295 Park Avenue South was built in 1892 as the home of the New York Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children. The terra cotta children seen at the seventh floor are modeled after those designed by Andrea Della Robbia at the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence, according to Gramercy Neighborhood Associates.
The building was converted to rental apartments in 1982, and is now known as Park 23 (for its East 23rd Street location).
If every building has a story, this one is about Mary Ellen McCormack. The 10-year-old child, who was whipped daily for no apparent reason and dressed in rags, attracted the attention of a social worker. At the time, no city agency could help. In desperation the social worker reached out to the founder of the ASPCA, who enlisted a lawyer… Long story short, the abusive mother was found guilty of assault and battery, Mary found a good home, and the NY Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children was born. But you should read the full story.
295 Park Avenue South Vital Statistics
- Location: 295 Park Avenue South at E 23rd Street
- Year completed: 1892
- Architect: Renwick, Aspinwall & Renwick
- Floors: 9
- Style: Renaissance Revival
- Wikipedia entry (NY Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)
- Wikipedia entry (Mary Ellen McCormack’s case worker)
- The New York Times Case Shined First Light on Abuse of Children (December 14, 2009)
- Forgotten New York blog
- Gramercy Neighborhood Associates landmark proposal
- Street Easy NY listing
- Emporis database