April 26, 1860, New York Times, The Sale of the Thorn Estate,
From Eighty-ninth to Ninety-fourth-street, or rather to Apthorp's-lane, about ... The dealers in land and the seekers of homes alike will be drawn by the magnet.
One of the last as well as one of the best known of the noble estates which once decorated the upper part of the Island of Manhattan, is about to disappear under the advancing tide of municipal improvement. The "Elm-wood" house and park, of Col. THORN, have long been a conspicuous feature in the fast diminishing "scenery" of our Metropolitan rides and drives. They have now been brought by the death of their late possessor, himself for years a "feature" of New-York society, under the remorseless hammer of the auctioneer, which, like the [???]ot of "pallida mors," in the Horatian ode, knocks with impartial force at the doors of the palace and the hut.
An "executor's sale" of the whole of this magnificent property is announced for the 3d of May at the Merchants' Exchange. The estate is almost a Ward in itself, and a very few years will doubtless see its green spaces and wooded lawns converted into busy streets and populous homes. From Eighty-ninth to Ninety-fourth-street, or rather to Apthorp's-lane, about eighty feet from the line of the latter street, it has been surveyed, between Broadway and Tenth-avenue, into building lots averaging more than twenty-five feet in width, and ranging from seventy to one hundred in depth. On the lines of the cross streets from Tenth to Ninth avenues, and on these avenues, the lots run pretty uniformly on the scale of 25x100; and from Ninth-avenue towards the Eighth-avenue boundary of the Central Park, more than a hundred lots have been marked out of more varying outline and proportions. So vast an operation in real estate lying immediately within the great circle of expansion upon which New-York is now just newly entering, is not likely to recur within the life-time of the present generation; and the sale of the 3d of May will be one of the events of the current year.
For old New-Yorkers it will mingle a thousand memories of the past with wonder over the unflagging pace at which the tremendous onward movement of their dear Dutch birth-place is maintained. To the active myriads of keen-eyed speculators, who leave the sirens of "Western lands" to seduce raw foreigners into fever-smitten swamps and submerged "commercial centres," and wisely confine their own energies to the El Dorado at our doors, the breaking up of this great "reservation" on the line of our chief thoroughfares, and within gun-shot of our splendid Central Park, will appear, like the sale of THRALE's brewery to Dr. JOHNSON, not a mere transfer of so much property, but the sale "of the means of becoming indefinitely rich." The dealers in land and the seekers of homes alike will be drawn by the magnet. The lovers of the picturesque alone will lament the inevitable doom of "Elm Wood;" and the next actors on the stage of New-York life, thirty years hence, will know its very name, only as we now know, that where the policeman draws the long-bow of love upon buxom nursery maids in Union-place, gaitered gentlemen once bagged the astute snipe; or that Fifth-avenue once bloomed with butter-cups instead of bonnets, and lazy lilies of the field in the place of the marvels of Flemish toil and the spinnings of the Lyons looms.
May 29, 1854, New York Times, The Boston Riot; The Fugitive Slave Case. The Master Arrested and Held To Bail; Attempted Rescue of Burns! Doors of the Court-House Stove In. One Man Killed. The U. S. Troops Posted in the Court-House. The Boston Military Ordered Out; Examination Postponed; The Rioters Arraigned; Comments of the Boston Press; [For the Latest News See Telegraphic Head; Saturday's Proceedings. The Examination of Burns. Arraignment of the Rioters before the Police Court. Supremacy of the Law. The Fugitive Slave. BY TELEGRAPH....E. Apthorp, themselves as sureties, in the of $5,000 for the appearance of ...... of the Abolitionists, and other enemies of the peace of the land, to make that city, ...
October 18, 1870, New York Times, Real Estate Transactions; Transfers of Real Estate.
February 20, 1871, New York Times, Real Estate Transactions,
... referee, disposed of a lot of land with the buildings thereon, located on the south side of Thirty-eighth-street, ..... 54 Yail-street; Hazard, Apthorp .5v Co., No.
