Posts Tagged ‘Colannade Row Lafayette Place’

The Russian baths on posh “La Fayette Place”

September 22, 2011

“Dr. Edward Guttmann (1828-1896), a German immigrant who arrived in New York in 1854 to practice medicine, founded the Russian Baths on Lafayette Place in the mid-1850s,” states the caption to this 1870s lithograph by John Lawrence Giles.

It’s in a wonderful book of prints called Impressions of New York, by Marilyn Symmes.

“The print, made to publicize the establishment (after Guttmann had sold the business), shows of the facility’s interior amenities to prospective gentleman customers.”

These baths, on what was then called La Fayette Place, a posh residential neighborhood in the 1830s and 1840s, “were most popular with well-off Russian-Jewish immigrants, as it both reminded them of their homeland and reinforced a sense of community in their new country.”

Bond Street: chic and exclusive in the 1830s

May 1, 2011

Noho’s Bond Street is trendy—just as it was 170 years ago.

That’s when the city’s wealthy residents relocated from bustling, overcrowded downtown to this newly built street, a two-block stretch east of Broadway.

“In the 1830s, Bond Street was one of the city’s most fashionable. Lined with Greek Revival–style houses, it was a secluded, peaceful street whose most celebrated resident, Albert Gallatin, lived at No. 1,” writes Gerard H. Wolfe in New York: A Guide to the Metropolis, from 1983.

Bond Street was surrounded by luxury, particularly Colannade Row, the nine Greek Revival marble mansions around the corner on the elegant cul-de-sac Lafayette Place (now Lafayette Street).

Theaters and chic stores popped up nearby on Broadway. Bond Street “swells” hung around, visiting young women from well-off families.

But of course, Bond Street’s moment in the sun had to end. After the middle of the 19th century, light industry began moving in, and the wealthy moved northward.

Today, a few of the old Greek Revival houses survive. But it’s mostly cast-iron loft buildings for manufacturing, plus modern glass monstrosities.

At least the Belgian Block pavement hasn’t been replaced.