Posts Tagged ‘Wooden Houses Upper East Side’

The charming wooden houses time forgot in Carnegie Hill

June 20, 2022

You won’t notice anything unusual at first as you walk along quiet, unassuming 92nd Street between Park and Lexington Avenues.

122 East 92nd Street

But in the middle of the block, amid the quaint brownstones and apartment houses on the south side, stand two startling architectural anachronisms: side by side wood-frame houses with clapboard shutters, low iron fences, and deep front porches more countryside than Carnegie Hill.

120 East 92nd Street

Of course, these houses went up when this neck of the Upper East Side was mostly countryside. Number 122 is the older of the two. The charming Italianate-style home was built in 1859 by Adam C. Flanagan, a custom house officer, according to Andrew Dolkart’s Guide to New York City Landmarks.

120 and 122 East 92nd Street in the 1930s

A little more than a decade later, Flanagan had next-door neighbors. “In 1871, Flanagan sold adjacent land to John C. and Catherine E. Rennert,” wrote Dolkart. “John Rennert, a wine merchant, commissioned No. 120.”

Getting down to the city center involved something of a commute. By the 1850s, horsecar lines ran up and down Second and Third Avenues. By the end of the 1870s, elevated train service on Third Avenue made the trip shorter.

The 92nd Street wood houses in 1976

Both houses were constructed before the city banned wood frame houses below 155th Street in 1882, deeming them a fire hazard. (Wood houses were first prohibited below Canal Street in 1816, and as the city expanded northward, the ban was extended, explained Village Preservation’s Off the Grid blog.)

By the turn of the century, once-sleepy Carnegie Hill and neighboring Yorkville had transformed into an urban part of the cityscape. Strangely, the two wood houses barely changed. Photos from the 1930s and 1970s, above, show them to be well preserved, almost untouched by time.

A handful of other wood houses similar to these survive on the Upper East Side, remnants of a semi-rural city. Number 120 was available for rent for $18,500 back in the 2010s, per; here’s a peek at the gorgeous historic interior.

[Third image: NYPL; fourth image: MCNY/Edmund Vincent Gillon 2013.3.1.782; fifth image: Google]