Tag Archives: neo-Romanesque

10 Sheridan Square

10 Sheridan Square

10 Sheridan Square, aka Shenandoah Apartments, is distinctive West Village architecture. The two-story base blends stone and brick, and the wedge-shaped building rises 14 stories above a predominantly low-rise district.

The Emery Roth-designed structure remains a rental building of primarily studio and one-bedroom apartments.

Emery Roth designed four other residences in Greenwich Village: 1 University Place, 28 E 10th Street (Devonshire House), 59 W 12th Street, and 299 W 12th Street.

10 Sheridan Square Vital Statistics
10 Sheridan Square Recommended Reading

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Williamsburgh Savings Bank (Tower)

Williamsburgh Savings Bank is New York architecture that entertains from afar – and from close up. The tower’s graceful taper dominates the Brooklyn skyline for miles; the Rene Chambellan sculpture around the base fascinates passers-by. More sculpture, mosaics, and majestic vaulted ceilings overwhelm visitors inside.

The landmark fulfills architect Robert Helmer’s wish that the tower “be regarded as a cathedral dedicated to the furtherance of thrift and prosperity of the community it serves.” Not bad for a tiny bank that started out in the basement of a (now-demolished) church in 1851, before Williamsburgh dropped the “h” from its name.

Architects Halsey, McCormack & Helmer specialized in banks, so it is a little ironic that one of the firm’s non-bank buildings was the Central Methodist Episcopal Church – right next door to their “cathedral of thrift.”

The building is based on a steel “portal frame” – a special structure designed to support the weight of the massive tower above the equally massive void of the banking hall. (Think of this as a 35-story office building on top of a six-story church.) The bank insisted – over the architects’ objections – on a gilded dome as a crown for the tower. The dome was an architectural reference to Williamsburgh Savings Bank’s original headquarters in downtown Williamsburg.

When built, this was the tallest building in Brooklyn, and the clock was the largest four-sided clock tower in the world. “Brooklyn’s wristwatch” sometimes had trouble keeping time, but it seems to have been fixed. Although this was its headquarters, Williamsburgh Savings Bank only used two floors (above the banking level) as offices. The rest of the tower was rented – and for some reason, mostly to dentists!

Williamsburgh Savings Bank was acquired by Republic National Bank, and then merged into HSBC. In 2005, a partnership of the Dermot Company and Canyon-Johnson Urban Funds bought the tower. The lower floors were converted to Skylight One Hanson – event space – while the upper floors became 1 Hanson Place luxury condominiums.

The tower has the distinction of being triple-designated by the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission: as an individual landmark (1977), as part of an historic district (1978), and as an interior landmark (1996).

Urban Omnibus has an exceptional narrative on the building’s history.

Williamsburgh Savings Bank Vital Statistics
Williamsburgh Savings Bank Recommended Reading

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898 Park Avenue

Golden-hued 898 Park Avenue is a wonderful 14-story Romanesque building by the same architect who designed the 19-story Art Deco building across the street: both 1920s structures are luxury cooperative apartments.

(John Sloan also designed the Pershing Square Building, similar in color and style to 898 Park Avenue.)

The facade was restored in 2009; the building lost some of its original terra cotta decoration over the years, but what remains is still impressive and beautiful.

When built, 898 Park Avenue had just eight units according to Luxury Apartment Houses of Manhattan: Six full-floor duplex apartments on the upper floors, a one-floor apartment on the second floor, and a doctor’s suite on the ground floor. According to City Realty’s listing, the building is still limited to only 10 apartments.

At this writing (February 6, 2014), two of those apartments are available: A two-bedroom unit for $6 million and a four-bedroom apartment for $9 million.

898 Park Avenue Vital Statistics
898 Park Avenue Recommended Reading

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Millan House

Millan House (two Ls, please) is a pair of buildings spanning E 67th to E 68th Street, built around a private garden and adorned with a private zoo. If they were built on an avenue – Park or Lexington – this New York architecture would be well known; in their mid-block location they’re a pleasant surprise to passers-by.

The whimsical animals are carved stone, not terra cotta – the building was owned by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., after all. The building is now a cooperative.

Millan House Vital Statistics
Millan House Recommended Reading

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