Mysterious building names on Ninth Avenue

Most city tenements are marked at the top by a name, presumably of the builder, and the year the structure was completed. 

But at 744 Ninth Avenue, off 50th Street, the tenement is named “9th. Ave. Flat.” It seems to be a pretty fanciful moniker for a typical red-brick tenement building; “French flats” at the time were usually higher-end apartments for middle-class New Yorkers


Perhaps the builder had amenities inside—private baths?—that put it a notch above the usual late 19th century tenement apartment.


Also on Ninth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen is another strangely named tenement building. I wonder what “Foresters Home” was—just a tenement put up by a man named Forester? Or maybe some kind of charity residence that housed orphans or the indigent. 

Only two 8s remains from the two inscriptions announcing the date it was built: 1880.

Brownstoner’s Montrose Morris has more on the French Flats building boom

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4 Responses to “Mysterious building names on Ninth Avenue”

  1. Rob Says:

    Here’s a link that I think is relevant to your question about the Foresters Home — they were a Catholic benevolent organization, and my guess is that the building you refer to had some connection to them, since Hell’s Kitchen was largely Irish Catholic.

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    This is fantastic, thanks for digging it up! I’d love to do some more research and see if there are any records of how they helped people here in NYC.

  3. Mickey Says:

    This is super interesting. I happen to live in “Foresters Home” and I had no idea any of the signage ever fell off. The original year at the top was “1886” I have been trying to look up info on this building on and off for years. Thanks!

  4. Greg M Says:

    When I first started living in the neighborhood (on 50th between 9 & 10) in 2005, Pozzo’s Pastry Shop occupied the storefront (690 9th). What a place! Renowned for their biscotti, they closed shortly after Bloomberg started his crusade against trans fats. Mike was right, but boy, do I miss those biscotti.

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