The Wilbraham is a rare species: a “bachelor apartment hotel,” or “bachelor flats.” In the late 1800s, New York City had an unusually large concentration of single men. Yet bachelors were outcasts, of sorts, in the housing market: They couldn’t afford to live in rowhouses or hotels and were considered awkward in family-oriented apartment buildings (“French flats”) or apartment hotels. Bachelor flats were apartment hotels (each apartment included a suite of rooms with bathroom but no kitchen – a separate dining room served all residents) exclusively for single men.
The Wilbraham was considered among the most fashionable of bachelor flats, with its Fifth Avenue location, elegant architecture and amenities – including an elevator.
By 1929 the building had become a normal apartment hotel – women outnumbered men 15-10 according to the census. In 1934, new owners added kitchens to some of the apartments. Subsequent renovations converted the dining room and penthouse servants quarters to full apartments, as well.
The bottom two floors have always been a store.
The Wilbraham Vital Statistics
- Location: 284 Fifth Avenue at W 30th Street (also 1 W 30th Street)
- Year completed: 1890
- Architect: D. & J. Jardine
- Floors: 8
- Style: Romanesque Revival
- New York City Landmark: 2004
The Wilbraham Recommended Reading
- Wikipedia entry
- NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report
- The Daytonian in Manhattan blog
- Street Easy listing (real estate)