New York Songlines: 62nd Street

Riverside Blvd | West End | Riverside | Freedom Pl | Amsterdam | Columbus | Broadway | Central Park W | 5th Ave | Madison | Park | Lexington | 3rd Ave | 2nd Ave | 1st Ave | York





HUDSON RIVER

Riverside Park South, New York City by Emilio Santacoloma, on Flickr It was called the Muhhekunnetuk by the Mahicans, meaning the River That Flows Both Ways--a reference to its formal status as an estuary or fjord, a glacier-carved branch of the sea with salt water as high as Newburgh and tides all the way up to Troy. Originally known by the Dutch as the North River--as opposed to the South River, now called the Delaware--its current name honors Henry Hudson, the English explorer who sailed up it in 1609. He's also the namesake of Hudson Bay, where mutinous crewmen left him to his presumed death.



Riverside Park South

This new green space on the Hudson was created on part of the site of New York Central's 60th Street Rail Yard, which stretched from 59th to 72nd streets, serving as a transfer facility for rail cars brought across the river by ferry--Manhattan then as now being unequipped with a rail bridge or tunnel that can handle freight traffic. After New York Central became Penn Central, it was known as the Penn Yards; with the collapse of the rail industry, it was abandoned in 1976. Riverside Park South, Memorial Day weekend 2010 - 10 by Ed Yourdon, on Flickr

As early as 1962, there was talk about turning it into a real-estate development--originally in partnership with the Amalgamated Lithographers Union, to be called Litho City. Developer Abe Hirschfield was involved with a plan for the yards called Lincoln West that fell through in the early '80s. Donald Trump took over the project in 1985 with a plan called Television City (later Trump City), which would include studio space for NBC and a 152-story tower designed by Helmut Jahn.

Facing strong community resistance and financial troubles, Trump adopted an alternative scaled-back proposal called Riverside South that added 23 acres of green space to Riverside Park--creating an annex called Riverside Park South.


S <===     WESTSIDE HIGHWAY     ===> N

Officially renamed the Joe DiMaggio highway by baseball-obsessed Mayor Giuliani. Between 1929 and 1951, an elevated highway was built here; it was closed in 1973 for safety reasons and finally torn down in 1989.







S <===     RIVERSIDE BLVD     ===> N

South:

One Riverside Park

Corner (50 Riverside Blvd): One Riverside Park, a 33-story building from 2015 with a glass-and-stone base that's been compared to a Tetris game. Notorious for forcing its affordable-housing tenants to use a separate "poor door."



The Collegiate School

Collegiate School Building

Corner (301 Freedom Place South): This private boys' prep school claims to be the oldest school in the United States, tracing its origins back to 1628 efforts by the Dutch Reformed Church to catechize Native American children. It's been here since 2018. Alumni include Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Peter Bogdanovich, David Duchovny, John F. Kennedy Jr., Bill Kristol, Cesar Romero, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. and Whit Stillman.

W
E
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

The Alwyn

Corner (60 Riverside Blvd): The Aldyn, 40-story condo from 2008.
















The Ashley

Corner (400 W 63rd): The Ashley, 23-story apartment building from 2010.


S <===     FREEDOM PLACE SOUTH     ===> N

Freedom Place Park There's a little plaza that interrupts West 62nd Street here. Not sure if it has a name or not.



South:






55 West End Avenue

Corner (55 West End Ave): West End Towers

W

6
2
N
D

S
T

North:






West End Towers

Corner (75 West End): West End Towers, 39-story twin-towered apartment building from 1994. Western Beef is on the ground floor


S <===     WEST END AVENUE     ===> N

Amsterdam Houses

Amsterdam Houses Amsterdam Houses Courtyard

Some 2,300 people live in more than a thousand apartments in this NYCHA complex built in 1948 (with an 175-unit expansion in 1974). Actor Erik Estrada grew up here.


S <===     AMSTERDAM AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Hawthorn Park

160 (corner): Hawthorn Park, 54-story apartment bulding from 2014.










Fordham University

Fordham University

A Jesuit university founded in 1841, it's the third-oldest college in New York City, after Columbia and NYU. Originally called St. John's University, it took its current name in 1907 after the village of Fordham where its orginal campus was and is still located. The Lincoln Center campus opened in 1961 as part of the Lincoln Square Renewal Project.

Famous alumni include Gov. Andrew Cuomo; CIA directors William Casey and John Brennan; actors Alan Alda, Denzel Washington and Raul Julia; magician David Copperfield; football coach Vince Lombardi; and musician Lana del Rey. Donald Trump went to Fordham for two years.

Fordham Law School

Fordham Law School

150: Founded in 1905, the Fordham Law School counts among its alums vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, US Rep. Jerry Nadler, New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Law School Entrance journalist Christopher Cuomo, and Watergate felons John Mitchell and G. Gordon Liddy. It's also a popular school for fictional lawyers, including Michael Clayton (played by George Clooney) and Michael J. Fox's character on Spin City. The current building dates to 2014.


148: At this address from 1914 was the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which moved to 119th Street in 1926.

140 (corner): This building, which houses Fordham's Quinn Library and Gabelli School of Business, Fordham Library as well as a student center, was built in 1961, the first part of the Lincoln Center Campus; Robert F. Kennedy spoke at its dedication here. It was renovated and repurposed in 2016 after the new law building opened directly to the west. Moses




The abstract sculpture of Moses here is dedicated to Catholics who protected Jews during the Holocaust.

W
E
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Lincoln Center

Conceived in 1955 by the Mayor's Slum Clearance Committee (chaired by Robert Moses) as the enterpiece of efforts to remake the then-impoverished Lincoln Square neighborhood (the West Side of West Side Story). The Center's first president was John D. Rockefeller III; President Dwight Eisenhower broke ground for it in 1959, with its first building, Philharmonic Hall, opening in 1962 as the home of the New York Philharmonic.
Guggenheim Bandshell II

Damrosch Park

Damrosch Park The southwest corner of Lincoln Center is a park named for Walter Damrosch, conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra from 1885-1928, and host of NBC radio's Music Appreciation Hour from 1928-42; he is remembered as a great popularizer of classical music. The park features the Guggenheim Bandshell, dedicated in 1969. Midsummer Night Swing at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center

The park has housed events like the Big Apple Circus and Fashion Week (from 2010-2014), though neighbors complained that such activities deprived the neighborood of its park.
















New York State Theater

New York State Theater An auditorium built in 1964 by the state of New York for the World's Fair, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee; it seats 2,586 people. It's been home since it opened to the New York City Ballet, and the American Ballet Theatre has its fall season here; from 1964-2011 the New York City Opera performed here, as did the Music Theater of Lincoln Center.

Please don't call it the David H. Koch Theater—David Koch is a monster.


S <===     COLUMBUS AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Lincoln Plaza Towers II

44 (corner): Lincoln Plaza Towers, a 30-story building from 1973 noted for its distinctive cylindrical balconies.




















The Allegro

1871 (corner): The Allegro, 27-story apartment building from 1987. From 1989-2009, the 300-seat auditorium in this building was Cineplex Odeon's 62nd & Broadway Cinema. It was NYIT's Auditorium on Broadway from 2008-18; in 2019 it reopened as the New Plaza Cinema. Melissa's Gourmet Deli is on the ground floor.

W
E
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

The Harmony

61 (corner): The Harmony, a 27-story building by Philip Birnbaum from 1978. Actor Jacqueline Bisset and dancer/actor Alexander Godunov have lived here.

It's in the space once occupied by the Colonial Theatre, opened in 1905, playing mostly vaudeville. Silent film legends Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel made their US debut on stage together here in 1910; other performers here included Harry Houdini, Buster Keaton, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and Ethel Barrymore. In the early 1920s it became a venue for African-American musical revues, one of which introduced the Charleston dance craze in 1923.

Starting in 1932, it showed movies as the RKO Colonial; Walter Winchell broadcast his radio show from here in the 1940s. Later it became a TV studio for NBC and later ABC. As the Harkness in 1974, it had a brief rebirth as a legitimate theater before being torn down in 1977. AAA Building

1881 (corner): The AAA office here started out as a Cadillac dealership when this was Automobile Row.


S <===     BROADWAY     ===> N

South:

Corner (1880 Broadway): Was the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind

15 Central Park West

15 Central Park West I

Block (15 CPW): A 2008 limestone-clad building developed by the Zeckendorfs and designed by architect Robert Stern to look pre-war, it immediately became one of the most prestigious addresses in New York City and a template for high-end development. Residents have included Robert De Niro, Sting, Norman Lear, Denzel Washington, Alex Rodriguez, Bob Costas, Kelsey Grammer and Mark Wahlberg. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Citigroup's Sandy Weill are among the many financial moguls who bought in.

