New York Songlines: 79th Street

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HUDSON RIVER

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.



79th Street Boat Basin

Manhattan's only year-round full-service marina, a Robert Moses project opened in 1938. It has hosted yachts owned by the likes of Aristotle Onassis, Malcolm Forbes, Frank Sinatra and Mario Puzo, but by the 1980s, most of the 116 slips were filled by year-round residents, a unique community known as the liveaboards.

In 1994, the Parks Department stopped issuing permits for winter docking, and by 2020 the number of boats actually inhabited year-round had dwindled to 10. These faced eviction in 2021 as the marina was being shut down for much-needed repairs.

Mad writer Dick DeBartolo, who wrote hundreds of movie parodies for the magazine, has lived here since the 1960s. Other Basin residents have included musicians Richie Havens and Mariah Carey. The Rolling Stones stayed in a yacht here during their 1966 Aftermath tour after being rejected by 14 New York hotels.

Boat Basin Panorama

Riverside Park

The Great Saunter-Riverside Park, 05.03.14

Glaciers left a steep slope along much of Manhattan's western shore, rendering it unsuitable for building. In 1849, the Hudson River Railroad was built on the margin, connecting downtown Manhattan to Peekskill. The remainder of the shoreline from 72nd Street to 125th was bought by the city in 1872, at the urging of Commissioner Andrew Haswell Green; the 119 acres were purchased for $72,000.

Frederick Law Olmsted was the first commissioner, but he was ousted before much of his vision could be implemented. Others, including Calvert Vaux, tried to improve the land, but it wasn't until the 1930s, when Robert Moses put the railroad in a tunnel (while adding the Henry Hudson Parkway along the shore) that the current park took shape. (Photo: Gigi NYC)

The Hudson River Greenway, which runs for nearly 13 miles along the entire western shore of Manhattan, is said to be the nation's busiest bike path.


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Rotunda

In the middle of a roundabout at 79th Street on the Henry Hudson Parkway is the Rotunda, a pedestrian plaza on a level below the parkway. The vaults below the roadway feature Guastavino tile.

The roundabout itself has been the focus of protests in recent years, as transportation activists demand changes to make it more safely serve its dual function as drivers' gateway to the Upper West Side and cyclists' gateway to the Hudson River Greenway.

Rotunda Panorama

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The park was expanded to 137th Street in 1902, and to 158th Street in 1908. From 1998 to 2007, the park was extended southward to 59th Street.











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Riverside Park














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67 Riverside Drive I

Corner (67 Riverside Drive): Riverdale, a nine-story grey-brick apartment building from 1907, designed by George F. Pelham. Violinist Isaac Stern moved here in 1944, taking advantage of the building's thick walls to use it as a rehearsal space. This is where Raymond Shaw lives in The Manchurian Candidate.























393 West End Avenue

Corner (393 West End): Put up in 1927, this 16-story apartment building was designed by Goldner & Goldner.

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70 Riverside Drive

Corner (70 Riverside): Six-story brown-brick co-op from 1951.







Imperial Court

307: Imperial Court, originally known as Lasanno Court, is an 11-story apartment building from 1906 designed by Schwartz & