Posts Tagged ‘Chelsea street’

Is this the ugliest brownstone in Chelsea?

April 7, 2014

The iconic New York brownstone, with its high stoop and decorative cornice, made its appearance in the early 19th century and quickly became a stylish, single-family home favorite.


Over the decades, some have been updated, their facades altered and made over to suit their owners’ tastes.


There’s this Modernist example in Turtle Bay, the concrete grill townhouse in the East 60s, and the futuristic bubble-window brownstone in the East 70s.

But what explains the refrigerator unit-like redesign of this home, part of a beautiful stretch of three-story row houses dating back to the turn of the last century?

Perhaps its super comfy inside. And a garage—that can be convenient.

Here’s the price (and photos) of the upper duplex, courtesy of a Corcoran listing.

West 16th Street’s rooftops and water towers

November 12, 2013

Chelsea’s residential rowhouses collide with its more contemporary Art Deco and industrial architecture in Mark Baum’s “Seventh Avenue and 16th Street, New York.

Chelsea Marc Baum

Painted in 1932, the view looks very much the same today—when the sun hits the right way, it’s a blaze of red brick, warm yellow, and burnt brown.

Is this the oldest historic sign in Chelsea?

September 16, 2013

The Landmarks Preservation Commission does a nice job of posting red, black, and white street signs in historic neighborhoods, detailing the backstory of the area and providing a map of street boundaries.

But I’ve never seen one like this, in blue and yellow with super 1970s typeface.


It’s on West 20th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, and a small line at the bottom says “copyright 1970″—the same year Chelsea earned historic district status.

Could an old-school version of today’s historic district sign really survive for 43 years on a Chelsea street…marred only by a few stickers and some light graffiti?

The loveliest stretch of houses in old Chelsea

January 21, 2013

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.

A Chelsea block lined with brothels in the 1870s

December 29, 2012

27thstreetsignToday, 27th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues is kind of a mishmash of wholesale business and small shops anchored on the western end by the Fashion Institute of Technology.

It was a different world in the 1870s, when the block ground zero for prostitution, with 22 houses of ill repute lining both sides of the street.

That’s in addition to dozens of other brothels on nearby blocks. This was the city’s post–Civil War neighborhood of vice, called the Tenderloin, a sinful stretch of 23rd to 42nd Streets between Sixth and Eighth Avenues.

107West27thstreetThe brothels of 27th Street were so notorious, they scored a mention in The Gentleman’s Companion, a guide to prostitution published in the 1870s, reports Andrew Roth in his book Infamous Manhattan.

Among the proprietors listed in the guide are “Mrs. Disbrow, 101; Mrs. Emma Brown, 103; Miss Maggie Pierce, 104; Joe Fisher, 105; Miss Dow, 106; Mrs. Standly, 107,” writes Roth.

Number 107, in the photo, is noteworthy because it’s the only original building left.

“Evidently the author of The Gentleman’s Companion didn’t think too much of the place, since his only comment is ‘the Ladies boarding-house at 107 West 27th St. is kept by Mrs. Standly and is very quiet.'”

“Not much of an endorsement, but better than the review received by her next-door neighbor . . . of which he warns that ‘the landlady and her servants are as sour as her wine,'” adds Roth.

The lovely flower petals on a Chelsea factory

October 21, 2011

In 1906, Charles Hellmuth, a maker of printing ink, built a factory at 154 West 18th between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

Back then, the block was lined with old stables and newer manufacturing buildings.

The Hellmuth factory doesn’t stand out all that much—except for the enchanting Art Nouveau–inspired doorways.

I love the lettering that spells out the building name (especially the interlocked Ls) and the floral ornamentation, so beautifully detailed, especially for an industrial building.

Today it’s a co-op—probably pretty expensive too.