Tag Archives: Victorian

Edgewater Village Hall

Edgewater Village Hall is, in the words of the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, “a superb example of Victorian architecture.” When built, the structure housed courts and other civic functions of the Village of Edgewater – long before Staten Island became part of New York City.

The windows and doors are exceptional. The paired ground-floor windows and doors have semicircular transoms under keystone arches. The second-story dormers are cut into the cornice line, and project out from the facade. Stained-glass transoms top the double-hung sashes.

Tappen Park, the building’s setting, was originally Washington Square. It was renamed in honor of World War I veteran James Tappen in 1934.

Edgewater Village Hall Vital Statistics
Edgewater Village Hall Recommended Reading

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Gainsborough Studios

Gainsborough Studios is a distinctively detailed, colorful cooperative apartment building on a street sometimes termed bland.

The 1908 landmark was a cooperative in the original sense – intended for a community of artists – and designed for studios. The park-facing apartments are all duplexes, with double-height windows to capture the light. The rear apartments are all standard-height units. See floor plans (click plans for enlarged view). Alas, the apartments’ multi-million-dollar price tags are out of artists’ reach.

The facade was restored in 1988 – the same year the building was designated a NYC landmark.

The building next door (220 Central Park South) was demolished, and the lot will remain vacant and boarded up until the joint owners can settle their dispute. Vornado Real Estate Trust wants to build a new tower; Extell, which owns the underground parking garage (accessed via W 58th Street) won’t vacate. Extell also owns the new One57 tower and is building the 1,500-foot-tall Nordstrom Tower directly behind 220 Central Park South.

It seems that historic Gainsborough Studios will soon be dwarfed by its new neighbors east and south.

Gainsborough Studios Vital Statistics
Gainsborough Studios Recommended Reading

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Divine Lorraine Hotel

Divine Lorraine Hotel is a fabulous Philadelphia ruin awaiting revival – ten blocks east of Philadelphia’s other fabulous ruin, Eastern State Penitentiary.

What earns it a spot in NewYorkitecture.com is that it was a New Yorker who made it Divine in the first place.

This building began life as the Lorraine Apartments – abodes for well-heeled Philadelphians. After a mere six years it was sold and converted to the Lorraine Hotel, a role it filled for almost half a century.

Then along came Harlem’s Reverend Major Jealous Divine, better known as Father Divine, whose Universal Peace Mission Movement bought the hotel in 1948. Divine, a black man who married a white woman at a time when interracial marriage was unthinkable, promptly radicalized the hotel. He renamed it Divine Lorraine Hotel, made it the first integrated U.S. hotel, required men and women (even if married) to stay on separate floors, converted ballrooms to places of worship, and installed a low-cost restaurant for the poor.

Though Father Divine died in 1965, his followers continued the hotel until 2000, when they sold it to developers. In 2006 the building was gutted for renovation, but the project was abandoned until fairly recently. Developer Eric Blumenfeld bought the property at auction in October 2012, with plans to revive it as apartments.

Divine Lorraine Hotel’s architect, Willis G. Hale, was born 1848 in Seneca Falls, N.Y. but moved to Philadelphia in the 1860s. His creations are known as wildly inventive – but few examples survive.

Divine Lorraine Hotel Vital Statistics
Divine Lorraine Hotel Recommended Reading

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