Battery Park City

History 

 

In the mid-1960s, as commerce fled uptown and the unused Hudson River piers rotted in the water, Governor Nelson Rockefeller conceived of Battery Park City as a way to revitalize the downtown area and the decaying waterfront, simultaneously providing housing and finding a place to dump the rock and earth excavated from the World Trade Site. In 1979 a master plan was created that determined the present outlines of the area. A recent construction boom is pushing Battery Park City toward completion. It's Manhattan's newest neighborhood, located west of the Wet Side Highway, below Chambers Street to the water.

 

Residential properties consist entirely of condos and rentals with most buildings having doormen. A few condo maisonettes are available.

Points of Interest 

 

The Winter Garden - 1 World Financial Center - The centerpiece of the World Financial Center is The Winter

Garden, a glassed-in, barrel-vaulted plaza as large as Grand Central Terminal. Its 50-foot palm trees were imported from California's Mojave Desert.

Stuyvesant High School - 346 Chambers Street - This is one of the nations' premier high schools. Founded as a manual trade school for boys, it later became a specialized high school emphasizing mathematics, science, and technology. Notable alumni include Jimmy Cagney, Paul Reiser, and Tim Robbins.

 

The Esplanade - Hudson River Shore - The Esplanade, built from 1983 to 1990, is one of the glories of Battery Park City. A wide, thoughtfully designed walkway, it once more gave pedestrians, after long exile, access to the river.

Chelsea

History

 

Chelsea is bordered by 14th Street to the south, 29th Street to the north, 6th Avenue to the east and the Hudson River to the west. Gentrified in the 1980s, Chelsea has become one of the artistic hotspots of the city.

A 1995 rezoning has encouraged residential development along the Avenues. Chelsea has a diverse housing stock ranging from new lofts to elegant townhouses to old-world tenements.

Points of Interest

 

The Chelsea Hotel - 222 West 23rd Street - The Chelsea Hotel was originally one of the city's earliest cooperative apartment houses. It was also the first apartment building to reach twelve stories and to feature a penthouse. It was converted into a hotel in 1905. Writers Mark Twain and O. Henry lived here in the early days, but its artistic heyday came after the 1930s when a host of celebrated artists including Thomas Wolfe, Arthur Miller, Dylan Thomas and even Sarah Bernhardt.

Chelsea Piers - 23rd to 17th Street along the Hudson - Chelsea's most significant recent addition, the Chelsea Piers is an entertainment and recreation complex. In 1902 the 800-foot finger piers were finished just in time to receive the Mauretania and the Lusitainia, then the pride of the Cunard Line and was to be the original docking place of the Titanic. In the 1990s the piers were converted into a production studio and giant indoor playground for children and adults alike.

 

Chelsea Market - 75 9th Avenue - The Chelsea Market is actually a consolidation of 17 buildings, built at various times between the 1890s and the mid-1930s. Once a Nabisco cookie factory, the building is the birthplace of the Oreo, invented in 1912. Trains once delivered flour straight from the docks into the building on special tracks. The Market opened in 1997 for wholesalers willing to let the public see them at work (visitors can look into the kitchens) and to sell goods at less than retail.

 

To learn more about Chelsea please visit our neighborhood website.

East Village

History

 

Once considered part of the Lower East Side, the East Village today boasts an eclectic population of working class families, students, immigrants, artists, merchants and punks. Because of historical circumstance - sudden and rapid development - the district preserves in strange juxtaposition architectural traces of its evolution. Starting in the mid-19th century, the East Village hosted waves of immigration. The immigrants established churches and social clubs and opened restaurants, some of which still remain. In the 1990s as the city began to recover economically, there was in the East Village rapid gentrification. The neighborhood is located east of 3rd Avenue between 14th and Houston Streets.

Points of Interest

 

Tompkins Square Park - Corner of 10th Street and Avenue A - A colorful and vibrant park, this centrally located refuge reflects the colorful diversity of the community.

 

 

The Bowery - Runs 1 mile from Chatham Square to Cooper Square - One of the oldest streets in New York, it was once known as a less than desirable neighborhood. However, this street has undergone a rejuvenation and is now attracting young professionals and upscale downtown eateries.

Flatiron District

History

 

The Flatiron District is named for the Flatiron Building, which is built on the elongated triangle where Broadway joins 5th Avenue at 23rd Street. It was the world's tallest building (300 feet) when completed and one of the first to be supported by a steel skeleton in 1901. The neighborhood is now a commercial, retail and upscale residential blend. Residential lofts are the primary housing stock.

