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Manhattan’s tiniest enchanting historic district

August 29, 2013

89thandlexsignAt the northwest corner of Lexington Avenue and 89th Street is a teeny stretch of landmarked homes.

It’s so quiet and under the radar, it’s not even marked by signs.

Designated 15 years ago, the Hardenbergh-Rhinelander Historic District is comprised of just seven Renaissance Revival–style houses completed in 1889.


Standing on the corner, you can imagine that the entire Carnegie Hill neighborhood once was lined with similarly lovely, ornate residences.

89thandlexcorner2“[The houses] are characteristic of the residential development of the Carnegie Hill-Yorkville area that had been spurred by transportation and street improvements in the late nineteenth century,” states the Friends of the Upper East Side website.

“Clad in red brick, brownstone and red terra cotta, the six houses form a picturesque yet symmetrical composition featuring a variety of window entrance enframements and a lively roofline composed of prominent pediments and modillioned cornices with pierced parapets and finials.

“The flats building located behind the houses and facing 89th Street, is clad in similar materials, has a complementary architectural vocabulary, and is dominated by a broken pediment/cornice surmounted by a pedimented window.”

89thandlexwindowOkay, so who were Hardenbergh and Rhinelander?

Henry Hardenbergh, who designed the homes, also designed the Dakota, the original Waldorf-Astoria on 34th Street, and many other beautiful late 19th century city buildings.

The Rhinelanders were an old New York family that owned vast amounts of real estate. Two Rhinelander enclaves in Greenwich Village, bulldozed decades ago, can be found here.