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

2068-2076 Fifth Avenue

2068-2076 Fifth Avenue is one of Harlem’s most impressive rowhouse developments, a collection of massive Richardsonian structures that terminates with a rugged tower at the West 28th Street corner.  Modern windows and other flimsy recent renovations detract from the design but the overall effect is still of a storybook fortress.

11-14 Mount Morris Park West

11-14 Mount Morris Park West is one of Harlem’s best rows, designed in 1889 by James E. Ware in a massive Richardsonian-inspired style that includes a turret-like bay on the corner dwelling and stonework and steep gables throughout. Ware is best known for inventing the “dumbbell plan” for New York tenements, which allows light into… Continue reading

366 Fifth Avenue

A handsome mix of Romanesque and Beaux Arts motifs, 366 Fifth Avenue, also known as The New York Accessories Exchange, was built in 1907-1908 and is a major center for the accessories trade. The original freight elevator from 1907 is still run by a porter.  

335-339 Fifth Avenue, The Demarest Building

A wonderfully sophisticated commercial building, 335-339 Fifth Avenue was designed by the firm of Renwick, Aspinwall & Russell, successors to the firm of James Renwick Jr., designer of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  Commissioned by the carriage (and later automobile) design firm of A.T. Demarest, the 1889 building boasted the first electrically powered elevator in the world and… Continue reading