March 23, 1884, New York Times, New Publications; Episcopacy in the Revolution; JOHN ADAMS, THE STATESMAN OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION: An Address before the Webster Historical Society, Jan. 18, 1884, by Hon. MELLEN CHAMBERLAIN, Boston: Published by the Society. 8vo, pp. 85.
This pamphlet is one among many indications that the time has come for a view of American history which is entirely different from the rose-colored stories which have heretofore been written to glorify the American people. It is not to be understood that the creation of republican institutions in the New World was not a ...
They were abroad in the land ages before. They had always been taught .... It was answered by Dr. Apthorp, of Christ Church, Cambridge. This brought out Dr.
October 23, 1891, New York Times, Holloway Wins His Case, Decision in the Bloomingdale Road Ejectment Suits, When this road was closed the abutting owners took possession of the land, claiming ... Charles Ward Apthorp was a large owner of property through which the ...
October 27, 1891, New York Times, Talk of Enlarging Chambers Street Hospital,
October 27, 1891, New York Times, Titles to Old Roadways; Recent Decisions That Affect Large Property Interests; It Makes a Great Difference Whether Roads Were Laid Out Under English Or Dutch Law -- Questions For the Court of Appeals,
Property owners were much interested in two decisions made public recently involving title to the beds of the old roadways, now closed, known as the Harlem and the Bloomingdale Roads.
James W. Holloway claimed title as the heir of Charles W. Apthorp, owner of the ... aml the fee property be to be still where it was before the land was used as a ...
April 15, 1892, New York Times, Work of the Courts, The property was originally part of the old Apthorp estate. Air. Holloway is a descendant of Apthorp. He claimed that the property did not include the land ...
October 15, 1893, New York Times, Property Owners In Doubt; Titles Are Clouded Aa To Ownership In Old Roads, Property owners along the line of the old Bloomingdale Road between Eighty-ninth and Ninety-sixth Streets, who have been waiting since March for the Court of Appeals to pass upon the validity of their holdings, are getting no comfort from the decision of the court just handed down. The issue involved three cases of ejectment brought by James W. Holloway against the Astor estate. Holloway is one of the heirs of Charles Ward Apthorp, through whose farm the ... but it based Its judgment upon grounds having no general application to land ...
November 5, 1893, New York Times, Gossip Of Real Estate Men; A Fair Promise Of Greater Activity In Business, Sales Now Reported by Brokers -- Some Chance for Investment and Speculation with Profit -- The Market for Cheap Lots -- Meaning of the Bloomingdale Road Decision -- How the St. Patrick's Cathedral Property Was Acquired -- A New West-Side Hotel -- The Mortgage Records.
. to the Court of Appeals decision in the Bloomingdale Road or Apthorp Lane case, ... The Court of Appeals decides that, technically, the fee of the land which ...
January 9, 1894, New York Times, In The Real Estate Field; A Former Clubhouse Sold -- Some Uncertainty at an Auction, The opening or the present week shows an increase of activity by real estate brokers and agents. A number of sales were made yesterday which the persons concerned in are not yet ready to announce, and the indications are favorable to further business. There are also intimations of a beginning of voluntary auction offerings, together with the right, title, &c., of Joseph Turner to land in the rear, about sixteen feet over the old Apthorp Lane, three-story brick dwelling. Due on ...
February 15, 1894, New York Times, In The Real Estate Field; A Long List of Offerings in the Auction Market, Real estate in the "Swamp" rarely comes up for sale at auction, and consequently there were many persons attracted by curiosity to the stand of Mr. George R. Read in the Trinity Building Salesroom, yesterday when he offered two pieces of such property. The sale was in partition proceedings affecting the Blackburne estate.... side, 50 feet east of Madison Avenue, 60 by 100, with right to strip of land about 10 inches wide adjoining to the north. ... with in Apthorp Lane, in rear.
