For the oldest building on Fifth Avenue between 59th and 110th streets, No. 815 isn’t much to look at. The original Italianate design, erected in 1870-71, was disfigured when Verna Scott Cushman hired architects Murgatroyd & Ogden to ”upgrade” the structure in 1923, and it’s never been quite the same since. An Upper East Side historic district designation report written in 1981 describes the present style as “none.”
The front stoop was removed and the brownstone facing on the floors above the parlor level were removed. And even the bottom two floors didn’t emerge unscathed—an earlier photo shows a pediment above the front door which seems to have been removed.
All of this, plus the $32 million price tag, suggests that Brazilian developer JHSF Participações expects to be able to raze the structure, despite its inclusion in the Upper East Side Historic District. Read More