Manhattan Living: Brownstones to Glass Mansions in the Sky

By
Real Estate Agent with The Corcoran Group

From Brownstone and Limestone to Brick, Concrete, Steel and Glass

Manhattan Residential Architecture from the 19th Century to the 21st Century

 

19th Century

New Yorkers lived in townhouses during the 19th Century. Single Family Townhouses and Mansions were made of Brownstone and Limestone. The Townhouse Market today is very desirable as single family homes and multi-family income producing rental buildings for investors.

West 88th Street Townhouse - Park Block

Upper West Side Townhouses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Townhouses Upper West Side                                              West 88th Street Townhouse asking $7.5M 

The luxury apartment house was actually invented in New York in the late 19th century. Upper-class New Yorkers lived in townhouses and single-family mansions during the 19th century. To lure potential tenants, developers borrowed the word "apartment" from the French to make the new buildings sound more fashionable. The word and the lifestyle stuck.

 

In 1890 The Dakota was the first luxury apartment building in Manhattan.

It's Beaux Art Chateau style architecture was popular in the late 19th century. It was named The Dakota because at the time it was considered so far north (uptown West 72nd Street and Central Park West) it might as well have been in Dakota territory.

The Dakota

Dakota Architect: Henry Hardenburgh

 


20th Century

In 1904 The Ansonia was called the most technologically advanced apartment house in the world.

When it opened in 1904, this extraordinary, eighteen story Beaux Arts building provided tenants with such luxuries as electric stoves, hot and cold filtered water, freezers, a pneumatic -tube system to deliver messages, and even an early form of central air conditioning.

The Ansonia - Broadway - Upper West Side -Mitchell Hall

Architect: Grave and Duboy built (1899-1904)

 

Apartment house living spread from New York to the rest of the country. By the 1930's 90% of Manhattanites were living in apartments.

 

1930 Art Deco Buildings

The San Remo Apartments and The Beresford. Two Emory Roth Architectural Masterpieces. An ad for the San Remo in the NY Times in April 1930 called it:

As modern as a flying boat, as luxurious as the Ile de France and designed for people who are at home on both. Birds in the sky are your only neighbors.

The San Remo ApartmentsThe Beresford - Upper West Side - Emory Roth Architect

The San Remo Apartments                                                                                 The Beresford

 

After World War II the New York apartment buildings became flat panels of brick and glass, lacking shape, color, texture, and ornamants.

 

1950's


Brick Buildings

The Schwab House - 11 Riverside Drive, Upper West side

The Schwab House - 11 Riverside Drive, Upper West side

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 11 Riverside Drive - The Schwab House

The Schwab House built 1951 is considered one of the best Upper West Side Coops. The 17-story, 654-unit apartment building is on the site of the former Charles Schwab mansion. It recently converted to "green" energy.

 

1960's


Buildings were white brick - Wedding cake style - Large buildings with many setbacks with terraces.

The Fairmont Upper East SideDorchester Towers Condo - 155 West 68th Street - Lincoln Square

Fairmont- UES built in 1964 - coop in 1984         Dorchester Towers built in 1964 converted to condo 1984


1970's


Buildings made of concrete have set back vertical rectangles and cylinders, many with balconies.

Rupert Towers built in 1975

Yorkville Towers built 1975

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yorkville Towers, Rupert Towers Complex built in 1975 converted to condos in 2003

 

1980's


Brick facade with glass oversized windows - post modern, construction boom in 1980's.

The Boulevard- Upper Broadway - Upper West Side

The Boulevard 1988 - Upper West Side Condop                  The Bromley 1987 - Upper West Side condo


1990's


Distinctive Brick facade of the 90's. Mixed facade limestone panels of the new century.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Alexandria built 1991                       Seven buildings (condos and rentals) Trump Place 1998- 2003

 


21st Century

 

Glass Towers of the New Millenium - Glass Mansions in the sky

The Airiel East and West Borodaway at 99th Street

The Aldyn -60 Riverside Boulevard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ariel East and West at West 99th Street and Broadway -                The Aldyn 60 Riverside Boulevard

 

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Courtesy of:

Mitchell Hall, The Corcoran Group

 

 

©Mitchell Hall 2011

 

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Show All Comments
Ambassador
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Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise in NE Philadelphia & Bucks County

Mitchell ..that was fascinating reading ..thank you so much I really enjoyed that

Hannah

May 04, 2011 06:00 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Gene Mundt
www.genemundt.com - Joliet, IL
Mortgage Lender - Chicago/Chicagoland Mortgages

Mitchell:  Absolutely fantastic post!  Beautiful to the eye.  And I learned something too.  Totally enjoyable ...

Gene

May 04, 2011 06:17 PM #2
Rainmaker
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Peggy Hughes
PHA/Peggy Hughes Associates - Professional Moving Organizer - San Francisco, CA
SF NYC LA

What a great architectural history lesson!  Thanks, Mitchell.

May 04, 2011 07:15 PM #3
Rainmaker
1,434,373
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

You certainly captured the "flavor" of Manhattan...............there's something there for everyone.  Great post Mitchel.

May 04, 2011 07:43 PM #4
Rainmaker
509,954
Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC

Hannah, Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Gene, Thank you, The pictures really tell the story. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Peggy, Thank you. I love architectural history so I love doing posts about it.

Roger, Thank you, That was my intention. I really appreciate your comments.

May 04, 2011 08:38 PM #5
Rainmaker
533,141
Michele Cadogan
Fillmore Real Estate - Brooklyn, NY
917-861-861 - Brooklyn Real Estate Home Sales

 

Wow what a wonderful post-    I really enjoyed how to captured the  changes through out the years. 

May 04, 2011 09:14 PM #6
Rainmaker
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Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC

Michele, Thank you. I appreciate your comment.

May 05, 2011 08:49 AM #7
Rainmaker
239,333
David Ames
Zephyr Real Estate, San Francisco - San Francisco, CA
San Francisco

Wow...what a great history progression Mitchell.  I have to say, my favorites are the Dakota (of course), and the San Remo and Beresord!  And I love the quote from the NY Times for the San Remo Apartments.  NY is spectacular.

May 05, 2011 09:40 PM #8
Rainmaker
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Mitchell J Hall
The Corcoran Group - Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC

Thanks David, The Dakota is the most famous because of John Lennon and the film Rosemaries Baby. I love Art Deco, There are some spectacular apartments with breathtaking park views in The San Remo and The Beresford. 

Real estate trivia:

Madonna was turned down by the San Remo board. Jerry Seinfeld annoyed his neighbors, the other famous residents at The Beresford so much during his apartment renovation that coops have since enacted the "Seinfeld Rule" For every day that an apartment renovation continues after it's scheduled completion, the owner/shareholder has to pay the coop $500 /day.

May 06, 2011 06:56 AM #9
Rainmaker
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Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

This is fantastic.. I LOVE seeing the style changes with each passing decade.  I've always loved the different stylse of different eras and am pretty good at guess when a building was built....LOVE THIS>

May 06, 2011 11:59 PM #10
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Barbara Martino-Sliva
Dale Sorensen Real Estate Inc. - Vero Beach, FL
Vero Beach Real Estate Vero Beach Homes for Sale

Mitchell, they are all fabulous buildings....but I have to say that the 19th century are my favorite!

May 09, 2011 01:12 PM #11
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Mitchell J Hall

Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC
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