Posts Tagged ‘Strivers’ Row’

Ghosts of 19th century New York horses

February 9, 2010

Reminders of the city’s horse-powered past are all over the place. Sometimes a horse head is mounted on the gate of a mews, a tribute to the creature who made his home there.

This one above is at the entrance to Sniffen Court—the pretty, circa-1860s mews-turned-private homes on 36th Street between Lexington and Third Avenue. 

Or the head of an equine sticks out of the facade of an old stable. That’s where this Charles Street beauty keeps watch. Below the head is a faded sign featuring the name of the stable owner, H. Thalman.

Plenty of stable signage can still be found on old buildings, such as this Greenwich Street garage.

What would happen if a resident of Strivers’ Row in Central Harlem (above) decided to ride, not walk, his horse on the path behind the brownstone houses there? 

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.

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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.

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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.