not exceptional in their planning or appointments, these suites have been kept surprisingly intact.” (New York’s Fabulous Luxury Apartments: With Original Floor Plans from the Dakota, River House, Olympic Tower and Other Great Buildings)

Overshadowed by neighboring San Remo apartments, the 12-story Kenilworth was built without the benefit of a steel frame, or the 1929 building code that liberalized residential height restrictions. The structure’s limestone and red brick walls actually hold the building up, they’re not just for appearance.

Speaking of appearance, the heavy contrasting ornamentation and copper-trimmed slate mansard roof give the building presence beyond its mere dozen stories. The two-story columns and dry moat are just icing on the cake.

The Kenilworth was converted to a cooperative in 1957.

Kenilworth Vital Statistics
Kenilworth Recommended Reading

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Apthorp Apartments

Apthorp Apartments takes up the entire block from 78th to 79th Streets, Broadway to West End Avenue. It is divided into four sub-buildings around a central courtyard. Built in 1906-1908 by Viscount William Waldorf Astor, who later moved to a castle in England (“America is not a fit place for a gentleman to live”).

The building went condo in 2008 with apartments averaging $6.5 million. (A number of legal issues cropped up, but that’s another story.) The conversion modernized the building to include techy touches like Cat5E (computer network) and FiOS wiring.

Apthorp has New York City landmark status and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Apthorp Apartments Vital Statistics
  • Location: 2209 Broadway (whole block from Broadway to West End Avenue, W 78th to W 79th Streets)
  • Year completed: 1908
  • Architect: Clinton & Russell
  • Floors: 12
  • Style: Renaissance Revival
  • New York City Landmark: 1969
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1978
Apthorp Apartments Suggested Reading

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Tenderloin Precinct

New York’s “Tenderloin” district, aka “Satan’s Circus,” demanded a police station that “look[s] like a police station” according to then-Police Commissioner William McAdoo. The result was the fortress-like Tenderloin Precinct (officially the 23rd Precinct) Station House. The precinct has been renamed (7th, 14th, Midtown South) and the building’s occupant is now the NYPD Traffic Control Division, but the building is as imposing as ever.

When the 23rd Precinct Station House was built, the neighborhood was known as the city’s most corrupt red light district. The “Tenderloin” name was coined by police Captain Alexander “Clubber” Williams, who bragged after being transferred to the precinct in 1876 that after living off of chuck steak, he would now get some of the tenderloin [graft]. Williams was forced out of the department in 1895 – reputedly a millionaire.

The original building plans, wrote Commissioner McAdoo, “…looked like a second-class apartment-house. It gave no suggestion of its official character, and the internal arrangements were more fanciful than practical.” The architect, R. Thomas Short, was in fact better known as a designer of apartment buildings. But Short redesigned the station house with guidance from McAdoo and a committee of veteran police officers.

The building got mixed reviews – some critics considered it a model station, others thought it overly dramatic. The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission gave the building landmark status Dec. 15, 1998.

R. Thomas Short was prolific, with many notable buildings to his credit, including Red House, Alwyn Court Apartments, and the Studio Building.

Tenderloin Precinct Vital Statistics
  • Location: 134 W 30th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
  • Year completed: 1908
  • Architect: R. Thomas Short
  • Floors: 5
  • Style: Medieval Revival
  • New York City Landmark: 1998
Tenderloin Precinct Suggested Reading

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45 East 66th Street

45 East 66th Street is a striking Gothic-embellished apartment building designed by Harde & Short, built of red brick with white terra cotta ornament. The 10-story Madison Avenue landmark has a distinctive corner tower (like Harde & Short’s Alwyn Court) and a tall cornice; the colors and ornamentation are similar to the architects’ Red House.

Originally, the luxury building had just two apartments on each floor. The building’s entrance was in the base of the corner tower, and there were no stores. In 1928, new owners moved the entry to East 66th Street (where it is now) and converted ground floor apartments to more lucrative stores. A few years later the owners began subdividing apartments – there are now 33 in the 10-story building.