Points of Interest

 

The Flatiron Building - 23rd Street and Broadway - Dramatically sited and radically constructed, this landmark is nevertheless conservatively garbed in limestone and terra cotta. Its severity is softened somewhat by the eight-story undulating bays in the midsections of the side walls and by its rounded northern corner which is only six feet wide. It was originally called the Fuller Building, after its developer, before its current descriptive title caught on.

The Westen Union Telegraph Company Building - 186 5th Avenue - Small in scale, this red brick building with limestone trim, a gabled roof, and octagonal chimney towers is an early work by the architect of the Dakota Apartments and The Plaza Hotel, Henry Hardenbergh.

Madison Square Park - 23rd Street at Madison Avenue - The Park is 6.8 acres of green, criss-crossed by walkways and studded with statuary. It's named for President James Madison and opened officially in 1847. Across Madison Avenue was the first of two Madison Square Gardens.

Gramercy Park

History

 

The Gramercy neighborhood is named for the park, which was created by Samuel Boulkley Ruggles, a small-scale urban planner and descendant of Peter Stuyvesant. Ruggles bought a 20-acre farm in 1831, drained the marshland, and laid out a park to increase the value of his land. Around the park he designated 66 building lots and sold them with the stipulation that only lot owners could have access to the park.

 

His wishes are still in force today and only residents facing the square who pay a yearly maintenance fee are granted keys. Famous residents of the neighborhood have included Stanford White and Eleanor Roosevelt. Gramercy is located between 29th and 14th Streets, east of Park Avenue South.

Points of Interest

 

The National Arts Club - 15 Gramercy Park South - This brownstone was built in the 1840s and remodeled for Samuel J. Tilden in 1884. Tilden, governor of New York State, and the Democratic Presidential candidate who lost by one electoral vote in 1876, was wary of assassination attempts, so he had rolling steel doors installed behind the lower windows and an escape tunnel built to 19th Street. Currently owned by The National Arts Club it is open to the public for exhibitions.

 

The Players - 16 Gramercy Park South - Bought and remodeled by Edwin Booth, this brownstone was converted into an actors' club in 1888. Booth, one of the finest actors of his time, lived on the top floor of the club, overlooking the Park.

The Garden of Remembrance - 144 East 20th Street - The Garden of Remembrance was dedicated in 1982 to Jews who perished in the Holocaust. It is next to the former Friends' Meeting House, built in 1859. 

Greenwich Village

History

 

Greenwich Village is remarkable for its variety - its people, architecture, institutions, and street life. Originally marshland, it was the Dutch who divided the area into large farms and by 1713 it was officially known as Greenwich in the city records. Around the turn of the 20th century it entered its halcyon period. Because of its relative isolation and historic charm, the Village offered a haven for the radical, avant-garde element of American society. It became home to theatre companies, artists and actors alike and remained the heart of the city's counter-culture in the 1940s and 50s. It continues to this day to be some of the most sought-after real estate in the city. The Village is located from Broadway west to Seventh Avenue, Houston to 14th Street.

Points of Interest

 

Washington Square - 5th Avenue and Waverly Place - This Village hub was laid out as a park in 1827 attracting the well-to-do whose houses rose along its perimeter. In 1835 the site was the first public demonstration of the telegraph by NYU professor Samuel Morse. Today these historic grounds host street performers, NYU students and out-of-towners daily.

 

New York University - Main Building - Washington Square East - For years the school has been Greenwich Village's largest landowner. Founded in 1831 by a group of business and professional men, the University was non-sectarian and offered practical and classical courses to middle-class students.

 

MacDougal-Sullivan - Gardens Historic District - MacDougal Street at Bleecker Street - This is a group of 24 houses built between 1844 and 1850 sharing a common back garden. Although the facades have been significantly altered, the district remains interesting as an example of early urban renewal and for creating a common garden from small individual plots.

Harlem

History

 

Harlem is a neighborhood whose very name conjures up many images. Harlem is defined by the East and Hudson Rivers and 110th Street on the east side, 125th Street on the west side to 168th Street. Originally Harlem was a Native American village which eventually, due to the fertile soil, attracted Dutch farmers. The outlying land attracted wealthy merchants who developed estates and built country mansions. By the 1840s the quality of farmland deteriorated, many homesteads were abandoned and Irish squatters began to move in. Much of Harlem was developed by speculators who anticipated the arrival of the middle class from downtown, and put up substantial apartment buildings and handsome row houses. Eventually the real estate speculation went bust and the market collapsed.

