Posts Tagged ‘Gilded Age architecture’

Special offer for Ephemeral NY readers for a talk on architects McKim, Mead and White

April 17, 2021

If you’re a fan of New York City’s Gilded Age architecture—as Ephemeral New York is—then you know McKim, Mead & White.

The elegant structures designed by this firm of famed architects helped bring the 19th century city into the modern era—from East Side mansions (like the Villard Houses, above) to Broadway office buildings, the original Penn Station (below), the marble arch of Washington Square, and Brooklyn’s Prison Ship Martyrs Monument. The buildings of their later years are all around us. But what about how they got their start?

Landmark West! will be hosting a Zoom talk about McKim, Mead & White’s early years on Thursday, April 29 from 6 pm to 7:15 pm. Ephemeral New York readers can sign up for the talk at a 50% discount—from $20 to $10. The talk will be led by Mosette Broderick, architectural historian and author of triumvirate: McKim, Mead & White. Find out more about the talk here. If you decide to reserve space, just put  “Ephem” in the coupon code. 

The most spectacular roofs are in Union Square

April 10, 2017

On a walk around Union Square, it’s impossible not to look up, thanks to the number of gorgeous roofs—stacked, sloping, multi-tiered roofs that top off the Gilded Age buildings like the elaborate feathered hats worn by stylish women of the era.

The four-story mansard roof crowning 201 Park Avenue South is perhaps the most impressive. This gorgeous building—close to the heavily German East Village back in the day—was once the headquarters for the Germania Life Insurance Company, built in fashionable French Renaissance style in 1911.

On the north side of the square at 33 East 17th Street is the Century Building, with it Queen Anne bells and whistles and two-story gambrel roof. Opened in 1881, the first tenant was a music publisher—and there’s a publishing link today, with Barnes & Noble occupying four floors.

A little farther up Broadway at 20th Street is a mansard roof like no other. Lord & Taylor built this Victorian blowout in 1870, when this stretch of Broadway was nicknamed Ladies Mile. The enormous store featured one of New York’s first steam elevators, and the company installed the first Christmas window decorations.

A detour to Fifth Avenue and 19th Street puts this double-decker Addams Family–esque roof in view. This is the former Arnold Constable Dry Goods store, also part of Ladies Mile.

Constructed between 1869 to 1877, the monster emporium spanned 19th Street from Broadway to Fifth Avenue.