March 10, 1895, New York Times, West Side Is Itself a Great City; Quarter North of Fifty-ninth West of Central Park a Model Community, Pure Air and Perfect Sanitary Conditions; Surrounded by Pleasure Grounds, Crossed by Fine Boulevards and Wide Streets Lined with Artistic Buildings. Its Residents Live Long in Comfort and Happiness; History of a Region of Great Interest -- Was the Site of Fine Colonial Mansions and Washington's Headquarters Were There -- Buildings Worth $200,000,000 Erected During the Last Twelve Years All Constructed According to Modern Ideas.It seldom happens that a city is built up from the first as the later dwellers within its environment would have had it if they could have superintended its foundation ...
August 15, 1897, New York Times, Bar Harbor Social Notes; Village Improvement Day -- Festivities at Kebo -- Guests of the Cottagers,
BAR HARBOR, Aug. 14. -- It has been a gay week for Bar Harbor. The arrival of the fleet of the New York and Eastern Yacht Clubs Monday morning was the beginning of the gayety, and it has continued ever since. While the fleet was in the harbor entertainments in honor of the yachtsmen were given galore.
After a series of evolutions boats will proceed up the bay and land at Sea Urchins , ... Mrs. Apthorp, Miss Clark, Mrs. Van Rensselaer, Mrs. Snelling, Mrs. and Miss ...
February 25, 1899, New York Times, Franklin. Sir George Otto Trevelyan's Sketch of Him in His 'American Revolution.', Apthorp's brilliant little volumes arc, of course, wholly unlike these of 5iv. .... simple effective method of saving the common lands from being drew ned in the river.
May 5, 1900, New York Times, page 7, Newport's Taxpayers.; Assessors' List of Cottagers,
NEWPORT, R.I., May 4 -- The following is the list of the taxpaying cottagers of Newport for the present fiscal year as taken from the books of the tax assessors showing their total payment of taxes. The rate for the year is $11 on each $1,000. The real estate valuation for the year is $32,161,900; personal valuation, $7,757,700.
March 15, 1902, New York Times, Apthorp's Lane Litigation; Old West Side Property Case Advanced One Stage by-Jury's Verdict, A jury before Justice Scott in the Supreme Court yesterday returned a verdict which will act merely as a stepping stone to further legal proceedings in the already long-drawn-out litigation over the ownership of what was once known as "Apthorp's Lane," running from the old Bloomingdale Road to Harlem Commons, now embraced in Central Park.
April 12, 1902, New York Times, Real Estate Transfers,
In the following list "mtg" stands for mortgage and "RS" for revenue stamps. The war revenue law, as amended, provides that a 25-cent stamp shall be placed on all conveyances where the consideration or value exceeds $2,500 and is under $3,000. Twenty-five cents additional is required for each $500 of consideration over $3,000. 15xS5.4 to Apthorp Lane V- lane; Eva P. Graff and another to Annie L. ... n e corner of land formerly Bloomingdale Road, w to centre next to junction w B of ...
May 13, 1902, New York Times, Real Estate Transfers,
(R S $16.25) 35,000 Willow Lane Road, n s. at south corner of land of Samuel ... 219 ft e of Amsterdam Av. 15x86 to Apthorp's Lane xl5x86.8; Citizens' ...
February 17, 1904, New York Times, page 1, A Newport Show Place Sold; "Malbone," the Residence of Henry Bedlow, Bought by L.G. Morris, The mansion with adjacent land was sold first to Lewis G. AIorrfs, grandson of Henry Bedlor, for $18,600. This is the estate last Summer Lewis S. Bruguiere, ...
December 10, 1905, New York Times, Will Be World's Largest Hotel and Apartment House; New Building to be Erected by D.O. Mills Will Accommodate More Persons than Any Hotel in Existence; -- Four Blocks of Dwellings to be Piled One Upon the Other.
THE biggest hotel in the world -- not the hotel that covers the largest area of ground or boasts the maximum of stories -- but the hotel that houses nightly the greatest number of human beings, is Mills Hotel No. 1, on Bleecker and Thompson Streets. But they come back to us, and by persistence their luck changes, land they .... But the nw Apthorp apartment house -- that Is to be its name, :n honor of one of the ...
