Posts Tagged ‘Old apartment ads’

Beautiful curves on two Riverside Drive buildings

November 16, 2012

New York is a city of rectangles and squares.

No wonder the circular facades of two opposing 1910 apartment buildings at 116th Street and Riverside Drive seem so extraordinary.

On the south side is the 12-story Colosseum (left), the smaller of the two.

Talk about amenities: “The building boasts mahogany dining rooms, wall safes, and a ground-floor lounge for chauffeurs.”

Across the street at Claremont Avenue is the Paterno, 14 cylinder-shaped floors topped by a faux mansard roof and window that hides a water tank. “Through a spacious gateway one can drive directly into the building,” notes an ad from 1910.

Together the two residences, built by the same developer, the Paterno Brothers, form a grand gateway to Morningside Heights.

At the time, stately apartment houses were going up all over the neighborhood, which was then billed as the city’s Acropolis because of the cluster of colleges (like Columbia and Barnard) that put down stakes there.

Were the curvy facades purely for design, perhaps to mimic the gentle curves of newly fashionable Riverside Drive?

[Paterno ad: NYPL Digital Collection]

Luxury apartment hunting in 1936

October 22, 2008

Perhaps we’re headed for a repeat of the 1930s, when ritzy uptown apartment buildings put up in the 1920s for wealthy New Yorkers didn’t attract quite enough renters, thanks to a little thing called the Great Depression. Hence the need for ads like these offering amenities and stabilized rents, which appeared in The New Yorker in July 1936.

What were the “unusual transportation facilities” available at the Majestic, as promised in this ad? And 277 Park Avenue sounds like an appeal to the pleasures of suburbia:


The Beaux-Arts Apartments don’t come off as very luxe, considering the free bus service and pension plan. Pension plan?