Formerly on the site was the Mayflower Hotel, which opened in 1926, designed by Emory Roth. Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio lived here on and off during his first four seasons with the Yankees (1936-39), during which the team won the World Series four times. He kept a suite here after the death of his ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe. 15 Central Park West

The Mayflower was also home to Felix the Cat creator Pat Sullivan and flea circus impressario Max Schaffer. The Bolshoi Ballet was staying here in August 1979 when its star dancer, Alexander Godunov, defected to the United States. Jack Nicholson lived there in the movie Wolf

On this spot on September 27, 1898, Vincent Youmans was born, who wrote the music for "I Want to Be Happy" and "Tea for Two."

W
E
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

1890 Broadway

Corner (1890 Broadway: 30 Lincoln Plaza, also known as 30 W 63rd, is a 33-story apartment building from 1978— designed, like its next-door neighbor up Broadway, by Philip Birnbaum.

From 1981 to 2018, the basement was home to Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, which showcased art house fare, both international (Fellini's City of Women opened the theater ) and domestic (Thin Blue Line and Mulholland Drive both premiered here). The building's owner, who declined to renew the Lincoln Plaza's lease, promises a cinema of some sort will return after renovations.




Century Apartments

25 (block): Century Apartments, a 1931 Art Deco building that has been home to Alexis Smith, Ethel Merman, Algonquin Roundtable playwright Marc Connelly, the Gershwins' mother and Isabella Rossellini, as well as David Dunlap, the NYT's "Building Blocks" columnist.

It was built on the site of the Century Theatre, originally known as the New Theatre, built in 1906 to house a noncommerical repertory theater on the lines of Paris's Comedie Francaise; the WPA Guide called it "New York's most spectacularly unsuccessful theater." Run by Winthrop Ames, this "Temple to Snobbism" mounted only two seasons. As the Century, it was managed for a time by Florence Zeigfield, who opened a nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove, on the roof. The Carrère and Hastings-designed building was demolished in 1931.


S <===     CENTRAL PARK WEST     ===> N

Central Park

Central Park, New York by  Mathew Knott, on Flickr

An 853-acre expanse of green in the middle of Manhattan, it's the most-visited public park in the world, with 25 million visitors annually. Responding to calls from civic leaders like William Cullen Bryant, the city acquired the land in 1853 and held a design contest in 1857, choosing the Greensward Plan of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux (rhymes with "Walks"). After the moving of 3 million tons of earth and the planting of 270,000 trees and shrubs, the park—almost entirely landscaped, despite its naturalistic appearance—opened to visitors in 1859 (though not officially completed until 1873).






Greyshot Arch

Grayshot Arch II

One of the Calvert Vaux's first arch designs, built in 1860. Provides a passageway under the West Drive.

In the movie Cloverfield, the last survivors take shelter here. It's implied that their video camera survives the destruction of Manhattan because it's sheltered by the arch—allowing for the "found footage" to be found.







S <===     WEST DRIVE     ===> N





















































The expansion of the playground destroyed Spur Rock Arch, one of Calvert Vaux's original cast-iron bridges.

Pinebank Arch

Pinebank Arch | Central Park Central Park originally had seven cast-iron bridges; this is one of the five that remain.

Heckscher Playground

Heckscher Playground, Central Park

The oldest and largest playground in the park, it was designated as "Play-Ground" in the orginal Greensward plan--meaning some ground you could play on. In 1927 it was turned into a proper playground, and named by parks commissioner August Heckscher after his grandfather, conveniently also named August Heckscher. The playground underwent a major modernization in 2005—it's cool! Spur Rock

The outcropping to the east of the playground is called Spur Rock— its biggest claim to fame seems to be that The Lovin' Spoonful had themselves photographed for an album cover on top of it. Drip Rock

Drip Rock is a good example of Manhattan schist bedrock with an igneous intrusion. It does in fact drip.











Umpire Rock

Umpire Rock Named for its commanding view of the ballfields, it's also known as Rat Rock for the rodents that formerly swarmed over it. Today it's more likely to be swarmed by (human) rock-climbers. It's a 450 million year old chunk of Manhattan schist, formed during the Ordovician Period when a chain of volcanic islands collided with proto-North America. The grooves on top are much younger, gouged by glacier-borne boulders 18,000 years ago during the last ice age.


S <===     CENTER DRIVE     ===> N

Cop Cot

Central Park-Cop Cot, 11.30.13 A rustic wooden shelter (of sorts--it lacks an actual roof). Not intended as a place for police to sleep, its name means "Hilltop Cottage" in Old English.

Hallett Nature Sanctuary

Central Park-Hallett Nature Sanctuary, 05.06.14 One of the wildest parts of Central Park is less than a hundred yards from 59th Street. Home to raccoons, woodchucks, squirrels and rabbits, its four acres were closed to human visitors from 1934 until 1996, and access is still limited. There's a great view from atop the hill that Olmstead and Vaux called The Promontory

Hallett was a mathematician and an avid bird watcher who led the revision of the city charter that was passed in 1975.

The Pond

The Pond in February

Olmstead and Vaux set this lovely and tranquil artificial lake below street level so as to immediately bring visitors out of the city into a more pastoral experience. It's a favorite stop for ducks, geese, seagulls and other waterfowl. The ducks that Holden Caulfield worries about in Catcher in the Rye are swimming in The Pond.

Overlook Rock

A fun rock to climb with a great view of The Pond. Central Park Rock I







Gapstow Bridge

Central Park A Central Park icon built in 1896 and designed by Howard & Caudwell, replacing the original wood and cast iron bridge. It's a popular location in film and TV, featured in It Should Happen to You, Home Alone 2, The Devil Wears Prada, Cruel Intentions, Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, among others.

Gapstow Bridge


Inscope arch

Calvert Vaux added this underpass going under the East Drive in 1873 to deal with traffic problems in his brand-new park. It also features in the film Home Alone 2.
NYC - Central Park: Inscope Arch

Wollman Rink

Wollman Rink Originally a separate lobe of The Pond, linked by the channel under the Gapstow Bridge, it was turned into a seasonal skatting rink in 1949, financed by the estate of stockbroker William Wollman.

In summertime it was a concert venue, the Wollman Theater; Jean Shepherd hosted a series of jazz concerts in 1957 featuring the likes of Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and the Dave Brubeck Quartet. From 1967 to 1980, concerts here were sponsored by Rheingold, Schaefer and finally Dr. Pepper; acts included Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Bob Marley, Frank Zappa, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Miles Davis etc.

When the rink needed repair in the 1980s, Donald Trump insisted on taking control of the project, promising to donate his profits to charity. Instead, he pockets $9 million a year for operating this rink and one at the north end of the park; the city, which owns the rinks, gets $2 million. It's been suggested that the rink project put Trump on the road to the presidency. Victorian Gardens

In the summer, the rink is the site of Victorian Gardens, an amusement park operated by the managers of Luna Park in Coney Island.


S <===     EAST DRIVE     ===> N

Walk

Wien Walk

Portrait of a Girl by ~W~,  on Flickr Venue of many sketch artists and a few puppeteers or balloon animal makers. There used to be more masseuses.

It's named for Lawrence Wien, a real estate lawyer who once owned the Empire State Building and the Plaza Hotel. He gave millions of dollars to Central Park and other nonprofit causes, particularly Columbia University.





















In 1865, around the time it acquired a trio of Cape buffalo General William Sherman had picked up during his march through Georgia, the menagerie was moved to the Arsenal. Against the opposition of Central Park architects Olmstead and Vaux, permanent enclosures were built on the site of the present Zoo in 1870.














The zoo's best-known resident was Gus the polar bear, whose psycho- logical issues stemming from captivity, and his keepers' efforts to treat his neuroses, made him his species' most famous individual — the subject of books, a play, even a song by The Tragically Hip. He died in 2013, at the advanced age of 27, one of very few bears to get a New York Times obituary. His enclosure now holds grizzly bears, who seem to fare better in captivity.

Other zoo notables include Roy and Silo, a same-sex chinstrap penguin couple. (They have since broken up.) Also on view are sea lions, snow monkeys, red panda and dozens of species in an indoor rainforest. Since 2009, the zoo has been home to three rare snow leopards.