April 2, 1908, New York Times, Ex-Gov. Morton Buys Block Front of New Apartments on the Heights -- Deal for Large Interest in Rockingham Property -- "Al" Adams Estate Sells, A large investment purchase on Washington Heights by ex-Gov. Levi P. Morton was announced yesterday by his broker, Frederick Zittel. The deal is one of the largest effected so far this year, and seems likely to have a very strengthening influence, not only upon Washington Heights property, but upon the general market as well.
March 10, 1909, New York Times, In The Real Estate Field; Corners Sold on St. Nicholas Avenue -- New Apartment House for Central Park West -- Dealings by Brokers and at Auction.M. Edgar Fitz Gibbon and George A. Hampton Brother have sold for Donald Robertson, builder, to Ferdinand Denhardt the southwest corner of 179th Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, a five-story apartment house, with three stores, on plot 50 by 100. The property has been held at $120,000.
June 6, 1909, New York Times, In The Real Estate Field; Eno Property at Broadway and Seventy-seventh Street Bought by Builders-- Weeks Important Transactions. One of the few remaining vacant corners on Broadway, between Fifty-ninth and 110th Streets -- the Eno plot at Seventy-seventh Street -- changed hands yesterday, and will soon be improved with a twelve-story apartment house. Pease Elliman negotiated the deal.... is the Hotel Belleclaire, and a block further north is the new Apthorp, owned ... s intention to take in eventually all of the land as far east as Lexington Avenue.
August 15, 1909, New York Times, Large Supply and Wide Variety of Houses Awaiting Apartment ...
... also to the Influence of the growing negro settlement near Lane Avenue and ... large apartment houses of the Apthorp or l- Hudson type In 1905, the present ...
July 24, 1910, New York Times, End 100-Year Fight Over Apthorp Land; Ownership of Harlem Lanes, Built Before the Revolution, Finally Settled; Land Is Worth $4,000,000; First Suit Decided in 1799—Manalon Was Headquarters for Both the British and Continental Armies, By the recording of about forty deeds during the last few weeks, the last of which were filed last Friday afternoon, covering all the remaining portions of the old Bloomingdale Road, Apthorp's, Jauncey's, and Striker's Lanes, litigation which was begun more than a century ago over the Apthorp property has been closed.
July 31, 1910, New York Times, The Famous Apthorp Farm Litigation Finally Ended; Prominent New York Families Interested in the Fight Over the Estate Which Involved a Tract Worth $125,000.000.
MEMORIES of early Bloomingdale days, that "Valley of Flowers" by which name an early Dutch farmer designated his "plantation" on the west side of the city above Seventy-seventh Street bordering the Hudson River, have been revived in the final settlement of the long land disputes over the ownership of the property once included in the Bloomingdale Road and several lanes laid out by that eminent royalist, Charles Ward Apthorp, over a century ago.
August 6, 1911, New York Times, First Building on Old Jauncey Lane; Part of Extensive Apthorp Estate, Which Has Been in Litigation Over a Century This strip of unoccupied land. extend ng through two blocks otherwise solidly ... The Apthorp house stood back of the old Bloomingdale Road, now Broadway.
December 3, 1911, New York Times, Latest Dealings in Realty Field; Market Closes Strong with Sale of the Old Continental Hotel on Broadway, Deal Involves $2,500,000; Upper West Side Apartments Disposed Of -- Investors Buy Bronx Plots for Immediate Improvement.... $15,000 and about $25,000 for inside plots overlooking Central Park, these values being on the land alone. .... Thorn, In 1708 from Mr.Apthorp for $825,000.
August 27, 1911, New York Times, Taller Apartment Houses Are Predicted For New York Cliff Dwellers In Five Years; Joseph Paterno Says; That Sixteen and Twenty Story Structures Will Soon Supplant the Twelve Story Standard of To-day---West Side Building Operations Have Caused Wonderful Advance in Land Values---Remarkable Contrasts in Recent Years---Tenants Prefer Floors Nearest the Sky,
The APTHORP Broadway 78th to 79th Streets. That the .... The land is now considered worth about $650.000 Similar illustrations might be made stores of other ...