 

By 1904, the neighborhood was full of unrentable buildings. The black community arrived in the 1920s. At the same time landlords began subdividing apartments, increasing their own profits but beginning a policy of overcrowding and poor building maintenance.

Today life is definitely on the upswing in Harlem. Middle class families are again buying homes in Harlem's premiere neighborhoods, including Striver's Row, Sugar Hill, Hamilton Terrace and Mount Morris Park. From river to river, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in the community.

Points of Interest

 

City University of New York - 135th and Convent Avenue - The University was founded in 1849 with free admissions for city residents. Nowadays, though the tuition is no longer free, the University provides an educational outlet for the city's aspiring young.

 

The Apollo Theater - 253 West 125th Street - The Apollo Theater opened originally burlesque house for whites only. In 1934 the theater was taken over by Leo Brecher and Frank Schiffman who invited blacks and turned the Apollo into Harlem's top spot. Even the Apollo eventually hit hard times, and in 1976 it was converted to a movie theater. In 1983, former borough president Percy Sutton revived the Apollo for live performances.

 

The Hamilton Grange National Memorial - 287 Convent Avenue - This is the country home of founding father Alexander Hamilton. This was one of the finest Federal houses of its day. The grange was built on a 32-acre farm, then 8 miles from the city as a respite from politics. After his death, it had various owners until 1889 when it was donated to St. Luke's Church. The American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society opened the house in the public in 1924. Since 1962, it has been run by the National Park Service.

Lower East Side

History

 

In the 18th century much of what is now the Lower East Side belonged to the city's great land-owning families, the Rutgers and the Delanceys. The area eventually went on to become the city's manufacturing center, with shipyards and slaughterhouses lining the waterfront. Since transportation was limited, most people, especially the working poor lived, near where they worked. In 1833 the first tenement was erected on Water Street. These days the neighborhood is gradually being absorbed by the more affluent areas around it and the quality of living is steadily on the rise. Theaters, bars and clubs have opened in addition to trendy clothing boutiques along Ludlow and Orchard Streets as gentrification continues.

Points of Interest

 

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum - 90 Orchard Street - This 6-story brownstone tenement was built in 1863. Seven thousand immigrants from more than 20 nations lived in the building between 1863 and 1935. Slowly the building has been restored and has been open to the public since 1994.

Katz's Deli - 205 Houston Street - This old-timer is a no-frills, cafeteria-style deli that opened in 1888; during World War II its slogan was, "Send a salami to your boy in the Army!" It still sells some of the city's finest and thickest pastrami sandwiches. 

Midtown

History

 

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Fifth Avenue and much of Midtown Manhattan was the city's most desirable residential neighborhood. Then commerce invaded, and Fifth Avenue became a street for upscale department stores. Much of Fifth Avenue, however, still glitters with jewelers, international boutiques, and expensive apartment buildings. Even the neighborhood to the west, formerly known as Hell's Kitchen, has gentrified and is now known as Clinton.

Points of Interest

 

Times Square - Broadway and 42nd Street - Formerly known as Longacre Square, this bustling crossroads was renamed Times Square when the The New York Times moved in in 1905. Rebounding from its less attractive days in the 1970s, the area has undergone massive renovation in recent years and remains today the heart of New York City.

 

Empire State Building - Fifth Avenue and 34th Street - In a city known for tall buildings, the Empire State Building at 1,250 feet is New York's tallest building. The building itself was a child of the depression and was completed in 1931. Beginning with its film debut, King Kong, the building continues to be popular in films and is a favorite of visitors to New York.

Grand Central Terminal - Park Avenue and 42nd Street - Grand Central Terminal was built from 1903 to 1913 and remains one of the world's greatest railroads and an enduring symbol of the city. It is a marvel of engineering and urban planning, bringing the railroad into the heart of the city while enhancing the surrounding neighborhood. More than 500,000 people pass daily through its marble corridors.

Murray Hill

History

 

Murray Hill, bounded roughly by East 34th Street, 3rd Avenue, East 42nd Street and Madison Avenue, is named after Robert Murray, who had a country home here during the Revolutionary War. In the mid-19th century, real estate values soared as the wealthy built brownstones along 5th, Madison and Park Avenues. The neighborhood remains a stable and upscale one.