Central Park Zoo

Central Park Zoo by La Citta Vita,  on Flickr

The zoo dates back to the earliest days of the park, when miscellaneous donated animals were displayed near the Mall. It was chartered by the New York Assembly in 1864, making it the second-oldest public zoo in the country (after Philadelphia's), and the oldest zoo in New York. DSC01097  by Fenix_21,  on Flickr

In 1934, new enclosures for the animals were designed by Aymar Embury, who designed hundreds of projects for Robert Moses. Some of his neo-Georgian brick and limestone buildings, arranged in a quadrangle around the sea lion tank, still remain, but the depressing menagerie-style cages were eliminated in a 1988 redesign by Kevin Roche, Dinkeloo, after the New York Zoological Society took over the facility. Lounging polar bear by ericskiff,  on Flickr Central Park Zoo by Alexandra Tinder,  on Flickr

A perfect symbol of wildness captured by civilization, the zoo features in such films as Madagascar, The Day After Tomorrow, Jack Nicholson's Wolf and Woody Allen's Alice; books like Mr. Popper's Penguins and Catcher in the Rye; and the Simon & Garfunkel song "At the Zoo."


S <===     FIFTH AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Knickerbocker Club

Knickerbocker Club

2 (corner): A Georgian revival clubhouse completed in 1915; Delano & Aldrich, architects. The club was founded in 1871 by former members of the Union Club who felt their old club's admission standards were slipping. Franklin Roosevelt, John Jacob Astor and David Rockefeller were members; JP Morgan quit and formed the Metropolitan Club when a friend he had sponsored was blackballed. Marilyn Diane Bower Bradley

There is a plaque here memorial- izing Marilyn Diane Bower Bradley, a woman who was killed along with her twin 11-year-old sons on Halloween night in a highway crash in New Jersey. A lawsuit based on the accident went to the New Jersey supreme court, which ruled that the state could not be held liable. The Curzon House

4-6: Curzon House was originally built in 1880 and redesigned in 1898 by Clinton & Russell. In 1985 it was combined with its neighbor at No. 6, a Welch, Smith & Provot townhouse from 1901. (The two buildings had earlier served as a clubhouse for the York Club.) In the late 1990s, Maya Lin (of Vietnam Memorial fame) remodeled an apartment here for software magnate Peter Norton. 8-10 East 62nd Street

8: A 1903 Beaux-Arts mansion, designed by the artchitect of Grant's Tomb, featured in the film Someone to Watch Over Me. Developer Keith Rubenstein was asking $80 million for it in 2017.

10: This townhouse was originally the Edmund L. Baylies House, built for Cornelius Vanderbilt's lawyer.

Carlton House

Carlton House

Corner (680 Madison): Built in 1951, this was for many years the Helmsley Carlton House, a luxury hotel. In 2010 it was bought from the estate of Leona Helmsley for conversion to luxury residences.

E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

Corner (810 5th Ave): Nelson Rockefeller and his first wife Mary moved here in 1931 and were living here when he became governor in 1958. He moved out in 1961 when he fell in love 810 Fifth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr with Margaretta "Happy" Murphy, who would become his second wife. Richard Nixon moved here in 1963 after losing his bid to be governor of California and declaring that we wouldn't have Nixon to kick around anymore. He moved from here to the White House after winning the election of 1968. 1 East 62nd Street

1: A 1903 mansion designed in neo-French Classic style by Horace Trumbauer, architect of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ernest Hemingway lived on the fourth floor here late in his life, from 1959-60, where he wrote his memoir A Movable Feast (NNY). Joan Rivers moved into the penthouse here in 1988; after her death it was sold to Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Fahd. It's said to be haunted by a ghost named Mrs. Spencer. Fifth Avenue Synagogue Menorah

5: The Orthodox Fifth Avenue Synagogue was founded in 1958 by former members of Congregation Zichron Ephraim (including novelist Herman Wouk) who objected to men and women sitting together during services. The modernist design by Percival Goodman is criticized in Hannah & Her Sisters as incongruous with the rest of the block. 11 West 62nd Street

11: Built in 1901 for Edith Shepard (a great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt), who lived here until 1912. From 1943-1997 it housed the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation, named for the pioneer of aptitude testing. When it was bought by Japan in 1997 to be its mission to the UN, the $21 million price tag was a record for a townhouse sale (NNY).

21: Amaranth, French/Italian opened 1999. Built in 1871 by D&J Jardine, this brownstone is the only one of the first houses built on the block to retain its original facade. 690-696 Madison Avenue

Corner (690 Madison): Hermes has another store, for men's wear, on this corner. Was Luca Luca, fashion boutique. The building is c. 1900.


S <===     MADISON AVENUE     ===> N

South:

30 (corner) : Cumberland House, also known as 687 Madison, a 16-story co-op from 1958. Bally is on the ground floor; formerly Anne Fontaine Paris boutique.

Formerly on the corner, at 689 Madison, was a house that Theodore Roosevelt lived in from 1895-97 when he was New York City's police commissioner. It was demolished in 1955 (NNY).

34: Vincent Astor, who as a college student inherited $87 million when his father went down on the Titanic, in 1926 rented an apartment in a townhouse at this address. Known as The Room, it served as HQ for a private intelligence operation that reported to FDR--a friend of Astor's--after he became president in 1933. Members of the spy club included Kermit Roosevelt, Marshall Field III, banker Winthrop Aldrich, publisher Nelson Doubleday and naturalist Suydam Cutting.

On July 10, 2006, a gas explosion leveled the townhouse -- apparently caused by owner Nicholas Bartha, who was fatally wounded in the blast. He had been ordered to sell the building and split the proceeds with his ex-wife. The current townhouse on the site dates to 2017, though it attempts to fit in with its much older neighbors.

The Links

Links Club

36: This golf-themed club was established in 1917, by noted golf course designer Charles Macdonald, in this Georgian Revival clubhouse drafted by Cross & Cross. It's been called "the most powerful club in the world"--its members included, in 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower, Gov. Thomas Dewey, Sen. Prescott Bush, Henry Luce and the heads of US Steel, ITT, AT&T, Westinghouse, Texaco, Monsanto, Boeing, Gulf, IBM, General Foods, Chase Manhattan, Chemical Bank, City Bank, American Express, New York Life, etc. 40 East 62nd Street

40: A 1911 neo-Medieval apartment building designed by Alfred Joseph Bodker, complete with a row of griffons on the facade. Plaza Hotel architect Henry Hardenbergh was an early tenant; he died here in 1918. Another resident was Henry Fairfield Osborne, the paleontologist who named Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor; he was president of the American Museum of Natural History from 1908-33, and of the New York Zoological Society from 1909-25.

Browning School

52: Founded in 1888, this elite K-12 boys' school has been here since 1922. Alums include VP candidate Sargent Shriver, Sen. Claiborne Pell, Cookie Monster creator Jeff Moss, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, NYT publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. "Preppy Killer" Robert Chambers was expelled from the school. 550 Park Avenue Askew by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (550 Park): A 17-story apartment building from 1917, designed by J.E.R. Carpenter (who was among the first residents). Comedian Danny Kaye lived here in the 1940s. Earlier on this site was the Yosemite, a seven-story 1891 co-op designed by McKim, Mead & White for the New York Life Insurance Company. Before that there was Holbrook Hall, an apartment building destroyed by fire.

E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

691 Madison

Corner (691 Madison): Originally built in 1928 to house a Louis Sherry shop selling delicacies like caviar and fois gras. (Restaurateur Sherry had died in 1926.) The design was by McKim, Mead & White, but the AIA Guide called it a "neo-Classical/Art Deco ho-hum candy box," and thought it much improved by a 1986 Beyer Binder Belle redesign that turned it into a flagship for The Limited clothing chain. In 2000 it was bought by Hermès, which put a statue of a French soldier on a horse on the roof.

27: Fleming, French restaurant backed by billionaire Ronald Perelman, opened in 2018 and named for the defunct bilingual school.







35 East 62nd Street

35: Built in 1905 as Miss Keller’s School--which was open to both girls and boys. Designed by headmistress Eleanor Keller's uncle, George Keller. In 1911, the building was bought by the Studio Club of New York, providing housing for young female artists and musicians. From 1928 it was the Central Synagogue Community House, which housed a School for Adult Jewish Education. In 1956 the French/English Fleming School was founded here, which sold the building in 1989 and closed a couple of years later. Revlon bought it, restored it and turned it into offices.





























Colony Club

Colony Club by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (564 Park): A high-society women's club founded in 1903 with membership roster stocked with Morgans, Astors and Harrimans. The clubhouse here was completed in 1916 to a Delano & Aldrich design, and decorated inside by Elsie de Wolfe.


