Posts Tagged ‘East Harlem architecture’

Is Sylvan Court the tiniest alley in Manhattan?

October 10, 2009

Unpaved and demapped, little Sylvan Court is a half-block blind alley off 121st Street between Lexington and Third Avenues. It’s an extension of equally obscure Sylvan Place, which runs from 120th to 121st.

Sylvancourt

The two-story houses on Sylvan Court were probably used as stables in the late 1800s, when Harlem was more of a sleepy village than the expansive urban neighborhood it would become by the early 20th century.

Sylvancourtcloseup

The homes aren’t in the greatest shape; the alleys of the West Village and Brooklyn Heights feature similar carriage houses that have been lovingly restored, not left to the elements. But they sure are charming. Unlike other alleys and mews in the five boroughs, they don’t have landmark protection.

Sylvan Court shouldn’t be confused with Sylvan Terrace—a better-restored mews dozens of blocks northwest.