The loveliest stretch of houses in old Chelsea

Chelsea has more than its share of gorgeous homes. But a row of townhouses stretching along the south side of West 20th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues just may be the sweetest and have the most historical cred.


This is Cushman Row, seven red-brick beauties at numbers 406 to 418 completed in 1840. They’re among the oldest homes in Chelsea, considered to be the best examples of Greek Revival architecture in the city.

CushmanrowrailingsThe row was developed by Don Alonzo Cushman, a wealthy friend of Clement Clark Moore.

That’s the same Moore who wrote “A Visit From St. Nicholas” and was the grandson of the 18th century British army captain who built his country estate here and named it after Chelsea Royal Hospital in London.

Cushman lived in Greenwich Village. But as the Village filled up and the city moved northward, he bought property from Moore in Chelsea, which Moore hoped to develop into a graceful new residential neighborhood.

CushmanrowpineappleOn blocks like West 20th Street, with the neo-Gothic General Theological Seminary across the street, he succeeded.

Some of the features that make Cushman row so impressive are the uniform 10-foot deep front yards, recessed doorways, attic windows encircled with decorative wreaths, and the wrought-iron handrails and yard railings.

Check out the pineapple, a traditional symbol of hospitality, on the black iron newel at number 416.

Stribling has a recent listing for this house, with photos of the interior and backyard. No price is given, but with real-estate taxes running around 30,000 a year, it’s going to cost a lot.

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6 Responses to “The loveliest stretch of houses in old Chelsea”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    My favorite block in Manhattan and seeing the Seminary across the street on a rainy day is sublime. Something about stairways holds its charm for me, maybe the first house we lived in NY, on 5th Street and Avenue A, had a stairway, of course that’s been demolished years ago but walking up and down the stairs is beautiful, hardly ever do that in Manhattan anymore. Though I live in NJ once in a while I still visit NY. Great that these things still exist.

  2. Mike Says:

    For some reason, the Stribling site reveals the price if you choose Euros: €4,318,250, or $5,750,613. Cheap!

  3. Ricky Says:

    The house for sale has an unusual floor plan. $5.7 million and there is still a lot work to be done to make this a workable family home. Makes me wonder if this one really is a bargain …

  4. rocco dormarunno(akafivepointsguy) Says:

    I would love to know if the Cushman Row buildings are first cousins to the buildings on the north side of Washington Square Park. They seem to come from the same era and look almost identical to them.

  5. Mike Says:

    If you’re interested in Greek Revival architecture, don’t miss out on Sailor’s Snug Harbor on Staten Island. It’s beyond stunning, and I would venture to guess it deserves the title of the best in the city..

  6. New York inspires “The Night Before Christmas” | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] the descendant of a colonial English family, lived with his wife and children on a vast estate called Chelsea in what was then the hinterlands of […]

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