Welcome, Manhattan Avenue Historic District! The Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to create the district, which includes 40 buildings between 104th and 106th streets. The row houses, built between 1886 and 1889, combine Gothic, Queen Anne and Romanesque features. Oh my!
Full release below.
LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISSION ADDS SECTION OF MANHATTAN AVENUE TO CITY’S GROWING ROSTER OF HISTORIC DISTRICTS
Eclectic Collection of Late 19th Century Row Houses and Institutions between 104th and 106th Streets Receive Landmark Status
The Landmarks Preservation Commission today voted unanimously to designate a portion of Manhattan Avenue as a historic district, bringing the total number of historic districts in New York City to 87. Located between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, the Manhattan Avenue Historic District comprises 40 buildings that were mainly constructed between 1886 and 1889 between 104th and 106th streets.
Unlike many of Manhattan’s earlier row houses, which were primarily built with brownstone facades in the classical style, the structures in the new district combine Gothic, Queen Anne and Romanesque features. Originally called “New” Avenue when it was created in 1868, Manhattan Avenue starts at 100th Street and continues to 125th Street, where it merges with St. Nicholas Avenue.
The avenue was one of several nearby that were renamed before the turn of the 20th century to form the Upper West Side as a planned residential district.
“The picturesque buildings in this enclave will continue to maintain their scale and cohesive character with this designation,” said Commission Chairman Robert B. Tierney. “They are vivid reminders of the early development of the West side of Manhattan in the 19th century – and even with the neighborhood’s ongoing development in this century, these historic treasures will live on for future generations as part of New York’s newest historic district.”
The historic district features three groups of row houses that were constructed and designed by different architects and developers. The earliest row, located on the west side of Manhattan Avenue, between 105th and 106th streets, was designed by the architect Joseph M. Dunn, who is responsible for a number of warehouses and buildings on Ward’s, Blackwell’s, Hart’s, and Randall’s islands in the 1880s.
C. P. (Charles Pierrepont) H. Gilbert, a successful residential architect who built 20 houses on Montgomery Place in the Park Slope Historic District in Brooklyn, and mansions for Felix Warburg and F.W. Woolworth, designed the second row that stands directly east. This block has a lively and jagged profile and incorporates features associated with the Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles.
The third group, located to south, on the west side of Manhattan Avenue, was designed by Edward L. Angell. These brick and stone-faced houses also combined Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival elements, including stoops with iron railings, terra-cotta reliefs, projecting metal bay windows, and unusual cornices crowned by sunburst pediments.
Also included in the district are a dormitory and an X-ray laboratory that were part of the former New York Cancer Hospital complex, a designated New York City Landmark. Completed in 1926 and located at 34-36 W. 106th St., the dormitory housed hospital staff, and was built in the French Renaissance style. It now houses a youth hostel. The neo-Gothic-style X-ray building, at 19-37 W. 105th St., was built in 1917.
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is responsible for protecting and preserving New York City’s architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings and sites. Since its creation in 1965, LPC has granted landmark status to more than 23,000 buildings, including 1,159 individual landmarks, 108 interior landmarks, nine scenic landmarks and 87 historic districts in all five boroughs. Under the law, the Commission must be comprised of at least three architects, a historian, a realtor, a planner or landscape architect, as well as a representative of each borough. There are 11 commissioners, all of whom are appointed by the Mayor for staggered three-year terms.