Points of Interest

 

The Morgan Library - 29 East 36th Street - Known for it's renaissance manuscripts which were gathered by J. Pierpont Morgan, this elegant building was originally used as a residence. In 1988, the Library bought the former home of Morgan's son and renovated it, enclosing the former garden in a glass walled court.

The Church of Transfiguration - 1 East 29th Street - This house of worship was once a station on The Underground Railroad. It continues to be popular to this day with actors.

Sniffen Court - 150-158 East 36th Street - The Sniffen Court Historic District, named after builder John Sniffen, is a group of ten small Romanesque revival brick carriage houses (c.1850-60) that have been beautifully preserved.

SoHo

History

 

SoHo, an acronym for South of Houston, has been integral to New York's art scene for more than three decades. In the early part of the 19th century, the area was the most densely populated part of the city. By the 1850s Broadway was lined with expensive hotels and retail stores, while dance halls, casinos, and sporting brothels lined the side streets. During the decades between 1860 and 1890 most of the cast-iron architecture so admired today was constructed. In the early 1960s artists attracted by empty commercial buildings began moving in, illegally converting spaces to apartments. Today SoHo is cleaner, slicker and more expensive. In recent years high-end retailers have arrived, joining the trendy restaurants and chic hotels that have made this neighborhood so popular. The area is located south of Houston to Canal Street and from Lafayette west to the river.

Points of Interest

 

The Museum for African Art - 593 Broadway - This museum is one of only two devoted exclusively to African art. Its interior was

designed by Maya Lin, architect of the National Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington DC.

 

The Queen of Greene Street - 28-30 Greene Street - The Queen of Greene is the Second Empire building. During the 1850s Greene and Mercer Streets were notorious for their brothels. While the houses on the south end of the street catered to sailors, the houses further north appealed to a wealthier clientele. This particular "resort" was within a few moments’ walk of more upscale Broadway.

 

To learn more about SoHo please visit our neighborhood website.

Sutton Place

History

 

Sutton Place is named after Effingham Sutton, a merchant who developed the area in 1875 with a fortune he made in the California gold rush. His venture with Sutton Place came about 50 years too soon, and the street remained modest until Anne Morgan, daughter of JP Morgan, and Mrs. William Vanderbilt arrived in 1921. Today it is home to some of the premiere East Side apartments in Manhattan. Sutton Place is located East of First Avenue between 52nd and 59th Streets.

Points of Interest

 

Riverview Terrace - 58th Street at the East River - Riverview Terrace is a small, cobbled, private street with five 19th-century houses looking out from the top of the ridge.

River House - 433 East 52nd Street - Completed the same year as the George Washington Bridge, River House quickly became synonymous with privilege and wealth. The apartments in the tower were built on two or three floors with as many as seventeen rooms.

TriBeCa

History

 

TriBeCa didn't exist in name until the 1970s when a realtor created the acronym from Triangle Below Canal Street as a marketing ploy. Originally a well-to-do residential area, the neighborhood became industrial after the civil war. In the 1980s and 90s the neighborhood saw the arrival of luxury condominiums and chic restaurants, attracting the wealthy, the hip and the celebrated. Robert DeNiro, in fact, was one of the driving forces behind a new TriBeCa Film Festival. The neighborhood is located below Canal, West of Broadway to the Hudson River.

 

 

Points of Interest

The Long Distance Building of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company - 32 Sixth Avenue - When completed, this Art Deco building contained the largest long-distance communications center in the world, through which every overseas phone call top or from America was routed.

 

The Holland Tunnel - Entrance at Varick Street and Laight Street - The Holland Tunnel, the first Hudson River vehicular tunnel was completed in 1927 and named after its chief engineer, Clifford M. Holland. It annually carries more than 17 million cars eastbound-the direction in which the tolls are collected.

Turtle Bay

History

 

The neighborhood now dominated by the United Nations is known as Turtle Bay, after a cove in the East River that reached from about 45th to 48th Streets. Turtle Bay is one of the city's more genteel residential neighborhoods; its gracious brownstones and luxury high-rises attract diplomats, the affluent young and a few celebrities. The bay was filled in in 1868. Currently, Turtle Bay is located East of Second Avenue between 42nd Street up to 49th Street.

Points of Interest

 

The United Nations - First Avenue at East 46th Street - Soon after the signing of the United Nations Charter, the General Assembly voted to locate the UN's permanent headquarters in The United States. In 1946, John D. Rockefeller Jr. bought the parcel of land on the East River that is today The United Nations. The buildings were designed by an international committee of architects. The UN is currently considering a $1 billion renovation and expansion plan.