S <===     PARK AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Corner (555 Park): A 12-story co-op from 1914; Barbara Walters has lived here.




















132-134 East 62nd Street

132: An Italianate brownstone built in 1871 by architect John Sexton. Random House founder Bennett Cerf lived here from 1941 until his 1971 death. His wife, Phyllis Fraser Cerf, was Dr. Seuss's editor; in 1975, she married former New York Mayor Robert Wagner, who lived with her here until he died in 1991. Phyllis was still living here at the time of her 2006 death.














802 Lexington

Corner (802 Lexington): 1910 building houses Smiley's deli

E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

563 Park Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (563 Park): Built in 1910, this 13-floor red-brick building was considered the first luxury apartment building on Park Avenue. The apartments facing the avenue are all duplexes, as suggested by the banded facade. Author John Irving has been a resident here.

111: The neo-Grecian brownstones from here to 129 were built in 1873-74. Woman With Necklace

115: Keystone features a striking woman with necklace.

121: The Consulate General of Bulgaria 123-125 East 62nd Street

123: Ray Bolger lived here c. 1939-43, after playing the Scarecrow in Wizard of OZ. (NNY)

125: Humor columnist Don Marquis — best remembered as the creator of the literary cockroach Archy — lived here in the 1920s. He rented an apartment on the second floor to Ethel Barrymore in 1929; she skeipped out on several months' rent. (NNY)

129: Charles Evans Hughes lived here in 1888-89 as a 26-year-old lawyer; he went on to be New York governor, a Republican presidential candidate and a Supreme Court justice. (NNY)

135: David Burke Tavern, steakhouse of a celebrity chef who has had two previous restaurants in the same space: Fishtail and Tavern62.

137: CoolMess, make your own ice cream Burger Heaven

Corner (804 Lex): Burger Heav- en, local mini-chain that's been around since 1943.


S <===     LEXINGTON AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Corner (801 Lexington): Ji Li Tui Na Center (Chinese massage)


Elite Barber

134 1/2: Elite Barbers, since 1991 ("All About Quality"); Birch Coffee














Met Church

148-150: The neo-Gothic Metropolitan Koryo United Methodist Church, known as the Met Church, was built in 1938 and opened as the Swedish Methodist Church; the bishop of Stockholm gave the opening sermon.







Trump Plaza

Trump Plaza

167 (corner): A 36-story co-op building developed in 1984 by Donald Trump. Phyllis George, Dick Clark and Martina Navratilova were among its early residents. The Upper East Cafe is on this corner.

E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

Sunshine Flowers

Corner (803 Lexington): Sunshine Flowers is in a 1910 building.

143: Tender Buttons claims to be the only store in the US devoted entirely to buttons. It's been around since 1964, when Diane Epstein, an editor for Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia, bought a defunct button shop as a lark. It's been at this address since 1965. Rock Church

153: Rock Church, Pentecostal. Pastor Daniel Iampaglia was arrested in 2015, charged with stealing from the poor box; charges were dropped the next year with Iampaglia maintaining that he was merely taking petty cash for church repairs.

165: From 1982 to 2015, this address was owned by actor Brooke Shields. She had purchased it from George Barrie, the owner of Faberge cosmetics, creator of Brut cologne and the co-writer (with Sammy Cahn) of two Oscar-nominated songs--who had lived there since 1966.

There was a plan to tear down this and No. 163 and replace them with a 10-story condo. 171 East 62nd Street

171: Built in 1871 and almost immediately nearly burned down in an arson-for-profit scheme. It was remodeled in 1916 and given its current Colonial Revival facade. In the early 1960s it was home to actor Joseph Schildkraut, best remembered as the father in The Diary of Anne Frank; he died here on January 31, 1964.

175 (corner): The Victorian, 21-story co-op from 1960.


S <===     3RD AVENUE     ===> N

South:

200 (corner): A 30-story apartment tower built in 1967. It was spiffed up and condoized in 2015.

Treadwell Farm Historic District

Treadwell Farm Historic District

Designated in 1967, making it one of the city's first historic districts. Commemor- ates the former farm of Adam Treadwell, brother of Seabury Tredwell, the merchant of the Merchant's House Museum. Adam, a fur merchant, bought the farm (with a partner) in 1815; his daughter Elizabeth divided it up for development in 1854. Most of the district's brownstones were built from 1868-76.

208: The beginning of the historic district. 230-232 East 62nd Street

230: This 1868 townhouse was home to actor Tallulah Bankhead from 1956-62. She sold it to A&P heir Huntington Hartford. (NNY)

232: Author Tom Wolfe lived here from the late 1970s until 1990, where he wrote Bonfire of the Vanities.









246: The last building in the historic district.





















Corner (1175 2nd Ave): Eastside Hardware

E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

201 (corner): Writer Rona Jaffe, author of the anti-D&D novel Mazes & Monsters, lived in the 19-story red-brick co-op, built in 1963. (SW)

207: The first building of the historic district. 211 East 62nd Street

211: This 1873 townhouse was home to Eleanor Roosevelt from 1953-58; here she played host to Indira Gandhi, John F. Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson. (NNY)

229: Comedian David Brenner, the Tonight show's most frequent guest in the 1970s and '80s, lived here. (SW)

231: After fleeing Nazi Germany, composer Kurt Weill and his stage star wife Lotte Lenya lived here from 1937-41. (NNY) Our Lady of Peace

239: This Victorian Gothic church building was completed in 1887, designed by Samuel Warner, architect of the Marble Collegiate Church. It originally housed the Church of the Redeemer, a German-speaking Presbyterian congregation. It became the Bethleham Lutheran Church then the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew before being sold in 1913 to the Christian Hungarian Sick Benevolent Society. In 1919 it was bought by the newly formed Madonna Della Pace Italian Catholic parish, soon anglicized as Our Lady of Peace, which lasted nearly a century before being closed in a 2015 parish consolidation; since 2017 it's been leased to the St. Mary & St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church. Lion With Ribbon

245-247: The last building in the historic district features charming carved lions.

249: A 32-story condo designed by Rafael Vinoly is proposed for this address; a rendering depicts a building in the style of the Jetsons, with a 150-foot octagonal pillar boosting the structure's height to 510 feet, taking advantage of the fact that "height" limites are based on floors and not actual height. Neighbors are trying to block this latest expression of the "buildings on stilts" trend. 253 East 62nd Street







253 (corner): I rather like this eight-story building by Z Architecture, finished in 2018.


S <===     2ND AVENUE     ===> N

South:

300 (corner): The Paladin, 29-story tower from 1985.

304: C. 1910.







E

6
2
N
D

North:

301 (corner): Fourteen stories of brown brick from 1959.










S <===     QUEENSBORO BRIDGE ONRAMP     ===> N

South:








342:




350 (corner): Beekman Condominium. On the ground floor is Treadwell Park, gastropub mini-chain named for the Treadwell Farm Historic District a block to the west.

E

6
2
N
D

S
T

North:

329 (corner): Karen Horney Clinic, psychoanalytic institute founded in 1955. Its namesake was a pioneer in feminist psychoanalysis.

349:

351: Il Vagabondo, Italian

Ritz Diner

Corner (1133 1st Ave): Ritz Diner, open 24 hours. The exterior was used as the Island Diner in the CBS TV show Rules of Engagement.


S <===     1ST AVENUE     ===> N

South:

CMX CineBistro

400 (corner): CMX CinéBistro, the New York location of a dinner-and-movie chain.









440: Park Sutton, 19 floors from 1961

E

6
2
N
D

North:

1130 First Avenue

Corner (1130 1st Ave): Space Market is in a c. 1900 tenement.

401: Anatolia, Mediterranean

403: Le Domaine, 19-floor condo from 1985




S <===     YORK AVENUE     ===> N

South:

500 (corner): The Bentley Hotel, noted for its spectacular views of the East River.






510 (corner): The Animal Medical Center

E

6
2
N
D

North:

Block (500 E 63rd): Rockefeller University's Faculty House, a 26-story apartment building completed in 1974. The university was founded in 1901 by John D. Rockefeller Sr.







S <===     FDR DRIVE     ===> N

Andrew Haswell Green Park

This four-block-long riverfront park honors probably the most important New Yorker most New Yorkers have never heard of. Green proposed uniting the five boroughs into one city in 1868, and was president of the Consolidation Inquiry Committee that finally achieved that goal in 1898.

As president of the Central Park Board of Commissioners from 1857 until 1871, he was a key voice in selecting Olmstead and Vaux's Greensward Plan and realizing the designers' vision. He also pushed for creating Riverside, Morningside and Fort Washington parks.

