Tag Archives: 1925

235 W 76th Street

235 W 76th Street, aka The Colorado,* is a pre-war apartment building in Renaissance Revival style, enlivened by colorful terra cotta in the base and crown.

The building’s architect – Robert T. Lyons – is best known for his Beaux Arts masterpiece on Central Park West, the St. Urban.

* Not to be confused with the same-named Upper East Side condo.

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235 W 76th Street Recommended Reading

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Staten Island Savings Bank

Staten Island Savings Bank is a tall single-story structure filling the triangular plot across Water Street from Tappen Park and Edgewater Village Hall.

According to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, “The bank is a fine example of Beaux Arts classicism. It presents two well-defined facades replete with classical symmetry, recognizable Renaissance motifs such as the rusticated wall and arched windows framed within pilasters, and ideal proportions. More importantly, the subtle insertion of the circular colonnaded portico between the acutely angled facades, thus creating the main entrance, is a masterful means of turning an otherwise difficult acute angle into a positive element. A precedent for this treatment had been established by Sir John Soane in his design for the Bank of England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century which may be the source for Aldrich’s design.”

Staten Island Savings Bank Vital Statistics
Staten Island Savings Bank Recommended Reading

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Madison Belmont Building

The Madison Belmont Building was a prominent addition to the young “Silk District,” commercial buildings serving the silk industry that replaced the mansions of uptown-bound wealthy New Yorkers. It was among the first in the U.S. to use Art Deco design elements, according to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission. The overall design, however, was traditional. Like other tall buildings of the time, the Madison Belmont Building had a base – shaft – capital organization mimicking a classical column.

Although architect Whitney Warren had been exposed to Art Deco concepts while in Paris, it appears that prime tenant Cheney Silk Company also influenced the design. The company had a relationship with Edgar Brandt, a pioneer of the Art Deco style in Paris. Warren picked Brandt to design the iron and bronze framing around the showroom windows of the lower three floors, as well as the entrance doors and grilles.

The white 18th floor was added in 1953 – 29 years after the original construction.

Despite the Madison Belmont Building’s pioneering role, architects Warren & Wetmore are better known for their neo-Renaissance and Beaux Arts works, such as the New York Yacht Club, Grand Central Terminal, New York Central Building (aka Helmsley Building), Steinway Hall, Aeolian, and Heckscher Building (aka Crown Building).

Madison Belmont Building Vital Statistics
Madison Belmont Building Recommended Reading

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31 E 79th Street

31 E 79th Street is two buildings in one, though you wouldn’t know it at first glance. The original, eastern section was built in 1925 with one seven-room apartment per floor; the western section, added three years later, contained triplex apartments.

From the outside, only three clues that the building was built in parts: Inconsistent cornice, cracks developing in E 79th Street facade, and unusual horizontal spacing of windows.

See Andrew Alpern’s “New York’s Fabulous Luxury Apartments for floor plans (not to mention 73 other luxury apartment houses).

31 E 79th Street Vital Statistics
31 E 79th Street Recommended Reading

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243 West End Avenue

243 West End Avenue was built in 1925 as Hotel Cardinal, an apartment hotel designed by Emery Roth, one of New York’s foremost residential architects. The red brick facade is embellished with elaborate polychrome terra cotta window treatments on the bottom three and top three floors – recalling the classic base-shaft-capital design of early tall buildings.

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) notes in its West End-Collegiate Historic District Extension Designation Report that the original cornice and windows have been replaced. Originally, the windows were six-over-six double-hung sashes (archi-speak for 12-paned windows).

For a time, the building was also known as the Coliseum Plaza.

LPC adds a musical note: Music publisher Frederick Benjamin Haviland, whose songs included “The Sidewalks of New York,” lived here before his death in 1932. Fast forward to 2015: there’s a song titled “243 West End Avenue” performed by The Virgin Lips. You heard it here first!

243 West End Avenue Vital Statistics
243 West End Avenue Recommended Reading

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Mayfair House

Mayfair House was designed as a residential hotel by James Carpenter, one of New York’s premier apartment house architects. For a time, the building operated as the Mayfair Regent Hotel.

Colony Capital bought the building at a bankruptcy auction in 1998, and partnered with Trump International to convert the 210 hotel rooms and suites to 70 condominium apartments. At the same time the new owners expanded the ground floor restaurant, and swapped entrances: The restaurant entrance is now on E 65th Street and the residential entrance is on Park Avenue.

Thankfully, no glass boxes were added (as was done four blocks away, at Trump Park Avenue).

Mayfair House Vital Statistics
Mayfair House Recommended Reading

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Beekman Mansions

Beekman Mansions is a charming neo-Renaissance cooperative apartment building nestled among diplomatic missions and residences, three blocks north of the United Nations.

The upper floors are rather plain, but the four-story brick-and-stone base is enchanting, with the third-story arcade flanked by pseudo towers. The five Gothic-arched entryways reveal the building’s inventiveness: The center doors lead to a conventional elevator lobby; the flanking doors lead to maisonettes – duplex apartments with private entries from the street. (sample floor plan here)

Van Wart & Wein designed the similarly styled Campanile almost directly behind Beekman Mansions. Set at the end (450) of E 52nd Street, on a bluff overlooking FDR Drive, the 14-story building has unimpeded views of the East River, Roosevelt Island and the 59th Street Bridge.

Beekman Mansions Vital Statistics
Beekman Mansions Recommended Reading

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