Posts Tagged ‘Augustus St. Gaudens’

The bachelor apartments of Washington Square

June 18, 2010

For young artists new to New York City in the 1870s, finding a place to live and work was tough. Landlords and boarding-house owners looked at bachelors with suspicion. Money was always tight.

Which is why a local businessman built this six-story red brick apartment building on Washington Square East in 1879.

Its rooms were intended for unmarried men only. The name, the Benedick, reflected the clientele: Benedick is the bachelor in Much Ado About Nothing.

Because the Benedick had studios on the top floor, it attracted artists, such as Winslow Homer (left) and John LaFarge.

Things may have gotten smutty there in the 1880s. That’s when it became home base for the Sewer Club, which included Stanford White and Augustus St. Gaudens.

The Sewer Club could have been innocent fun, but since notorious womanizer Stanford White was a member, well, probably not.

By the 1920s, the Benedick was bought by New York University; bachelor artists had to find living quarters just like everyone else.