He helped found the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx and Central Park zoos. He was an early voice for historical preservation and helped save City Hall.

Despite being arguably the most influential leader in New York City's history, he's virtually unknown today; it's a sad irony that he was murdered in 1903--by a killer who mistook him for somebody else.



East River

Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge and Midtown Manhattan at Night, NYC by andrew c mace, on Flickr Roosevelt Island & UES - NYC (4-26-06) by hotdogger13, on Flickr

Not actually a river, but a tidal estuary connecting New York Harbor with Long Island Sound. Legend has it that mobster Dutch Schultz put his associate Bo Weinberg in a set of cement overshoes and dumped him in the East River--the origin of the popular stereotype.








What am I missing on 62nd Street? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell me about it.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

NYSonglines' Facebook Fan Page. Please like us!

Share

62nd Street: A New York Songline

New York Songlines: 62nd Street

Riverside Blvd | West End | Riverside | Freedom Pl | Amsterdam | Columbus | Broadway | Central Park W | 5th Ave | Madison | Park | Lexington | 3rd Ave | 2nd Ave | 1st Ave | York





HUDSON RIVER

Riverside Park South, New York City by Emilio Santacoloma, on Flickr It was called the Muhhekunnetuk by the Mahicans, meaning the River That Flows Both Ways--a reference to its formal status as an estuary or fjord, a glacier-carved branch of the sea with salt water as high as Newburgh and tides all the way up to Troy. Originally known by the Dutch as the North River--as opposed to the South River, now called the Delaware--its current name honors Henry Hudson, the English explorer who sailed up it in 1609. He's also the namesake of Hudson Bay, where mutinous crewmen left him to his presumed death.



Riverside Park South

This new green space on the Hudson was created on part of the site of New York Central's 60th Street Rail Yard, which stretched from 59th to 72nd streets, serving as a transfer facility for rail cars brought across the river by ferry--Manhattan then as now being unequipped with a rail bridge or tunnel that can handle freight traffic. After New York Central became Penn Central, it was known as the Penn Yards; with the collapse of the rail industry, it was abandoned in 1976. Riverside Park South, Memorial Day weekend 2010 - 10 by Ed Yourdon, on Flickr

As early as 1962, there was talk about turning it into a real-estate development--originally in partnership with the Amalgamated Lithographers Union, to be called Litho City. Developer Abe Hirschfield was involved with a plan for the yards called Lincoln West that fell through in the early '80s. Donald Trump took over the project in 1985 with a plan called Television City (later Trump City), which would include studio space for NBC and a 152-story tower designed by Helmut Jahn.

Facing strong community resistance and financial troubles, Trump adopted an alternative scaled-back proposal called Riverside South that added 23 acres of green space to Riverside Park--creating an annex called Riverside Park South.


S <===     WESTSIDE HIGHWAY     ===> N

Officially renamed the Joe DiMaggio highway by baseball-obsessed Mayor Giuliani. Between 1929 and 1951, an elevated highway was built here; it was closed in 1973 for safety reasons and finally torn down in 1989.







S <===     RIVERSIDE BLVD     ===> N

South:

One Riverside Park

Corner (50 Riverside Blvd): One Riverside Park, a 33-story building from 2015 with a glass-and-stone base that's been compared to a Tetris game. Notorious for forcing its affordable-housing tenants to use a separate "poor door."



The Collegiate School

Collegiate School Building

Corner (301 Freedom Place South): This private boys' prep school claims to be the oldest school in the United States, tracing its origins back to 1628 efforts by the Dutch Reformed Church to catechize Native American children. It's been here since 2018. Alumni include Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Peter Bogdanovich, David Duchovny, John F. Kennedy Jr., Bill Kristol, Cesar Romero, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. and Whit Stillman.

W
E
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

The Alwyn

Corner (60 Riverside Blvd): The Aldyn, 40-story condo from 2008.
















The Ashley

Corner (400 W 63rd): The Ashley, 23-story apartment building from 2010.


S <===     FREEDOM PLACE SOUTH     ===> N

Freedom Place Park There's a little plaza that interrupts West 62nd Street here. Not sure if it has a name or not.



South:






55 West End Avenue

Corner (55 West End Ave): West End Towers

W

6
2
N
D

S
T

North:






West End Towers

Corner (75 West End): West End Towers, 39-story twin-towered apartment building from 1994. Western Beef is on the ground floor


S <===     WEST END AVENUE     ===> N

Amsterdam Houses

Amsterdam Houses Amsterdam Houses Courtyard

Some 2,300 people live in more than a thousand apartments in this NYCHA complex built in 1948 (with an 175-unit expansion in 1974). Actor Erik Estrada grew up here.


S <===     AMSTERDAM AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Fordham University

Fordham University

A Jesuit university founded in 1841, it's the third-oldest college in New York City, after Columbia and NYU. Originally called St. John's University, it took its current name in 1907 after the village of Fordham where its orginal campus was and is still located. The Lincoln Center campus opened in 1961 as part of the Lincoln Square Renewal Project.

Famous alumni include Gov. Andrew Cuomo; CIA directors William Casey and John Brennan; actors Alan Alda, Denzel Washington and Raul Julia; magician David Copperfield; football coach Vince Lombardi; and musician Lana del Rey. Donald Trump went to Fordham for two years.

Fordham Law School

Fordham Law School

150: Founded in 1905, the Fordham Law School counts among its alums vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, US Rep. Jerry Nadler, New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, Law School Entrance journalist Christopher Cuomo, and Watergate felons John Mitchell and G. Gordon Liddy. It's also a popular school for fictional lawyers, including Michael Clayton (played by George Clooney) and Michael J. Fox's character on Spin City. The current building dates to 2014.

148: At this address from 1914 was the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, which moved to 119th Street in 1926.

140 (corner): This building, which houses Fordham's Quinn Library and Gabelli School of Business, Fordham Library as well as a student center, was built in 1961, the first part of the Lincoln Center Campus; Robert F. Kennedy spoke at its dedication here. It was renovated and repurposed in 2016 after the new law building opened directly to the west. Moses




The abstract sculpture of Moses here is dedicated to Catholics who protected Jews during the Holocaust.

W
E
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Lincoln Center

Conceived in 1955 by the Mayor's Slum Clearance Committee (chaired by Robert Moses) as the enterpiece of efforts to remake the then-impoverished Lincoln Square neighborhood (the West Side of West Side Story). The Center's first president was John D. Rockefeller III; President Dwight Eisenhower broke ground for it in 1959, with its first building, Philharmonic Hall, opening in 1962 as the home of the New York Philharmonic.

Damrosch Park

Damrosch Park The southwest corner of Lincoln Center is a park named for Walter Damrosch, conductor of the New York Symphony Orchestra from 1885-1928, and host of NBC radio's Music Appreciation Hour from 1928-42; he is remembered as a great popularizer of classical music. The park features the Guggenheim Bandshell, dedicated in 1969. Midsummer Night Swing at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center

The park has housed events like the Big Apple Circus and Fashion Week (from 2010-2014), though neighbors complained that such activities deprived the neighborood of its park.















New York State Theater

New York State Theater An auditorium built in 1964 by the state of New York for the World's Fair, designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee; it seats 2,586 people. It's been home since it opened to the New York City Ballet, and the American Ballet Theatre has its fall season here; from 1964-2011 the New York City Opera performed here, as did the Music Theater of Lincoln Center.

Please don't call it the David H. Koch Theater--David Koch is a monster.


S <===     COLUMBUS AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Lincoln Plaza Towers II

44 (corner): Lincoln Plaza Towers, a 30-story building from 1973 noted for its distinctive cylindrical balconies.




















The Allegro

1871 (corner): The Allegro, 27-story apartment building from 1987. From 1989-2009, the 300-seat auditorium in this building was Cineplex Odeon's 62nd & Broadway Cinema. It was NYIT's Auditorium on Broadway from 2008-18; in 2019 it reopened as the New Plaza Cinema. Melissa's Gourmet Deli is on the ground floor.

W
E
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

The Harmony

61 (corner): The Harmony, a 27-story building by Philip Birnbaum from 1978. Actor Jacqueline Bisset and dancer/actor Alexander Godunov have lived here.

It's in the space once occupied by the Colonial Theatre, opened in 1905, playing mostly vaudeville. Silent film legends Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel made their US debut on stage together here in 1910; other performers here included Harry Houdini, Buster Keaton, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and Ethel Barrymore. In the early 1920s it became a venue for African-American musical revues, one of which introduced the Charleston dance craze in 1923.

