Posts Tagged ‘2 Columbus Circle’

A brownstone encased in concrete on 64th Street

July 18, 2012

East 64th Street between Park and Lexington is a sweet brownstone block.

But one home sticks out: number 130, which has been strangely hiding behind a concrete grill for much of the past 50 years.

It’s an interesting story. The brownstone went up in 1878 and was bought by architect Edward Durell Stone in 1956.

Stone was an early proponent of modernism; he designed the Museum of Modern Art, the GM Building, and the Gallery of Modern Art at 2 Columbus Circle (redone in 2006, but looking a lot like the 64th Street brownstone in the 1960s).

Stone remodeled his new home, adding the concrete screen and putting in plate glass windows behind it.

It was supposed to offer privacy and create a romantic, latticework effect.

Instead, it garnered a lot of criticism. Over the years, the grill collected dirt and deteriorated.

Stone’s widow removed the facade in the late 1980s, then was fined by the Landmarks Preservation Commission because the home was now part of the Upper East Side Historic District.

The grill went back up in the 1990s, a framework of bisected circles rising four stories—exciting or enraging passersby who either love it or hate it.