The most elegant address of the 1830s

With Bond Street now condo-ized and Cooper Square getting the glass box treatment, it’s worth looking back at what constituted luxe living in the neighborhood in 1833: Colonnade Row, located between the two on Lafayette Street. Back in the day, the nine Greek Revival marble mansions dominated what was then tree-lined, two-block-long Lafayette Place. The Astors, Vanderbilts, and Delanos called the mansions home.

They weren’t just magnificent to look at; each had central heat and hot water, and they were a stone’s throw from Broadway, the center of Manhattan’s hottest neighborhood. The moss on the columns is pretty too.

But you know the story. What was once an elite neighborhood became a seedy red-light district, and tiny Lafayette Place was widened, extended, and renamed Lafayette Street. Some of the deteriorating mansions formed the Colonnade Hotel in the 1870s; by the 1900s, five met the wrecking ball, and the four that remain today were divided into apartments.

They’re still beautiful, if kind of scruffy. But that’s okay; not everything in the city has to sparkle.

 

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4 Responses to “The most elegant address of the 1830s”

  1. Sara Says:

    these are unbelievably beautiful. Everytime I walk by them I am amazed that they have not been kept up/restored. I don’t mind “no sparkle”, but I am worried they will not survive if care is not taken now.

  2. Bond Street: chic and exclusive in the 1830s « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] Street was surrounded by luxury, particularly Colannade Row, the nine Greek Revival marble mansions around the corner on the elegant cul-de-sac Lafayette Place (now Lafayette [...]

  3. The old Russian baths on posh “La Fayette Place” « Ephemeral New York Says:

    [...] baths, on what was then called La Fayette Place, a posh residential neighborhood in the 1830s and 1840s, “were most popular with well-off Russian-Jewish immigrants, as it both reminded them of [...]

  4. A little girl’s diary sheds light on the 1849 city | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] kids, that is. The daughter of a businessman (with her father at right), she first lived on exclusive Lafayette Place, then in Brooklyn, where she tells us her brother “liked to go […]

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