March 24, 1912, New York Times, "Ye Olde Settlers of Ye West Side" Celebrate; One Hundred Members of the District Between Riverside Drive and Central Park Unite in an Organization for Historical, Social and Traditional Purposes. NEW YORK'S populous residential district between Riverside Drive and Central Park has a new organization. Its aims are historical, social, and traditional, as may be judged from its name, "Ye Olde Settlers' Association of Ye West Side." It sprang into life as a direct result of the passing away of the few remaining landmarks in that territory for towering apartments of brick and stone.
The Apthorp home was One of the residences In Bloomingdale. ... but nearly, every foot Is well improved and the land value assessments run from $15,000 to.
June 16, 1912, New York Times, Good City Realty Always Salable; Great Object Lesson of Lesson of Investment Confidence Shown in Van Cortlandt Auction,... lately of the conditions of the market and the hesitancy of investors to put their money in land. ... qS by William Jauncey from Charles Ward Apthorp for $25,009.
October 25, 1912, New York Times, Obituaries,
August 23, 1913, New York Times, The Real Estate Field; Upper Broadway Front to be Improved with Apartments Costing $1,200,000-- John Street Corner at Broadway in $945,000 Lease -- Big Deal for New Building in Brooklyn. Plans were filed yesterday for two new west side apartment houses to cost $1,200,000. They will occupy the entire block front on the east side of Broadway, between Seventy-eighth and Seventy-ninth Streets, the situation being a particularly favorable one, right at the Seventy-ninth subway station. Opposite is the big Astor Apthorp apartment, erected several years ago. Opposite is the big Astor Apthorp apartment, erected several years ago. ... large stores for banking purposes, The valuation of the landis $400.
December 12, 1913, New York Times, The Real Estate Field; American Sugar Refining Company Buys West Street Building in $4,500,000 Deal;- $1,500,000 in West Side Apartment Sales-- City Takes Church Street Block ;- Oppenheim, Collins Buy in 35th St. The southerly house adjoins what was formerly the famous Apthorp Lane and the .... The Windsor Land and Improvement Company sold at Hempstead to C. F. ...
February 15, 1914, New York Times, One of the Largest Apartment Houses in the City to be Erected on Broadway Front-- Cost Will be Over $1,000,000 -- Property Once Part of Famous Apthorpe Farm -- A Centre of Tall Buildings for City Homes. VINCENT ASTOR'S decision to erect a mammoth apartment house on the Broadway front of one of the few remaining vacant blocks in the heart of the residential centre of the west side was one of the most interesting announcements of the past week. The block is now assessed at $810,000 on land value, and the few buildings on it have an extra value of $15,000. In the recent appraisal of Col. John Jacob ...
May 28, 1914, New York Times, Gives Up Riches For Chauffeur She Wed; Robt. H. Ingersoll's Niece Refuses to Leave Man She Wed Secretly, Mrs. Arthur Henry Liberty, who was siss Naomi Clark land, the favorite niece of Robert H. Ingersoll, ... 'Miss Noland lived with tile Ingersolls to the Apthorp.
June 11, 1914, New York Times, The Real Estate Field; McAlpin Estate Buys Thirty-fourth Street Plot to Enlarge Hotel -- St. Bartholomew's Now owns Park Avenue Site -- Hearst to Build Taxpayer at Columbus Circle -- Good Bronx Investments. The McAlpin estate, being the Trustees under the will of the late D.H. McAlpin, have acquired the two parcels at 40 and 48 West Thirty-fourth Street, adjoining the McAlpin Hotel on the east. The property, for which negotiations had been in progress for several weeks, has been purchased from the Floyd estate, represented by William Cruikshank Sons, who were the brokers in the transaction. The property just acquired is assessed on land valuation for 60,000. ... known as The Apthorp, on the northeast corner of Broadway and Ninety-fourth Street.
