233 Fifth Avenue, The Museum of Sex

A tatty and nearly unrecognizable survivor from the brownstone era, 233 Fifth Avenue now houses New York’s Museum of Sex.  The museum had planned to demolish the building and replace it with a new electronically-lit façade that would “blush” different shades of pink.  The extension of the final boundaries of the Madison Square North Historic District to include 233 Fifth Avenue put an end to that rather droll idea.

The building was built as the house of Amos Eno, the prosperous merchant who founded the Fifth Avenue Hotel, where 200 Fifth Avenue is now located.  His elegant country house has fared far better at the hands of history and is now a country inn.  The Reform Club occupied the 233 Fifth Avenue from 1890 through 1904.  It would be amusing to know what its membership, concerned with public morality, would have thought of the house’s current use.

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