Tag Archives: Charles F. Moyer Co.

Lefcourt Buildings

Abraham E. Lefcourt is no longer a household name, but in his time – the 1920s – he rose from newspaper boy and bootblack to one of New York’s leading real estate developers. Lefcourt Buildings stood from 49th Street to Broad Street, from Seventh Avenue to Madison Avenue. Once dubbed “the Miracle Man of Realty,” from 1910 to 1932 Lefcourt developed 32 loft and office buildings – 20 in New York City – with an aggregate 5 million square feet of space on 477 floors, occupied by 200,000 people! The landmark Essex House on Central Park South was originally developed by Lefcourt as the Sevilla Towers – though it was foreclosed and auctioned off in 1931, before it was opened. He also launched a bank – and then, in the Great Depression, he lost his fortune, his son and his life.

At least 17 New York buildings remain [map and details below]. He built well, specializing in garment industry buildings that contained showrooms, factories and warehouses. However, only the Brill Building has NYC Landmark status; several have been drastically changed from their original appearance.

For more about Abraham E. Lefcourt and Garment District development, a few excellent resources are listed below. Also, the Skyscraper Museum‘s 2013 exhibit “Urban Fabric” was a fascinating view of Garment District development – the people and conditions as well as the brick and mortar. (The Skyscraper Museum is located in Battery Park City.)

Lefcourt Buildings Suggested Reading
Lefcourt Buildings Map

Printable 2-page walking guide

View Lefcourt Buildings in a larger map – print 2-page walking guide

Lefcourt Buildings – by year built (completed)

48 W 25th Street – between Sixth Avenue and Broadway
48 W 25th Street lobby detailHas been converted to cooperative apartments.

134 W 37th Street – between Seventh Avenue and Broadway
134 W 37th Street

42 W 38th Street – between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
42 W 38th Street

Lefcourt National Building – 521 Fifth Avenue at E 43rd Street
Lefcourt National Building

237 W 37th Street – between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
237 W 37th Street

246 W 38th Street – between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
246 W 38th Street

Lefcourt Central Building – 148 W 37th St between Broadway and 7th Avenue
Lefcourt Central BuildingAstoundingly little is written about this building, probably because it is a plain, relatively small (14 floors) structure.

Lefcourt Madison Building – 16 E 34th Street
Lefcourt Madison Building

Lefcourt Marlboro Building – 1359 Broadway at W 36th Street
Lefcourt Marlboro Building

Lefcourt Clothing Center Building – 275 Seventh Avenue between W 25th and W 26th Streets
Lefcourt Clothing Center Building

Lefcourt Manhattan Building / Fashion Gallery Building – 1412 Broadway at W 39th Street
Lefcourt Manhattan Building

Lefcourt Normandie Building – 1384 Broadway at W 38th Street
Lefcourt Normandie Building

Lefcourt State Building – 1375 Broadway at W 37th Street
Lefcourt State Building

ITT Building – 61 Broad Street
ITT BuildingOriginally built as the Lefcourt Exchange Building, the 35-story structure was purchased almost immediately by ITT, which added to the building to dominate the entire block.

Lefcourt Colonial Building – 295 Madison Avenue at E 41st Street
Lefcourt Colonial Building

Lefcourt Empire Building – 989 Sixth Avenue between W 36th and W 37th Streets
Lefcourt Empire Building

Brill Building (originally Alan E. Lefcourt Building) – 1619 Broadway at W 49th Street
Brill BuildingA Lefcourt building that bears the Lefcourt likeness instead of the Lefcourt name: A bust of Abraham Lefcourt’s son, Alan, is in a niche above the main entrance, and another bust is under the cornice. Leftcourt had announced an ambitious plan for a “world’s tallest” structure, but circumstances (and perhaps geometry – the site was too small to support a building of that height) prevailed. Lefcourt defaulted on the building’s lease, and the ground floor haberdasher, Brill Brothers, renamed the structure. The Brill Building went on to become a music industry landmark and, in 2010, a NYC Landmark.

Lefcourt Colonial Building

Lefcourt Colonial Building was among the last buildings developed by Abraham Lefcourt, one of New York’s “rags to riches to rags” stories.

Now known as 295 Madison Avenue, the 45-story Neo-Gothic tower is an architectural landmark without the official title. The distinctive blue terra cotta medallions and gilded finials are visible from most of midtown. The street level retail space and lobby have been thoroughly modernized, but above that, the six-story base is richly decorated with terra cotta, false balustrades and layered brickwork.

Lefcourt Colonial was auctioned off in foreclosure just two years after it was completed, as the Great Depression demolished Abraham Lefcourt’s real estate and banking empire. And the day after the Lefcourt Colonial was sold – for $3.5 million – the Sevilla Towers faced the same fate. Sevilla Towers was the Lefcourt-built apartment hotel, completed but not yet opened, now known as the Essex House.

Lefcourt Colonial has something in common with the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and Statue of Liberty: You can buy a cast replica of the structure!

Lefcourt Colonial Building Vital Statistics
Lefcourt Colonial Building Recommended Reading

Google Map