February 15, 1916, New York Times, The Real Estate Field; Philadelphia Syndicate Pays $1,000,000 for 750-Acre Tract at Wantagh, L.I., Boys' Club Secures Site for Addition to Its Home -- Washington Heights Taxpayer Sold to Investor. One of the largest recent sales of Long Island property was consummated yesterday when a syndicate of Philadelphia investors, headed by William L. Austin of Rosemont, Penn., purchased for $1,000,000 a tract of about 750 acres at Wantagh, L.I. On the corner is the Apthorp Hotel, erected by Mr. Schiff z feb- years ago. ... for the purchase of lands for waterway along the South Shore of Long Island.
June 15, 1919, New York Times, Famous Auctions of City Realty; Bennett Sales Ranks as One of Manhattan's Largest Estate Offerings; Prices of Former Days; Interesting History of the Morgenthau Heights Tract Sold Eighteen Years Ago; High Record for Values. The Henry Morgenthau Sale. Bought for $980,000. Sales of Earlier Years. In the romantic realty history of New York City there is nothing more interesting than its auction sales of large undivided estates.
June 24, 1920, New York Times, Broadway Building In 200-Year Lease; Anthony E. Stilger Acquires Parcel Near 93d Street from Higgins Estate, At a $2,000,000 Rental; Annual Payments Will Be Based on Appraisals of Land Values Every Twenty Years. Anthony E. Stilges, President of the Chelsea Exchange Bank, has leased from the Eugene Higgins Estate the one-story building at 2,503 to 2,509 Broadway, on a plot 75 by 100, just north of Ninety-third Street, for a term amounting to 200 years. The lease is really for two ten-year periods, at a graduated rental ranging from $8,560 to ...... covering a plot on the east side of Broadway, north of N-fourth Street, the lessee has since erected an addition. to the Hotel Apthorp.
January 27, 1924, New York Times, When Country Gentlemen Farmed Upper Manhattan, A Few Stately Suburban Mansions of the Last Century Are Still Left to Remind Apartment House Dwellers of the Vanished Pastoral Charms of Our Island. Dwellers in the apartment house districts of upper Manhattan find it difficult to believe that those areas were once dotted with beautiful suburban homes, surrounded, as the real estate prospectus of the old days said, "by pleasant gardens abounding with flowers, fruits and vegetables."
It was described as "containing thirty-five acres of land with an excellent dwelling house, ... I , notice which Indicates that the brated Apthorp mansion in the upper ...
January 17, 1926, New York Times, Houghton Mifflin Company. $15.
The mother of Charie had been Susan Apthorp. daughter of Boston's 't merchant. ... i The chance in Boston. and then throughout all New Eng-I land. from "meet ...
- By PERCY A. HUTCHISON - BOOK REVIEW - Article - Print Headline: "Charles Bulfinch, America's First Great Architect; The Capitol and the Boston State House Are the Best Known Examples of His Work CHARLES BULFINCH, ARCHITECT AND CITIZEN. By Charles A. Place. 288 pp., with 126 illustrations Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. $15."
September 9, 1930, New York Times, L.W. Seaman Left $4,547,288 To Charity; Roosevelt Hospital, Salvation Army and Charity Society Get $1,000,000 Each, 25 Organizations Aided; Family of J.G. Milburn Gets Property Under His Will and That of His Wife; $10,000,000 Estate Divided; Richard Sutro Left Trust Funds for Family and Provided Finances for Business.... to his home in the Apthorp Apartments when he was struck by a Broadway surface car. ... Ralph also receives land and buildings on it, now occupied by him, ...
April 30, 1939, New York Times Magazine, In Washington's Footsteps; The map shows New York City as it was when Washington took the oath of office, as well as sites still associated with his name, by H. I. Brock,
March 9, 1940, New York Times, Business Records,
June 4, 1967, New York Times, Building Strikers Return With a Smile
.. man, who said he was an agent for the landlord, land a uniformed private guard. ... In the garden courtyard of the Apthorp, the block-square building at ...
