Tag Archives: 1916

Friends House

Friends House (originally the B.W. Mayer Building) seems Mayan-inspired in its brickwork, terra cotta snakes and skulls, and turquoise details. The architect, Herman Lee Meader, also designed the Cliff Dwelling apartments on Riverside Drive and the Mayan-inspired 154-160 West 14th Street.

As the B.W. Mayer Building, it was originally offices; then for many years it was a trade school. In 1994 the Quakers purchased the building and restored it, converting the structure to a group residence.

Friends House Vital Statistics
  • Location: 130 E 25th Street at Lexington Avenue
  • Year completed: 1916
  • Architect: Herman Lee Meader
  • Floors: 7
  • Style: Art Deco
Friends House Suggested Reading

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Five Penn Plaza

Five Penn Plaza is overshadowed now, but as the Printing Crafts Building it was the “tallest and most imposing business structure on Eighth Avenue” [The New York Times] when built in 1916. Today, the gilt panels of former tenants recall the structure’s history.

It was conceived as the nation’s largest printing/publishing building, with 10 floors devoted to presses and binderies, and 12 floors for stockrooms and offices of publishers and ad agencies. Proximity to the main post office and Penn Station were key ingredients of the building’s success.

Despite the building’s age, it has been modernized with “green” technology (LEED-certified silver) and multiple fiber optic lines.

Five Penn Plaza Vital Statistics
Five Penn Plaza Recommended Reading

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Colony Club

This is the second home of the Colony Club, the prestigious women’s social club that quickly outgrew its 1908 Stanford White-designed headquarters on Madison Avenue and E 31st Street. (Why didn’t White get to design the second club? He was shot by a jealous husband – but that’s another story.)

Like men’s clubs of the era, Colony Club was big on fitness facilities: the basement has what is said to be New York’s deepest indoor pool, a spa, and (via express elevator) a gymnasium and squash courts on the fifth floor. Other facilities included a ballroom and even a kennel for members’ pets.

Membership was (and still is) restricted to women – you must be recommended by a current member to be considered. Past members include Harrimans, Morgans, Astors and Rockefellers, to drop a few names.

Colony Club Vital Statistics
Colony Club Recommended Reading

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