Every Building on Fifth

2140 – 2150 Fifth Avenue

2140 – 2142 Fifth Avenue is a rather battered commercial building that overlooks the Callender Playground; window treatments suggest a budget-Beaux Arts.  The cornice has been removed. 2144-2150 Fifth Avenue is a tall, dark and handsome brownstone row in varying degrees of repair.  The basement-levels of the latter have been partially converted to commercial use:… Continue reading

Just Off Fifth: 13-17 West 131st Street

A whimsical trio at 13-17 West 131st Street: abstracted Queen Anne details create architectural “faces” at the upper levels overlooking the sedate brownstones opposite.

Courtney Callender Playground at West 130th – 131st Streets and Fifth Avenue

This playground honors Courtney Callender (1937-1983), New York City’s first African American Deputy Commissioner of Cultural Affairs and the first African American official in Parks under Commissioner Thomas Hoving and Executive Director Henry J. Stern. He established the Community Relations division, which initiated the policy of including the neighborhoods in park decisions. Callender served as… Continue reading

Just Off Fifth: St. Ambrose Episcopal Church at 15 West 130th Street

St. Ambrose Episcopal Church at 15 West 130th Street is a craggy structure designed by James W. Pirsson in 1873-1875 for the Presbyterian Church of the Puritans.  Grounded in the Romanesque Revival work popularized by the great Boston-based architect Henry Hobson Richardson, it packs a monumental sense of mass into a relatively small structure. Pirsson… Continue reading

JUST OFF FIFTH: Astor Row at 8-62 West 130th Street

Astor Row at 8-62 West 130th Street – a remarkable row house development consisting of 26 double houses kitted out with unique Eastlake “spoolwork” porches and restrained brickwork.  Developed by the Astor Family in the early 1880s and designed by Charles Buek, they feature generous front and side yards – then as now a rarity… Continue reading