Starting in 1932, it showed movies as the RKO Colonial; Walter Winchell broadcast his radio show from here in the 1940s. Later it became a TV studio for NBC and later ABC. As the Harkness in 1974, it had a brief rebirth as a legitimate theater before being torn down in 1977. AAA Building

1881 (corner): The AAA office here started out as a Cadillace dealership when this was Automobile Row.


S <===     BROADWAY     ===> N

South:

Corner (1880 Broadway): Was the New York Guild for the Jewish Blind

15 Central Park West

15 Central Park West I

Block (15 CPW): A 2008 limestone-clad building developed by the Zeckendorfs and designed by architect Robert Stern to look pre-war, it immediately became one of the most prestigious addresses in New York City and a template for high-end development. Residents have included Robert De Niro, Sting, Norman Lear, Denzel Washington, Alex Rodriguez, Bob Costas, Kelsey Grammer and Mark Wahlberg. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Citigroup's Sandy Weill are among the many financial moguls who bought in.

Formerly on the site was the Mayflower Hotel, which opened in 1926, designed by Emory Roth. Baseball legend Joe DiMaggio lived here on and off during his first four seasons with the Yankees (1936-39), during which the team won the World Series four times. He kept a suite here after the death of his ex-wife, Marilyn Monroe. 15 Central Park West

The Mayflower was also home to Felix the Cat creator Pat Sullivan and flea circus impressario Max Schaffer. The Bolshoi Ballet was staying here in August 1979 when its star dancer, Alexander Godunov, defected to the United States. Jack Nicholson lived there in the movie Wolf

On this spot on September 27, 1898, Vincent Youmans was born, who wrote the music for "I Want to Be Happy" and "Tea for Two."

W
E
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
R
E
E
T

North:

1890 Broadway

1890 (block): 30 Lincoln Plaza, also known as 30 W 63rd, is a 33-story apartment building from 1978-- designed, like its next-door neighbor up Broadway, by Philip Birnbaum.

From 1981 to 2018, the basement was home to Lincoln Plaza Cinemas, which showcased art house fare, both international (Fellini's City of Women opened the theater ) and domestic (Thin Blue Line and Mulholland Drive both premiered here). The building's owner, who declined to renew the Lincoln Plaza's lease, promises a cinema of some sort will return after renovations.




Century Apartments

25 (block): Century Apartments, a 1931 Art Deco building that has been home to Alexis Smith, Ethel Merman, Algonquin Roundtable playwright Marc Connelly, the Gershwins' mother and Isabella Rossellini, as well as David Dunlap, the NYT's "Building Blocks" columnist.

It was built on the site of the Century Theatre, originally known as the New Theatre, built in 1906 to house a noncommerical repertory theater on the lines of Paris's Comedie Francaise; the WPA Guide called it "New York's most spectacularly unsuccessful theater." Run by Winthrop Ames, this "Temple to Snobbism" mounted only two seasons. As the Century, it was managed for a time by Florence Zeigfield, who opened a nightclub, the Cocoanut Grove, on the roof. The Carrère and Hastings-designed building was demolished in 1931.


S <===     CENTRAL PARK WEST     ===> N

Central Park

Central Park, New York by  Mathew Knott, on Flickr

An 853-acre expanse of green in the middle of Manhattan, it's the most-visited public park in the world, with 25 million visitors annually. Responding to calls from civic leaders like William Cullen Bryant, the city acquired the land in 1853 and held a design contest in 1857, choosing the Greensward Plan of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux (rhymes with "Walks"). After the moving of 3 million tons of earth and the planting of 270,000 trees and shrubs, the park--almost entirely landscaped, despite its naturalistic appearance--opened to visitors in 1859 (though not officially completed until 1873).






Greyshot Arch

One of the Calvert Vaux's first arch designs, built in 1860. Provides a passageway under the West Drive.

In the movie Cloverfield, the last survivors take shelter here. It's implied that their video camera survives the destruction of Manhattan because it's sheltered by the arch-- allowing for the "found footage" to be found.







S <===     WEST DRIVE     ===> N

































The expansion of the playground destroyed Spur Rock Arch, one of Calvert Vaux's original cast-iron bridges.

Pinebank Arch

Pinebank Arch | Central Park Central Park originally had seven cast-iron bridges; this is one of the five that remain.

Heckscher Playground

The oldest and largest playground in the park, it was designated as "Play-Ground" in the orginal Greensward plan--meaning some ground you could play on. In 1927 it was turned into a proper playground, and named by parks commissioner August Heckscher after his grandfather, conveniently also named August Heckscher. The playground underwent a major modernization in 2005--it's cool!

The outcropping to the east of the playground is called Spur Rock-- its biggest claim to fame seems to be that The Lovin' Spoonful had themselves photographed for an album cover on top of it.

Drip Rock is a good example of Manhattan schist bedrock with an igneous intrusion.











Umpire Rock

Umpire Rock Named for its commanding view of the ballfields, it's also known as Rat Rock for the rodents that formerly swarmed over it. Today it's more likely to be swarmed by (human) rock-climbers. It's a 450 million year old chunk of Manhattan schist, formed during the Ordovician Period when a chain of volcanic islands collided with proto-North America. The grooves on top are much younger, gouged by glacier-borne boulders 18,000 years ago during the last ice age.


S <===     CENTER DRIVE     ===> N

Cop Cot

A rustic wooden shelter (of sorts--it lacks an actual roof). Not intended as a place for police to sleep, its name means "Hilltop Cottage" in Old English.

Hallett Nature Sanctuary

One of the wildest parts of Central Park is less than a hundred yards from 59th Street. Home to raccoons, woodchucks, squirrels and rabbits, its four acres were closed to human visitors from 1934 until 1996, and access is still limited. There's a great view from atop the hill that Olmstead and Vaux called The Promontory

Hallett was a mathematician and an avid bird watcher who led the revision of the city charter that was passed in 1975.

The Pond

Olmstead and Vaux set this lovely and tranquil artificial lake below street level so as to immediately bring visitors out of the city into a more pastoral experience. It's a favorite stop for ducks, geese, seagulls and other waterfowl. The ducks that Holden Caulfield worries about in Catcher in the Rye are swimming in The Pond.

Overlook Rock

A fun rock to climb with a great view of The Pond. Central Park Rock I







Gapstow Bridge

A Central Park icon built in 1896 and designed by Howard & Caudwell, replacing the original wood and cast iron bridge. It's a popular location in film and TV, featured in It Should Happen to You, Home Alone 2, The Devil Wears Prada, Cruel Intentions, Sex and the City and Gossip Girl, among others.

Gapstow Bridge


Inscope arch

Calvert Vaux added this underpass going under the East Drive in 1873 to deal with traffic problems in his brand-new park. It also features in the film Home Alone 2.
NYC - Central Park: Inscope Arch

Wollman Rink

Originally a separate lobe of The Pond, linked by the channel under the Gapstow Bridge, it was turned into a seasonal skatting rink in 1949, financed by the estate of stockbroker William Wollman.

In summertime it was a concert venue, the Wollman Theater; Jean Shepherd hosted a series of jazz concerts in 1957 featuring the likes of Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton and the Dave Brubeck Quartet. From 1967 to 1980, concerts here were sponsored by Rheingold, Schaefer and finally Dr. Pepper; acts included Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Bob Marley, Frank Zappa, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Miles Davis etc.





S <===     EAST DRIVE     ===> N

Walk

Wien Walk

Portrait of a Girl by ~W~,  on Flickr Venue of many sketch artists and a few puppeteers or balloon animal makers. There used to be more masseuses.

It's named for Lawrence Wien, a real estate lawyer who once owned the Empire State Building and the Plaza Hotel. He gave millions of dollars to Central Park and other nonprofit causes, particularly Columbia University.





















In 1865, around the time it acquired a trio of Cape buffalo General William Sherman had picked up during his march through Georgia, the menagerie was moved to the Arsenal. Against the opposition of Central Park architects Olmstead and Vaux, permanent enclosures were built on the site of the present Zoo in 1870.














The zoo's best-known resident was Gus the polar bear, whose psycho- logical issues stemming from captivity, and his keepers' efforts to treat his neuroses, made him his species' most famous individual--the subject of books, a play, even a song by The Tragically Hip. He died in 2013, at the advanced age of 27, one of very few bears to get a New York Times obituary. His enclosure now holds grizzly bears, who seem to fare better in captivity.

Other zoo notables include Roy and Silo, a same-sex chinstrap penguin couple. (They have since broken up.) Also on view are sea lions, snow monkeys, red panda and dozens of species in an indoor rainforest. Since 2009, the zoo has been home to three rare snow leopards.

