Tag Archives: Art Nouveau

New Era Building

With its eye-catching Art Nouveau copper mansard roof, the New Era Building stands out in the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District. You can spot the building a block away.

But up close, it’s even more wondrous: The deeply incised white terra cotta detailing of the sixth floor arches has the appearance of carved ivory. What’s more, the facade has been restored to a pristine white.


There seems to be some confusion over the original owner and architect of this building. The “AIA Guide to New York City” accurately describes the structure, but identifies the New Era Building as 491 Broadway, designed by Buchman & Dreiser. The Daytonian in Manhattan blog gives it the right address – 495 Broadway – but also says the building was designed by Buchman & Dreiser, and was originally owned by Jeremiah C. Lyons. The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission says 495 Broadway was owned by Augustus D. Julliard and designed by Alfred Zucker; 491 Broadway, the larger building next door, was owned by Lyons and designed by Buchman & Dreiser. I’m going with the Landmarks Preservation Commission version.

New Era Building Vital Statistics
  • Location: 495 Broadway between Spring and Broome Streets
  • Year completed: 1893
  • Architect: Alfred Zucker
  • Floors: 8
  • Style: Art Nouveau
  • New York City Landmark: 1973 (included in SoHo Cast Iron Historic District)
New Era Building Suggested Reading

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Dallieu – what’s left of it – is a wonderful example of texture in architecture, designed by New York masters George and Edward Blum. The New York Times’ Christopher Gray called it, “one of the great apartment buildings of the West Side.”

Sadly, the building lost its balconies, parapet and original windows and entrance doors, which added to Dallieu’s character. And in places the owners replaced the original roman brick with common brick – mismatched in both color and shape. Still, the remaining terra cotta bands and roman brick are beautiful, often described as “woven” or “textile” in appearance.

Dallieu Vital Statistics
Dallieu Recommended Reading

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780 West End Avenue

780 West End Avenue was ahead of its time, New York apartment house architecture that emphasized its height by omitting the horizontal banding common among “classical” buildings. Also, the perforated cornice seems to add a 14th floor.

The building is also notable for its mix of granite, white brick, and terra cotta, and for the curved balconies at the second, third, 12th, and 13th floors.

The architects, George & Edward Blum, were prolific designers. They have more than 120 apartment houses to their credit, plus many office and loft buildings; many of their structures are New York City landmarks.

780 West End Avenue Vital Statistics
780 West End Avenue Recommended Reading

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Hotel Belleclaire

Hotel Belleclaire was one of the first residences designed by Emery Roth, who went on to become one of New York’s most important apartment house architects.

Although Roth’s later work was primarily in Beaux Arts and Art Deco styles, Belleclaire was designed in Art Nouveau. The original design included a domed turret on the corner, which was removed in the ’50s. The ground floor restaurant and hotel office windows have been replaced with storefronts, and the original Broadway entrance was moved to the W 77th Street courtyard.

Belleclaire began life as an upper class apartment hotel – families lived there more or less permanently, relying on hotel services for housekeeping and meals. Over the years the hotel’s clientele – and facilities – changed. Transients were accepted; kitchenettes were added; for a time it was among New York’s “welfare hotels” for indigent families.

Fast forward to 2008: owners embarked on a total renovation and upgrade, now (May 2014) nearly complete. Later this year they plan to open a rooftop restaurant.

Hotel Belleclaire Vital Statistics
Hotel Belleclaire Recommended Reading

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