Tag Archives: Manhattan Valley

444 Central Park West

444 Central Park West is a distinctive Manhattan Valley apartment building that easily dominates the block. The 19-story Romanesque structure towers over its six- and seven-story neighbors, and its inventive facade of brick and terra cotta over a limestone base stands out from the crowd.*

The design is the work of Emery Roth alumni Russell Boak and Hyman Paris. The duo were active 1927-1942, with their most noteworthy work designed in the late 1930s.

The building was converted to a co-op in 1976.

* Not that Manhattan Valley is dull. A block north, the landmarked former New York Cancer Hospital is a stunning condo conversion.

444 Central Park West Vital Statistics
444 Central Park West Recommended Reading

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The Braender

The Braender is one of the more interesting apartment buildings of Central Park West’s far northern blocks – Manhattan Valley. The 10-story structure was restored in 2006. Among other repairs, huge terra cotta ornaments were replaced with lighter replicas. A couple of the originals are now displayed at ground level, in the building’s courtyard, where they can’t fall and hurt someone.

The building hasn’t had stunning architectural reviews – it’s a quirky mix of styles that’s hard to categorize – but it does get noticed. Originally the building had about 50 apartments (according to The New York Times Streetscapes column); those have been subdivided into the current 88.

Braender Vital Statistics
Braender Recommended Reading

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American Youth Hostel

American Youth Hostel occupies the former Association Residence for Respectable Aged Indigent Females (aka Association Residence for Women). The landmark is one of the three surviving New York buildings designed by Richard Morris Hunt, one of America’s leading architects of the nineteenth century.

The original structure – a home for destitute war widows – was extended in 1908; architect Charles A. Rich followed Hunt’s design for the exterior.

The building – rare as it is – came close to being demolished in 1974. Then known as the Association Residence Nursing Home or Association Residence for Women, the building was vacated with plans to demolish and rebuild. During the July 1977 blackout much of the roof was destroyed by fire. The following May, the City of New York acquired the building; in 1981 the roof was finally repaired.

American Youth Hostels purchased the building and began restoration in 1984; the hostel began operations in 1990. It is reportedly the world’s largest hostel, with more than 650 beds.

American Youth Hostel Vital Statistics
American Youth Hostel Recommended Reading

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