Central Park Zoo

Central Park Zoo by La Citta Vita,  on Flickr

The zoo dates back to the earliest days of the park, when miscellaneous donated animals were displayed near the Mall. It was chartered by the New York Assembly in 1864, making it the second-oldest public zoo in the country (after Philadelphia's), and the oldest zoo in New York. DSC01097  by Fenix_21,  on Flickr

In 1934, new enclosures for the animals were designed by Aymar Embury, who designed hundreds of projects for Robert Moses. Some of his neo-Georgian brick and limestone buildings, arranged in a quadrangle around the sea lion tank, still remain, but the depressing menagerie-style cages were eliminated in a 1988 redesign by Kevin Roche, Dinkeloo, after the New York Zoological Society took over the facility. Lounging polar bear by ericskiff,  on Flickr Central Park Zoo by Alexandra Tinder,  on Flickr

A perfect symbol of wildness captured by civilization, the zoo features in such films as Madagascar, The Day After Tomorrow, Jack Nicholson's Wolf and Woody Allen's Alice; books like Mr. Popper's Penguins and Catcher in the Rye; and the Simon & Garfunkel song "At the Zoo."


S <===     FIFTH AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Knickerbocker Club

Knickerbocker Club

2 (corner): A Georgian revival clubhouse completed in 1915; Delano & Aldrich, architects. The club was founded in 1871 by former members of the Union Club who felt their old club's admission standards were slipping. Franklin Roosevelt, John Jacob Astor and David Rockefeller were members; JP Morgan quit and formed the Metropolitan Club when a friend he had sponsored was blackballed. Marilyn Diane Bower Bradley

There is a plaque here memorial- izing Marilyn Diane Bower Bradley, a woman who was killed along with her twin 11-year-old sons on Halloween night in a highway crash in New Jersey. A lawsuit based on the accident went to the New Jersey supreme court, which ruled that the state could not be held liable. The Curzon House

4-6: Curzon House was originally built in 1880 and redesigned in 1898 by Clinton & Russell. In 1985 it was combined with its neighbor at No. 6, a Welch, Smith & Provot townhouse from 1901. (The two buildings had earlier served as a clubhouse for the York Club.) In the late 1990s, Maya Lin (of Vietnam Memorial fame) remodeled an apartment here for software magnate Peter Norton. 8-10 East 62nd Street

8: A 1903 Beaux-Arts mansion, designed by the artchitect of Grant's Tomb, featured in the film Someone to Watch Over Me. Developer Keith Rubenstein was asking $80 million for it in 2017.

10: This townhouse was originally the Edmund L. Baylies House, built for Cornelius Vanderbilt's lawyer.

Carlton House

Carlton House

Corner (680 Madison): Built in 1951, this was for many years the Helmsley Carlton House, a luxury hotel. In 2010 it was bought from the estate of Leona Helmsley for conversion to luxury residences.

E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

Corner (810 5th Ave): Nelson Rockefeller and his first wife Mary moved here in 1931 and were living here when he became governor in 1958. He moved out in 1961 when he fell in love 810 Fifth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr with Margaretta "Happy" Murphy, who would become his second wife. Richard Nixon moved here in 1963 after losing his bid to be governor of California and declaring that we wouldn't have Nixon to kick around anymore. He moved from here to the White House after winning the election of 1968. 1 East 62nd Street

1: A 1903 mansion designed in neo-French Classic style by Horace Trumbauer, architect of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Ernest Hemingway lived on the fourth floor here late in his life, from 1959-60, where he wrote his memoir A Movable Feast (NNY). Joan Rivers moved into the penthouse here in 1988; after her death it was sold to Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Fahd. It's said to be haunted by a ghost named Mrs. Spencer. Fifth Avenue Synagogue Menorah

5: The Orthodox Fifth Avenue Synagogue was founded in 1958 by former members of Congregation Zichron Ephraim (including novelist Herman Wouk) who objected to men and women sitting together during services. The modernist design by Percival Goodman is criticized in Hannah & Her Sisters as incongruous with the rest of the block. 11 West 62nd Street

11: Built in 1901 for Edith Shepard (a great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt), who lived here until 1912. From 1943-1997 it housed the Johnson O'Connor Research Foundation, named for the pioneer of aptitude testing. When it was bought by Japan in 1997 to be its mission to the UN, the $21 million price tag was a record for a townhouse sale (NNY).

21: Amaranth, French/Italian opened 1999. Built in 1871 by D&J Jardine, this brownstone is the only one of the first houses built on the block to retain its original facade. 690-696 Madison Avenue

Corner (690 Madison): Hermes has another store, for men's wear, on this corner. Was Luca Luca, fashion boutique. The building is c. 1900.


S <===     MADISON AVENUE     ===> N

South:

30 (corner) : Cumberland House, also known as 687 Madison, a 16-story co-op from 1958. Bally is on the ground floor; formerly Anne Fontaine Paris boutique.

Formerly on the corner, at 689 Madison, was a house that Theodore Roosevelt lived in from 1895-97 when he was New York City's police commissioner. It was demolished in 1955 (NNY).

34: Vincent Astor, who as a college student inherited $87 million when his father went down on the Titanic, in 1926 rented an apartment in a townhouse at this address. Known as The Room, it served as HQ for a private intelligence operation that reported to FDR--a friend of Astor's--after he became president in 1933. Members of the spy club included Kermit Roosevelt, Marshall Field III, banker Winthrop Aldrich, publisher Nelson Doubleday and naturalist Suydam Cutting.

On July 10, 2006, a gas explosion leveled the townhouse -- apparently caused by owner Nicholas Bartha, who was fatally wounded in the blast. He had been ordered to sell the building and split the proceeds with his ex-wife. The current townhouse on the site dates to 2017, though it attempts to fit in with its much older neighbors.

The Links

Links Club

36: This golf-themed club was established in 1917, by noted golf course designer Charles Macdonald, in this Georgian Revival clubhouse drafted by Cross & Cross. It's been called "the most powerful club in the world"--its members included, in 1955, President Dwight Eisenhower, Gov. Thomas Dewey, Sen. Prescott Bush, Henry Luce and the heads of US Steel, ITT, AT&T, Westinghouse, Texaco, Monsanto, Boeing, Gulf, IBM, General Foods, Chase Manhattan, Chemical Bank, City Bank, American Express, New York Life, etc. 40 East 62nd Street

40: A 1911 neo-Medieval apartment building designed by Alfred Joseph Bodker, complete with a row of griffons on the facade. Plaza Hotel architect Henry Hardenbergh was an early tenant; he died here in 1918. Another resident was Henry Fairfield Osborne, the paleontologist who named Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor; he was president of the American Museum of Natural History from 1908-33, and of the New York Zoological Society from 1909-25.

Browning School

52: Founded in 1888, this elite K-12 boys' school has been here since 1922. Alums include VP candidate Sargent Shriver, Sen. Claiborne Pell, Cookie Monster creator Jeff Moss, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, NYT publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. 550 Park Avenue Askew by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (550 Park): A 17-story apartment building from 1917, designed by J.E.R. Carpenter (who was among the first residents). Comedian Danny Kaye lived here in the 1940s. Earlier on this site was the Yosemite, a seven-story 1891 co-op designed by McKim, Mead & White for the New York Life Insurance Company. Before that there was Holbrook Hall, an apartment building destroyed by fire.

E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

691 Madison

Corner (691 Madison): Originally built in 1928 to house a Louis Sherry shop selling delicacies like caviar and fois gras. (Restaurateur Sherry had died in 1926.) The design was by McKim, Mead & White, but the AIA Guide called it a "neo-Classical/Art Deco ho-hum candy box," and thought it much improved by a 1986 Beyer Binder Belle redesign that turned it into a flagship for The Limited clothing chain. In 2000 it was bought by Hermès, which put a statue of a French soldier on a horse on the roof.

27: Fleming, French restaurant backed by billionaire Ronald Perelman, opened in 2018 and named for the defunct bilingual school.







35 East 62nd Street

35: Built in 1905 as Miss Keller’s School--which was open to both girls and boys. Designed by headmistress Eleanor Keller's uncle, George Keller. In 1911, the building was bought by the Studio Club of New York, providing housing for young female artists and musicians. From 1928 it was the Central Synagogue Community House, which housed a School for Adult Jewish Education. In 1956 the French/English Fleming School was founded here, which sold the building in 1989 and closed a couple of years later. Revlon bought it, restored it and turned it into offices.





