December 13, 1970, New York Times, Letters to the Editor - Opinion,
Forcing a city so deplete of open land to comply with so severe a set of rules is like ... What really miles me fin Mr. Lewis's letter is his allusion to The Apthorp (not ... "Letters to the Editor"
April 14, 1974, New York Times, Along Riverside Drive, 'Brussels' Flourishes; " The drive's palaces were studies in instant obsolescence, Their style and scope spoke of the past, not the future; by Richard Peck,
Riverside Drive is a boulevard of qualified success. Bent on evoking Paris, it achieved at the turn of the century a bit of Brussels. The drive was product--and, perhaps, victim of New Money in an era when Stanford White was down at the docks off-loading entire facades from French and Florentine palaces to sate a taste for taste....Above the river at 106th Street rose "Woodlawn," the home of Charles Ward Apthorp. ... The Central Parkland was purchased in 1856, and Olmsted's plans ...
July 6, 1975, New York Times, New York at War: Where the Sites Are; New York at War, New York at War: Where the Revolutionary Sites Can Be Found, by Sol Stember,
IN 1776, Fun City was Battle City. During a nine-week period that year, from Sunday morning, Sept. 15, to Saturday afternoon, Nov. 16, armies marched along what are now Fifth Avenue and Broadway, troops were dug in at Harlem and lines of infantry traded volleys of musket fire near the Columbia campus.
William Howe, commander of His Majesty's land forces south, of Canada, arrived .... and Comwallis made do in the Apthorp House at Columbus and 91st Street.
December 20, 1990, New York Times, Books of The Times; Glorious, Squalid Broadway's Lore and Lure, by John Tauranac,
... of Broadway between 78th and 79th Streets from the early 1790's until it was torn down to clear the land for the Apthorp Apartments in 1906.
On Broadway A Journey Uptown Over Time By David W. Dunlap Illustrated. 327 pages. Rizzoli International Publications. $65. Broadway. Depending on your point of view, it is the best of streets, it is the worst of streets. But on one thing everyone seems to agree: Broadway is the city. And David W. Dunlap, who now reports on real estate for The New York Times, has done a wonderful thing for Broadway, no doubt about it.
In his marvelously illustrated book "On Broadway," Mr. Dunlap has catalogued every building on the street from the southern tip of Manhattan to the Harlem River, telling the salient information about each building that is standing there now, as well as cataloguing important buildings that stood there in earlier incarnations.
This chronicle, which in itself makes "On Broadway" a major contribution to New York's architectural history, is only the skeletal framework of "On Broadway." Fleshing out this framework is a narrative history of the street, with neighborhoods acting as the logical groupings for chapters. Mr. Dunlap describes the ebb and flow of neighborhoods, how economic and social forces might create a neighborhood that is upper middle class one generation, commercial the next, perhaps then becoming a backwater only to rise phoenixlike and metamorphose into something entirely different.
The illustrations in the book, which include historical prints and photographs as well as contemporary photographs by the author, contribute mightily to the understanding of Broadway. Good architectural photographers manage to capture the essence of a building, its very personality, and Mr. Dunlap is a very good architectural photographer indeed. He might purge all the dross to show the classic simplicity of a building, or show how buildings can become ravaged by thoughtless changes to their fabric and how messy the cityscape can become. "The entire disregard of unity" that was observed in 1873 is manifested in Mr. Dunlap's photographs of today's urban scene.
One of the most remarkable historical photographs links 18th-century New York with the 20th-century city. The view shows the Vanden Heuvel mansion, which stood on the west side of Broadway between 78th and 79th Streets from the early 1790's until it was torn down to clear the land for the Apthorp Apartments in 1906. Standing in the foreground of the photograph is the great harbinger of change on the Upper West Side, a kiosk leading to the IRT subway.