Turtle Bay Gardens - 227-247 East 48th Street - Turtle Bays Gardens Historic District is a block with two rows of 19th-century brownstones, back to back, sharing a common garden inside the block. Inspired by houses with shared gardens in France and Italy, Charlotte Martin bought 20 deteriorating brownstones, filled in swampy areas, shaved six feet off each backyard to create a common garden.

Upper East Side 

History

 

Known for years as New York's most posh neighborhood, the Upper East Side remains home to some of the city's most fabulously wealthy residents and is known as the Silk Stocking District. The area stretches from 59th Street to 96th Street and from Central Park to the East River. Park Avenue, before 1900 when the trains ran above ground, attracted modest dwellings and people of lesser means. But when the railroad moved underground in the 1920s and the air rights were acquired, apartments, hotels and luxury dwellings began appearing.

Points of Interest

 

The Metropolitan Museum of Art - 1000 Fifth Avenue - The Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met) is the largest art museum in the Western Hemisphere and perhaps the most comprehensive in

the world. Its collections include over two million artifacts spanning the course of human history.

 

The Solomon Guggenheim Museum - 1071 Fifth Avenue - Solomon Guggenheim's vast mining fortune led to his impressive acquiring of many art treasures. The collection is now housed in the very famous Frank Lloyd Wright structure on Fifth Avenue.

 

Upper West Side

History

 

The Upper West Side has long prided itself on being more middle-class, more diverse, and definately more liberal than the tony Upper East Side. While those distinctions have blurred in recent year as Upper West Side real estate prices have soared, the neighborhood still retains its singular flavor. Mixed income housing complexes are interspersed with 19th-century row houses and fashionable apartment buildings. The area is located to the west of Central Park from 59th Street to 125th Street.

Points of Interest

 

Lincoln Center - 140 West 65th Street - Lincoln Center is home today to the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philhamonic, the New York City Ballet, the New York City Opera, Jazz at

Lincoln Center, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Film Society of Lincoln Center and other eminent cultural institutions. The Center attracts about five million people annually.

 

Riverside Park - 72nd Street and Riverside Drive - Riverside Park is a lovely terraced, sloping park that runs between the West Side Highway and Riverside Drive. Originally designed in 1873 by Frederick Law Olmsted, it took nearly 25 years to complete. Many of New York's most beautiful apartment buildings look out on the Park and the Hudson River beyond.

 

Dakota Apartments - 1 West 72nd Street - Built in 1884, the Dakota Apartments is known to be one of the city's finest apartment buildings and is architecturally significant because of its ornate style. Not surprisingly, the building has attracted a striking clientele, including Lauren Bacall, Roberta Flack, Maury Povich and most notably, John Lennon, who was killed out front in 1980.

West Village

History

 

Much like its neighbor, the Central Village (or Greenwich Village), the West Village has drawn artists, bohemians and counter-cultural residents for years. The neighborhood has everything from chic and eclectic rentals to some of the most expensive condominiums in all of New York. Much of the housing here has been converted from original commercial and manufacturing space to loft-like apartments that give this neighborhood a funky downtown feel.

 

The West Village begins west of Seventh Avenue and runs to the water comprising the area roughly between 14th Street and Houston Street.

 

 

Points of Interest

 

Abingdon Square - Bethune Street at Hudson Street - This park is named after Charlotte Warren who married  the Earl of Abingdon. Although many British place names were changed in 1794,  after due consideration by the city council the name

Abingdon Square was allowed to remain because the Earl and his wife were sympathetic to the American Revolution. Charlotte Warren's father was one of Greenwich Village's greatest landholders in the 18th century. The Square contains the Greenwich Village War Memorial

 

The Lucille Lortel Theatre - 121 Christopher Street - This Village landmark is named after its former owner, who was known as "The Queen of off-Broadway". Her husband bought this theater and gave it to her as an anniversary present in 1955. Lortel brought playwrights like Edward Albee, Adrienne Kennedy and Terrence McNally to national attention with her productions.

 

The Archives Building - Corner of Christopher and Washington Streets - Originally built in 1899 as a warehouse for goods passing through customs, the building has been converted to fashionable rental apartments. Imposing in scale, it typifies the Romanesque revival style.

 

To learn more about the West Village please visit our neighborhood website.