Colony Club

Colony Club by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (564 Park): A high-society women's club founded in 1903 with membership roster stocked with Morgans, Astors and Harrimans. The clubhouse here was completed in 1916 to a Delano & Aldrich design, and decorated inside by Elsie de Wolfe.


S <===     PARK AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Corner (555 Park): A 12-story co-op from 1914; Barbara Walters has lived here.




















132-134 East 62nd Street

132: An Italianate brownstone built in 1871 by architect John Sexton. Random House founder Bennett Cerf lived here from 1941 until his 1971 death. His wife, Phyllis Fraser Cerf, was Dr. Seuss's editor; in 1975, she married former New York Mayor Robert Wagner, who lived with her here until he died in 1991. Phyllis was still living here at the time of her 2006 death.










802 Lexington

Corner (802 Lexington): 1910 building houses Smiley's deli

E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

563 Park Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (563 Park): Built in 1910, this 13-floor red-brick building was considered the first luxury apartment building on Park Avenue. The apartments facing the avenue are all duplexes, as suggested by the banded facade. Author John Irving has been a resident here.

111: The neo-Grecian brownstones from here to 129 were built in 1873-74.

121: The Consulate General of Bulgaria 123-125 East 62nd Street

123: Ray Bolger lived here c. 1939-43, after playing the Scarecrow in Wizard of OZ. (NNY)

125: Humor columnist Don Marquis -- best remembered as the creator of the literary cockroach Archy -- lived here in the 1920s. He rented an apartment on the second floor to Ethel Barrymore in 1929; she skeipped out on several months' rent. (NNY)

129: Charles Evans Hughes lived here in 1888-89 as a 26-year-old lawyer; he went on to be New York governor, a Republican presidential candidate and a Supreme Court justice. (NNY)

135: David Burke Tavern, steakhouse of a celebrity chef who has had two previous restaurants in the same space: Fishtail and Tavern62.

137: CoolMess, make your own ice cream Burger Heaven

Corner (804 Lex- ington): Burger Heaven, local mini-chain that's been around since 1943.


S <===     LEXINGTON AVENUE     ===> N

South:




Elite Barber

134 1/2: Elite Barbers, since 1991 ("All About Quality"); Birch Coffee














Met Church

148-150: The neo-Gothic Metropolitan Koryo United Methodist Church, known as the Met Church, was built in 1938 and opened as the Swedish Methodist Church.









E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

Sunshine Flowers

Corner (803 Lexington): Sunshine Flowers is in a 1910 building.

143: Tender Buttons claims to be the only store in the US devoted entirely to buttons. It's been around since 1964, when Diane Epstein, an editor for Funk & Wagnall's Encyclopedia, bought a defunct button shop as a lark. It's been at this address since 1965. Rock Church

153: Rock Church, Pentecostal. Pastor Daniel Iampaglia was arrested in 2015, charged with stealing from the poor box; charges were dropped the next year with Iampaglia maintaining that he was merely taking petty cash for church repairs.

165: From 1982 to 2015, this address was owned by actor Brooke Shields. She had purchased it from George Barrie, the owner of Faberge cosmetics, creator of Brut cologne and the co-writer (with Sammy Cahn) of two Oscar-nominated songs--who had lived there since 1966.

There was a plan to tear down this and No. 163 and replace them with a 10-story condo. 171 East 62nd Street

171: Built in 1871 and almost immediately nearly burned down in an arson-for-profit scheme. It was remodeled in 1916 and given its current Colonial Revival facade. In the early 1960s it was home to actor Joseph Schildkraut, best remembered as the father in The Diary of Anne Frank; he died here on January 31, 1964.





S <===     3RD AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Treadwell Farm Historic District

Treadwell Farm Historic District

Designated in 1967, making it one of the city's first historic districts. Commemor- ates the former farm of Adam Treadwell, brother of Seabury Tredwell, the merchant of the Merchant's House Museum. Adam, a fur merchant, bought the farm (with a partner) in 1815; his daughter Elizabeth divided it up for development in 1854. Most of the district's brownstones were built from 1868-76.

208: The beginning of the historic district. 230-232 East 62nd Street

230: This 1868 townhouse was home to actor Tallulah Bankhead from 1956-62. She sold it to A&P heir Huntington Hartford. (NNY)

232: Author Tom Wolfe lived here from the late 1970s until 1990, where he wrote Bonfire of the Vanities.

246: The last building in the historic district.

E
A
S
T

6
2
N
D

S
T
E
E
T

North:

201 (corner): Writer Rona Jaffe, author of the anti-D&D novel Mazes & Monsters, lived in the 19-story red-brick co-op, built in 1963. (SW)

207: The first building of the historic district. 211 East 62nd Street

211: This 1873 townhouse was home to Eleanor Roosevelt from 1953-58; here she played host to Indira Gandhi, John F. Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson. (NNY)

229: Comedian David Brenner, the Tonight show's most frequent guest in the 1970s and '80s, lived here. (SW)

231: After fleeing Nazi Germany, composer Kurt Weill and his stage star wife Lotte Lenya lived here from 1937-41. (NNY) Our Lady of Peace

239: This Victorian Gothic church building was completed in 1887, designed by Samuel Warner, architect of the Marble Collegiate Church. It originally housed the Church of the Redeemer, a German-speaking Presbyterian congregation. It became the Bethleham Lutheran Church then the Evangelical Lutheran Church of St. Matthew before being sold in 1913 to the Christian Hungarian Sick Benevolent Society. In 1919 it was bought by the newly formed Madonna Della Pace Italian Catholic parish, soon anglicized as Our Lady of Peace, which lasted nearly a century before being closed in a 2015 parish consolidation; since 2017 it's been leased to the St. Mary & St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church.

247: The last building in the historic district features charming carved lions.

253 (corner):


S <===     2ND AVENUE     ===> N

South:
















E

6
2
N
D

S
T

North:

















S <===     QUEENSBORO BRIDGE ONRAMP     ===> N

South:








342: NYC Home, lodging




350 (corner): Beekman Condominium. On the ground floor is Treadwell Park, gastropub mini-chain named for the Treadwell Farm Historic District a block to the west.

E

6
2
N
D

S
T

North:

329 (corner): Karen Horney Clinic, psychoanalytic institute founded in 1955. Its namesake was a pioneer in feminist psychoanalysis.

349: One Bedroom, lodging

351: Il Vagabondo, Italian

Ritz Diner

Corner (1133 1st Ave): Ritz Diner, open 24 hours. The exterior was used as the Island Diner in the CBS TV show Rules of Engagement.


S <===     1ST AVENUE     ===> N

South:

CMX CineBistro

400 (corner): CMX CinéBistro, the New York location of a dinner-and-movie chain.








E

6
2
N
D

North:

1130 First Avenue

Corner (1130 1st Ave): Space Market is in a c. 1900 tenement.

401: Anatolia, Mediterranean




S <===     YORK AVENUE     ===> N

South:

500 (corner): The Bentley Hotel, noted for its spectacular views of the East River.






510 (corner): The Animal Medical Center

E

6
2
N
D

North:

Block (500 E 63rd): Rockefeller University's Faculty House, a 26-story apartment building completed in 1974. The university was founded in 1901 by John D. Rockefeller Sr.







S <===     FDR DRIVE     ===> N

Andrew Haswell Green Park

This four-block-long riverfront park honors probably the most important New Yorker most New Yorkers have never heard of. Green proposed uniting the five boroughs into one city in 1868, and was president of the Consolidation Inquiry Committee that finally achieved that goal in 1898.

As president of the Central Park Board of Commissioners from 1857 until 1871, he was a key voice in selecting Olmstead and Vaux's Greensward Plan and realizing the designers' vision. He also pushed for creating Riverside, Morningside and Fort Washington parks.

He helped found the New York Public Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx and Central Park zoos. He was an early voice for historical preservation and helped save City Hall.

Despite being arguably the most influential leader in New York City's history, he's virtually unknown today; it's a sad irony that he was murdered in 1903--by a killer who mistook him for somebody else.



East River

Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge and Midtown Manhattan at Night, NYC by andrew c mace, on Flickr Roosevelt Island & UES - NYC (4-26-06) by hotdogger13, on Flickr

Not actually a river, but a tidal estuary connecting New York Harbor with Long Island Sound. Legend has it that mobster Dutch Schultz put his associate Bo Weinberg in a set of cement overshoes and dumped him in the East River--the origin of the popular stereotype.








What am I missing on STNAME Street? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell me about it.

New York Songlines Home.

Sources for the Songlines.

NYSonglines' Facebook Fan Page. Please like us!

Share