45 East 66th Street Vital Statistics
45 East 66th Street Recommended Reading

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Gainsborough Studios

Gainsborough Studios is a distinctively detailed, colorful cooperative apartment building on a street sometimes termed bland.

The 1908 landmark was a cooperative in the original sense – intended for a community of artists – and designed for studios. The park-facing apartments are all duplexes, with double-height windows to capture the light. The rear apartments are all standard-height units. See floor plans (click plans for enlarged view). Alas, the apartments’ multi-million-dollar price tags are out of artists’ reach.

The facade was restored in 1988 – the same year the building was designated a NYC landmark.

The building next door (220 Central Park South) was demolished, and the lot will remain vacant and boarded up until the joint owners can settle their dispute. Vornado Real Estate Trust wants to build a new tower; Extell, which owns the underground parking garage (accessed via W 58th Street) won’t vacate. Extell also owns the new One57 tower and is building the 1,500-foot-tall Nordstrom Tower directly behind 220 Central Park South.

It seems that historic Gainsborough Studios will soon be dwarfed by its new neighbors east and south.

Gainsborough Studios Vital Statistics
Gainsborough Studios Recommended Reading

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Jane Hotel

Jane Hotel, built in 1908 as the American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home and Institute, once hosted Titanic survivors. It was designed by William A. Boring, who was also the architect for Ellis Island’s immigration station. Restored in 2008, the Jane Hotel now hosts financial survivors – in tiny rooms with shared bath priced as low as $79 per night.

The distinctive octagonal tower originally had a beacon, to welcome sailors. The beacon is gone, but other nautical connections remain. For starters, Jane Hotel rooms are called cabins. How tiny? A “remarkably cozy” 50 square feet. Some with bunk beds. The New York Times quipped, Popeye Slept Here and Now Olive Oyl Can, Too. the developers, Sean MacPherson and Eric Goode, also run the Maritime Hotel – a former sailor’s hostelry run by the National Maritime Union.

In 1931 the Home and Institute was downgraded to annex status, and in 1944 the YMCA took over the property, removing the beacon in 1946. Also in 1946, YMCA sold the building; it changed hands several more times over the years, finally becoming Riverview Hotel before MacPherson and Goode took over. (See the Corbin Plays portfolio for historic photos of the building with beacon. The PreservationNation Blog has current interior photos.)

In the 1970s and until 2005, the Jane Street Theater called this home.

The Greenwich Village waterfront now attracts joggers instead of sailors. The Jane Hotel is an architectural reminder of New York’s history as a seaport – and a haven (says the hotel) for travelers “with more dash than cash.”

Jane Hotel Vital Statistics
Jane Hotel Recommended Reading

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Holtz House

Holtz House seems taller than 12 stories, thanks to the four-story “wings” that Charles Holtz and Bruno Freystedt annexed in 1910 to expand their two-story restaurant in New York’s Ladies Mile Historic District. Architect William C. Frohne designed a memorable storefront that is still largely intact.

The builder, Philip Braender, was a prolific developer who erected more than 1,500 structures in the last two decades of the 19th century according to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC).

The three-story base is the building’s most notable feature: Two large doorways flank the two-story storefront – an elaborate wall of five casement windows topped by oval panes and an ornate metal frieze displaying winged dragon-cornucopias on either side of the name “HOLTZ.” Above the base is a nine-story arch containing the central windows.

Two years after opening, Holtz House was connected to the adjoining buildings (numbers 5 and 11) to accommodate Holtz and Frystedt’s expanding business, the LPC reported.

The loft building originally housed all commercial tenants, then in 1987 the top eight floors were converted to residential units, notes the Daytonian in Manhattan blog.

Holtz House Vital Statistics
Holtz House Recommended Reading

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