Tag Archives: ladies mile

Goelet Building

Goelet Building * looks surprisingly modern for architecture more than a century old. The structure was built in two stages. The first five floors were completed in 1887. The original sixth floor was demolished in 1906 and replaced with five floors that more or less mimicked the three floors below.

The Maynicke & Franke addition blends very well with the McKim, Mead & White original. The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission notes minor differences in materials and patterns, but the final result maintains a colorful, yet elegant appearance. This is no small accomplishment; add-on floors can be disastrous. Just take a look at De Lemos & Cordes’ 1889 Armeny Building, defaced by a two-story addition in 1893.

As with their Warren Building diagonally across the street, McKim, Mead & White faced the challenge of a non-rectangular plot. They rounded the corner, to avoid the awkward corner dictated by the property line.

In his New York Times Streetscapes column, historian Christopher Gray lauds the Justin family for rescuing the Goetlet Building from decline. Zoltan Justin bought the building in 1977. He and son Jeffrey cleaned the facade, removed non-historic elements, and restored the structure to its original glory.

* Not to be confused with the 1932 Goelet Building, now known as Swiss Center Building, located at Fifth Avenue and W 49th Street.

†See Tom Miller’s post in Daytonian in Manhattan for a look at the original six-story building.

Goelet Building Vital Statistics
Goelet Building Recommended Reading

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166 Fifth Avenue

166 Fifth Avenue, a seven-story store and loft building, replaced a mansion in 1899-1900. The storefront (like those of its neighbors) has been modernized.

The building is part of the Ladies Mile Historic District, designated in 1989. At the time, Andrews Coffee Shop occupied the ground floor.

166 Fifth Avenue Vital Statistics
166 Fifth Avenue Recommended Reading

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Siegel-Cooper Buildings

The Siegel-Cooper Dry Goods Store, designed by DeLemos & Cordes (New York), was the world’s largest store when opened in September 1896. The Beaux Arts-style building on Sixth Avenue between 18th and 19th Streets had the other distinction of being the first steel-framed store in New York City. The same architect designed the Siegel-Cooper warehouse a few blocks away. (And in 1902 De Lemos & Cordes designed Macy’s Herald Square – which took over the “world’s largest” title with its expansion in 1924.*)

The current tenants at 620 Sixth Avenue are Bed Bath & Beyond, T.J. Maxx, and Marshalls.

The warehouse/wagon house is a block-through building with entrances on 17th and 18th Streets, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues. The 18th Street Side is currently used by Barneys New York.

Siegel-Cooper Building Vital Statistics
  • Location: 616 Sixth Avenue between W 18th and W 19th Streets
  • Year completed: 1897
  • Architect: De Lemos & Cordes
  • Floors: 6
  • Style: Beaux Arts
Siegel-Cooper Warehouse Vital Statistics
  • Location: 249 W 17th Street block-through to 236 W 18th Street between Seventh and Eight Avenues
  • Year completed: 1902
  • Architect: De Lemos & Cordes
  • Floors: 6
Siegel-Cooper Buildings Suggested Reading

*Korean chain Shinsegae took over the title in 2009 with a store in Busan.

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Ladies Mile

The Ladies Mile Historic District – the heart of what was an even larger shopping district – ranges roughly from 15th Street to 24th Street, Sixth Avenue to Broadway. Retail “dry goods” giants of the 19th and 20th Centuries built palaces befitting their wares; most of the giants are now only ghosts, but some of the architecture has been preserved for New Yorker’s viewing (and even shopping) pleasure.

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Posterized Photos

This gallery is just for fun – posterized versions of images used elsewhere in this site. These images all started out normally – sets of bracketed exposures. Then I used Photomatix software to apply color shifts and luminosity effects with the “Grunge” preset. (See NewYorkitecture.com Photography Technique for more information about this technique.)

The images in the gallery are of buildings in the Chelsea, Soho, Ladies Mile, Civic Center, Astor Plaza and Flatiron districts.

Flatiron Building

The Flatiron Building isn’t the only triangular building in New York, but it’s undoubtedly the best recognized – perhaps for its ornate decoration as well as for its quirky shape.

The 21-story steel-frame skyscraper is at the northern end of the Ladies Mile shopping district, considered “uptown” when built in 1902. Folk lore has it that those ladies were frequent victims of the Flatiron Building: It created unpredictable winds that sent skirts billowing. Police had to disperse oglers – coining the phrase “23 skidoo” in the process.

Like other early skyscrapers, Flatiron Building had a tripartite design – modeled after a classical column with a distinct base, shaft and capital. All three facades are ornamented from top to bottom – including statuary at the 21st floor.

The building’s owner, George A. Fuller, insisted on the glass-and-iron “cowcatcher” store – over the objections of the architect. And apparently the 21st floor penthouse was also a last-minute addition; the building’s elevators only go up to 20.

If you think the Flatiron Building is quirky on the outside, read The New York Times’ column about life on the inside.

Flatiron Building is just one of more than two dozen architectural landmarks within a few blocks radius. Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership conducts free walking tours every Sunday at 11 a.m. – meet at the SW corner of Madison Square Park, in front of the William Seward statue. (You may also enjoy our earlier gallery, “Flatiron Building and Vicinity.”)

Flatiron Building Vital Statistics
Flatiron Building Recommended Reading

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Restoration In Progress

If you’ve ever wondered how an old building could look so new, here’s how!

