Tag Archives: Henry Janeway Hardenbergh

Schermerhorn Building

The New York Community Trust landmark plaque says of the Schermerhorn Building: “This six-story building, erected in 1888 for William C. Schermerhorn, is one of New York’s outstanding manufacturing structures of the period. It demonstrated that a utilitarian building could have real artistic merit and need not be devoid of ornament. Its particular distinction lies in its rhythmic composition and in the interesting brick and sandstone detail. The architect was Henry Janeway Hardenbergh who also designed the Hotel Plaza, the Dakota Apartments and the American Fine Arts Society Building.”

(And while you’re in the neighborhood, don’t miss the landmark 1898 firehouse on the next block [east].)

Schermerhorn Building Vital Statistics
  • Location: 380 Lafayette Street at Great Jones Street
  • Year completed: 1888
  • Architect: Henry Janeway Hardenbergh
  • Floors: 6
  • Style: Romanesque Revival
  • New York City Landmark: 1966
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1979
Schermerhorn Building Suggested Reading

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Plaza Hotel

The century-old Plaza Hotel has changed hands several times, but it remains an architectural – and hospitality – landmark. As such, the Plaza has accumulated a history that is both educational and entertaining.

The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report for the hotel’s interiors is a rich narrative about the hotel, its owners, architects, renovations and occupants. The Wikipedia entry adds more popular details, such as the movies and television shows in which the Plaza has appeared.

Trivia buffs, add this to your repertoire: The current property is the second Plaza Hotel on this site; the first hotel (also considered among the finest in New York) was demolished after 15 years to make way for an even grander property. Also: Fairmont Hotels & Resorts manages the Plaza – and also Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza – which was also designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh.

Hardenbergh also designed the Dakota Apartments, the Western Union Telegraph Company Building, and the Schermerhorn Building in New York. He designed the Waldorf and Astoria Hotels (then located at Fifth Avenue from 33rd to 34th Streets), among other prominent buildings now demolished.

Plaza Hotel Vital Statistics
  • Location: Central Park South at Grand Army Plaza
  • Year Completed: 1909; addition, 1921
  • Architect: Henry Janeway Hardenbergh; addition, Warren & Wetmore
  • Floors: 20
  • Style: Second Empire Baroque
  • New York City Landmark: 1969
  • National Register of Historic Places: 1978
Plaza Hotel Suggested Reading

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Hotel Martinique

Hotel Martinique is full of surprises. For starters, don’t let the French Renaissance style fool you: The name has nothing to do with the sunny French Caribbean island – it’s named for developer William R. H. Martin. And the showy Broadway and W 32nd Street facades are actually add-ons to the hotel – it started as a more modest property on W 33rd Street.

But if the style reminds you of the Plaza, that shouldn’t surprise: the two hotels have the same architect, Henry Janeway Hardenbergh.

Like the Plaza, Hotel Martinique has open space – Greeley Square – in front of it, to show off grand-scaled elements: A four-story mansard roof, tiers of balconies and gigantic ornaments.

Grandiose was appropriate for the time. Just down the block (where the Empire State Building now stands) were the original Waldorf and Astoria hotels (also designed by Hardenbergh).

Unfortunately, as the theater district moved north over the years, so did Martinique’s luxury clientele. By the late 1900s the property became run down; in the ’70s and ’80s it was a notorious homeless shelter and welfare hotel. At the time of its designation as a NYC landmark, the Hotel Martinique was being renovated as a Holiday Inn. Currently it is a Radisson property, popular with airline crews and tour groups. In keeping with W 32nd Street’s current identity – “Korea Way” – the property has a 24-hour Korean restaurant, Kum Gang San.

Hotel Martinique Vital Statistics
  • Location: 1260 Broadway at West 32nd Street
  • Year completed: 1898, 1903, 1911 (3 phases)
  • Architect: Henry Janeway Hardenbergh
  • Floors: 16
  • Style: French Renaissance
  • New York City Landmark: 1998
Hotel Martinique Suggested Reading

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Dakota Apartments

The Dakota Apartments were New York’s first luxury apartments, built by Singer Sewing Machine’s Edward S. Clark and designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh (of Plaza Hotel fame). It was named the Dakota, according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission, because Clark’s colleagues teased him that if he built it a few blocks further away he could build it in Dakota (Indian territory). *

The grand structure overlooking Central Park has a 20-foot-high covered entryway into its central courtyard – designed to accommodate carriages and horses, which were stabled nearby. The apartments were served by four entrances, at the corners of the courtyard. The adjoining lot – now a white brick apartment building – used to contain The Dakota’s tennis courts and a power station.

Though most recently known as the home of John Lennon and Yoko Ono – and the site where Lennon was murdered – the building has in fact been home to dozens of celebrities. Celebrity status isn’t enough to gain admittance, though: The Board of Directors (The Dakota is a cooperative) is notorious for rejecting would-be tenants. Among the rejected: Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Cher, Billy Joel, Madonna, Carly Simon, Alex Rodriguez, Judd Apatow and Tea Leoni.

When apartments become available, their prices are in the tens of millions of dollars. That doesn’t seem to bother some people: John Lennon had six apartments; Rudolf Nureyev’s apartment was just one of several homes.

When built, The Dakota Apartments offered many services of a hotel. A private dining room served residents – or delivered (and served) meals in their apartments. A substantial housekeeping staff included porters, janitors, maids, laundresses, elevator operators and more. The staff delivered coal and firewood for the apartments’ stoves and fireplaces – and hauled away the resulting ashes. The top two floors were originally for the building’s laundry, and servants quarters.

All in all, beautiful architecture and fascinating history. See some of the interiors at the Dakota Projects documentary website.

* This story, though widely quoted, actually has no documentary basis according to historian Andrew Alpern. The quote was pure speculation of a property manager, years after Clark died, says Mr. Alpern.

There is a new book by architectural historian Andrew Alpern – the most comprehensive history of The Dakota imaginable! Mr. Alpern documents the building, its builder (and family!), the architect, the neighborhood, the architectural and historical context, and even the Dakota’s residents. Fascinating reading that illuminates not only The Dakota, but also the world of apartment living in New York City. I’m honored that he chose photos from this gallery to help illustrate the volume.

Dakota Apartments Vital Statistics
Dakota Apartments Recommended Reading

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