A vintage photograph of the Colonnade Building, which occupied the block between 57th and 58th Streets in 1923, has the building looking familiar, as if you saw it only yesterday. And you very well might have. But somehow it's wrong: something is missing, and what is missing is the rest of it. Twenty-three stories were added in 1928, making the former Colonnade Building the plinth for today's 1775 Broadway.
Perhaps the book's most telling series of pictures is the threesome showing the changing faces of the Times Tower. The photographs show the same perspective, first in 1907 when the Times Tower, that apparition of Giotto's Gothic campanile, had been standing two years; second, after the original skin had been stripped off and the tower was clad as the banal Allied Chemical Building in 1979; and then, looking even more forlorn, the same building in 1987.
Broadway, always a catholic street, has happily accommodated saints and sinners. It has been home to some of the city's "best" churches, including Trinity and Grace, and, although never the site for a cathedral, several buildings along Broadway have been nicknamed "The Cathedral" of something. The most famous is the Woolworth Building, which a cleric described as the "Cathedral of Commerce," a sobriquet that has stuck since the consecration-of-the-house dinner. You will also find Toffinetti's, the "Cathedral of All Restaurants," as well as Rector's Restaurant, the "American cathedral of froth and frivolity."
Cathedral laurels were claimed for a plan in 1923 for the Broadway Temple Methodist Church in Washington Heights. The scheme called for a 725-foot-high "cathedral-like apartment house and church topped with a cross visible for 100 miles by aeroplane." Only 2 12-story wings of the complex were built, and they appear unrelated to each other, much less to any grander scheme. But the layout puts them in perfect perspective, putting a photograph of the wings next to a rendering of the grand plan, and the ordinarily disparate parts suddenly fit together like a puzzle.
Perhaps the religious edifice most indicative of Broadway was squirreled away within the American Circle Building, which William Randolph Hearst built where the tower long known as the Gulf and Western Building stands at Columbus Circle. "Within it," relates Mr. Dunlap, "was a mysterious chamber that did not come to light until the building's demolition in 1966: a 'cameo Gothic cathedral,' with vaulted ceilings, pointed arches, delicate stonework and opulent chandeliers. There was speculation that Hearst built it as a private chapel for his mistress, the actress Marian Davies."
There are some cavils concerning editorial and art-directorial judgments. This book is a gold mine, and although there are indices to illustrations and architects et al., there is no general index, so there is no way to extract the precious information. Photographs are often far removed from their primary entries and the captions do not provide addresses, so the buildings cannot easily be tracked down. And then there are the maps that lead off each chapter, which are City Planning maps with tape over the germane swath of Broadway, so the street is completely obliterated. A street atlas would have been informative and helpful.
Beyond all this, there is an unstated moral to the book, and that is the health of the city. New York is not preserved in brick and mortar, much less in aspic; it is a healthy, changing, vibrant place. And that is a message to architects, city planners and developers: No plan is likely to remain pristine for the ages, as seen in a bewildering remembrance of something past, a marble arch that was originally the grand entrance to the Seaman-Drake estate at 215th Street but that is now home to an auto parts business. Seeing desecrations like that often leads to the desire for a benevolent despot in City Hall whose first act would be the appointment of his own Baron Haussmann to bring some order to the streetscape. Of course, if we had an ordered city we would not have a Broadway, where the raffish meets the elegant, and that would be a pity. Nor would we have more books like "On Broadway," which would be more the pity. Once you taste of the fruit, you want more.
Photo of street sign at Broadway and 45th St. (The New York Times)
June 30, 2011, New York Times, Upper West Side Twins, by Christopher Gray,
Dr. Evans died in 1897, and his estate did not sell the land until after the ... Because of the recent construction of the full-block Apthorp, at 79th, ... "Twins, but They Don’t Dress Alike"
July 15, 2011, New York Times, In New York, the Suddenly Buff Prewar Building, by Constance Rosenblum,
On the other side of town, major changes are in the works at the Apthorp, the 1908 apartment house on Broadway and 78th Street, where some ...