A restoration team from Jablonski Building Conservation, Inc. is restoring the facade of 105 W 22nd Street / 695-709 Sixth Avenue. Xsusha Flandro, Senior Conservator, was kind enough to explain the process:

“The tiles are glazed ceramic tiles manufactured by the Hartford Faience Company (incorporated from the Atwood Faience Company in 1894). The current building was erected in phases between 1889 and 1911. The tiles are ca. 1913 when Chicago business man J.L. Kesner (hence the “K” on the tile columns) leased the building and submitted plans for alteration to the first floor store fronts. Oddly enough Kesner was never in the building as he backed out of the lease, but since the construction plans were already submitted the Ehrich Brothers (owners of the building) went through with the building plans and completed the tile columns. The building is a contributing member to the Ladies Mile Historic District.

“A lot of prep work goes into the restoration of tiles. The first thing we did were cleaning tests. We completed small cleaning test samples and then based on results proceeded with the most gentle and effective of the cleaners tested to clean all the tiles. We also tested paint strippers (all pH neutral – not acidic and not alkaline – because harsh strippers can damage the glazes) in the same manner as the cleaners because some columns had graffiti and general over paint. After cleaning and paint removal we moved into removing abandoned anchors (where signage and such had been attached over the years). Then we moved into patching. We utilized a repair system manufactured by Edison Coatings out of Connecticut. Edison Coatings provided us with custom colored patch repair material for each color of glaze, after the patching was complete the patches are sanded and shaped to the correct profile, and then in-painted (only painted where the patch is) using a polyurethane paint system (also by Edison Coatings) custom colored to the glazes on the tiles. This is where the artistry comes in and we blend the colors onsite to match the adjacent historic tile glazes. No coating is placed over the work after we are finished, as everything we use is specifically manufactured for outdoor use.

“In this project we are conserving nine tile columns. All missing tiles or tiles which we could not successfully conserve are being replaced with custom tiles, manufactured by Shenfeld Studios, to match the existing. It took us approximately three weeks to complete all the conservation work on site. The replacement tiles are still a few months out.”

Ms. Flandro noted that the work requires extensive training.

“To be an architectural conservator you have to have a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation – and usually in the conservation sector of historic preservation, which is where you gain a lot of your materials knowledge. Similar to how art conservators go through school and then specialize in one material, we go through school and specialize in building materials. In our company in order to progress past junior conservator we are required to apply to be a Professional Associate with the American Institute of Conservation (of which I hold PA status and the owner of Jablonski Building Conservation, Mary Jablonski, is a Fellow.) AIC – Professional Associate requires at very least 3 years’ experience and your previous projects/works are peer reviewed and letters of recommendation are required.”

(The company’s website is jbconservation.com.)

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Hugh O’Neill Building

The dazzling white Hugh O’Neill Building on Sixth Avenue is a great example of historic restoration and recycling in New York. Not only did the developers bring an old building back to life, they also magically added two floors without changing the original appearance. While structural problems have appeared, the future looks bright.

Hugh O’Neill, an Irish immigrant, was a very successful retailer. He outgrew his original Sixth Avenue store and replaced it in 1887 with a four-story double-domed emporium. In 1890, he expanded the store at the rear of the West 20th Street wing. In 1895 he added a fifth floor (raising the domes one story in the process).

Alas, after O’Neill died in 1902 the store (and most neighboring retailers) deteriorated and closed. The corner domes were removed in the early 1900s, and the building was converted to lofts.

In 2004 the by-then grey building got a new lease on life: Conversion to condominium apartments. The developer Elad Properties, and architects Cetra/Ruddy Inc. got Landmarks Preservation Commission approval to restore the missing domes – and add two stories of apartments at the same time. The trick was to set back the new floors so that they are not visible from the street.

In December 2012 one of the building’s columns on West 2oth Street collapsed, forcing evacuation. Repairs were made, but scaffolding still covers the West 20th Street facade at this writing (June 2013).

Hugh O’Neill Building Vital Statistics
Hugh O’Neill Building Recommended Reading

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Lord & Taylor Building

Lord & Taylor Building, an individual New York City landmark and part of Ladies Mile Historic District, was decaying despite its protected status, until Spanish investors resuscitated the structure in 2009. However, 901 Broadway is only part of the store that existed from 1870 to 1914. A larger, L-shaped portion was separated in 1914 and remodeled – it’s now known as 897 Broadway.

The store was not the first cast iron building in New York, but architect James H. Giles innovated by letting the cast iron show, instead of disguising it as stone – common practice at the time, according to the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Lord & Taylor Building Vital Statistics
Lord & Taylor Building Recommended Reading

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Warren Building

Warren Building is a neo-Renaissance gem with exquisite detail, refurbished in 2012. Though stripped of its original first floor colonnade and fourth floor balconies, the building’s marble and terra cotta trim, combined with roman brick, are stunning.

The prominent firm of McKim, Meade & White designed this seven-story building – and also designed the Goelet Building diagonally across Broadway. Broadway cuts diagonally across E 20th Street, making corners a little awkward (because we expect building corners to be right angles). McKim, Mead & White finessed the Warren Building’s corner with a chamfer; the Goelet Building’s corner is rounded.

Warren Building Vital Statistics
Warren Building Recommended Reading

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