The Schuyler & Stuyvesant Buildings, 102 & 104 Fifth Avenue

The Schuyler Building at 102 Fifth Avenue and the Stuyvesant Building at 104 Fifth Avenue represent a rather incoherent building history with no less than three architects involved: John Woolley, Charles Hess, and Albert S. Gottlieb, the last of whom designed the Knickerbocker Building across the street.

Like that structure, these twinned behemoths are massive examples of a blend of Beaux Arts and Secessionist motifs; like the Knickerbocker Building, they are an early attempt at branding through historic association, in this case through the names of two of New York’s most prominent families from the Dutch Colonial era.  

The Schuyler Building at 102 Fifth Avenue was designed as a matching addition to the already-completed Stuyvesant Building at 104 Fifth directly to the north, a design by Albert S. Gottlieb. For whatever reason, the developer hired John Woolley rather than Gottlieb as the architect for the new building. Woolley resigned in anger over allegedly unlawful changes being made in the plans and was replaced by Charles Hess, who lasted all of six months before also storming off the project. Finally the developer hired Gottlieb, who adjusted the design to his best ability and completed the construction without delay or incident.

It would appear that the best person to produce something exactly like something else…is the person who created the original in the first place.

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