Posts Tagged ‘Mead’

Strivers’ Row: a glimpse of genteel old Harlem

November 16, 2009

“Walk Your Horses” say the inscriptions on the entry gates that lead to the alleys of Strivers’ Row, a two-block time capsule back into Harlem history.


Like a lot of the neighborhood, these aristocratic townhouses, spanning 138th and 139th Streets between Frederick Douglass Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, were built in the 1890s for wealthy whites.


But when white New Yorkers deserted Harlem just a decade later, middle- and upper-class black families moved in—hence the striver reference. Each house had modern plumbing, detailed woodwork, and shared back courtyards. Plus stables for horses, of course.

Strivers’ Row mixes a couple of different architectural styles. (Stanford White had his hand in designing some). The result is a harmonious couple of blocks as lovely as any in the Village or brownstone Brooklyn—but lesser-known, practically a neighborhood secret.

A bird’s-eye view of Pennsylvania Station

January 17, 2009

Hard to believe the Pennsylvania Railroad got away with demolishing this 1910 McKim, Mead  and White beauty. (If they needed a big parcel of land, why didn’t they tear down the Port Authority Bus Terminal instead?)

But that’s what happened in 1963. Penn Station’s destruction subsequently ushered in an era of historic preservation.


View ore images of the old Penn Station—inside and outside— here.

Before the Apple store, it was the Hotel Savoy

December 1, 2008

Fifth Avenue at 59th Street has been a prime piece of real estate since the late 19th century. The first luxe development there was the Hotel Savoy, built in 1892. It was actually an apartment house with a host of wealthy tenants. 

It also seemed to be a fairly popular place to commit suicide. The New York Times archive includes several accounts of well-to-do men who offed themselves there.


The Hotel Savoy was replaced in 1927 by the Savoy Plaza Hotel, a McKim, Mead, and White beauty razed in 1964 to make way for the 50-story GM Building. To protest the demolition of such a lovely Art Deco structure, about a 100 architecture students and teachers held a “funeral march” at Grand Army Plaza across the street.

But the Savoy Plaza bit the dust anyway, and now New Yorkers rush in and out of FAO Schwartz (in the GM Building) and the subterranean Apple Store, not the smoky hotel bars and restaurants of another era.