The beautiful fortress near Gramercy Park

When plans were being drawn up for the new armory for New York’s fabled 69th Regiment in 1901, architects Richard and Joseph Hunt (sons of Richard Morris Hunt, who designed the great hall of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) rejected the Medieval style of most city armories of the era.

Instead, they created something new, commanding, and beautiful.

69th armory postcard

This Beaux-Arts fortress, spanning Park and Lexington Avenues at 25th Street, still had a military feel, with its massive drill hall and gun bays along the Lexington Avenue side.

Twin plaques on the facade list the Civil War battlegrounds where the “fighting 69th” earned their nickname from Robert E. Lee.

It’s a solid, beautiful armory, one of a small group in Manhattan that still remains—used for shows, fairs, and of course, the famous 1913 Armory Show, where modern art made its startling New York City debut.

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7 Responses to “The beautiful fortress near Gramercy Park”

  1. Frank Says:

    I haven’t been by the armory in a while, but, if memory serves, the twin plaques on the facade also list battles from World War I, and, maybe, the Spanish-American War.

    The Lexington Avenue side of the building was also the site where thousands of photographs of the missing were posted in the days following the World Trade Center atrocities. The excess flyers eventually covered lampposts and building facades in the immediate vicinity and spread throughout the neighborhood and surrounding areas. The armory was used (again if memory serves) as a registration and coordination site where people listed their missing and submitted DNA and other identification samples in those horrendous days.

  2. Mitzi Says:

    It was the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Richard Hunt, NOT the Museum of Modern Art !

  3. Mitzi Says:

    It was The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Richard Hunt NOT the Museum of Modern Art

  4. Mitzanna Says:

    It was the Metropolitan Museum or Art by Richard Hunt NOT the Museum of Modern Art.

  5. William Krause Says:

    . . . maybe a coat of paint—all one color?

  6. Lisa Says:

    As a Duchamp fan, I get goosebumps when I pass this building.

    My other Duchamp ‘holy place’ is the nondescript 210 West 14th, his last NY studio, where on the top floor he secretly created “Etant Donnes” a tableau of found objects from walks around the neighborhood, revealed only after his death.

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