The skinniest building in Midtown Manhattan

Dark and grimy Midtown blocks are loaded with hidden treasures. Take this slender walkup at 19 West 46th Street, for example.

It dates back to 1865, when West 46th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues was a quaint residential block close to the Croton Reservoir rather than a corridor of small businesses in the shadow of Rockefeller Center and Grand Central Terminal.

I didn’t measure the building, but I wish I had.

Number 19 is so skinny, there’s only room for one window per floor, not including the ground-floor restaurant space.

Diminishing it even further are the two loft buildings (one with gorgeous Art Deco designs) that sit just in front of it.

These two relative newcomers to the block crowd out their skinny neighbor, so it gets even less light and love from passersby.

And that slate mansard roof! It’s hard not to romanticize this 19th century holdout, even though it isn’t in the best shape.

I can’t help but think of it as a testament to what a developer will build with a fraction of the size of a regular building lot, as well as how little space New Yorkers need.

And of course, it’s proof that some of the most interesting buildings in the city are on the streets where you least expect them.

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5 Responses to “The skinniest building in Midtown Manhattan”

  1. Bob Moskowitz Says:

    More history here: http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2012/05/skinny-1865-survivor-at-no-19-west-46th.html

  2. CLIFFORD STANLEY Says:

    Thanks for many years of ephemeral pleasures. This post reminded me of a building in that neighborhood that I would like to know more about. I don’t remember the exact location and since I sadly no longer live in NYC I can’t go looking for it.

    The facade of the building was designed to look like the stern (as I recall) of an old square-rigged ship. I think the building housed some nautically-connected private club. I want to say it is/was on 43rd, 44th or 45th (possibly same block as the late lamented Gotham Book Mart).

    How about a post on this? (Or link to a post if there already is one.)

    Thanks again,

    Cliff Stanley NY native in exile

    >

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    You’re welcome! Was it this one on 44th Street?
    https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/the-sea-inspired-windows-of-a-midtown-clubhouse/

  4. CF Says:

    Clifford Stanley you are referring to the clubhouse of the New York Yacht Club.

  5. David H Lippman Says:

    This building needs a lot of love.

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