Posts Tagged ‘New York City housing in the 19th century’

The beautiful tenement of West 51st Street

April 12, 2010

“Beautiful” and “tenement” don’t generally go together; tenements were intended to be cheap housing for the masses, and for the most part, developers didn’t care much for aesthetics.

But sometimes you come across one with incredible ornamental details, like this five-story walkup in Hell’s Kitchen—the twin of a similarly detailed tenement next door.

Above and below the windows are swirls of terra cotta leaves, flowers, birds, and angels.

It’s a lush and lively facade. The developer must have wanted his building to stand out, and it does.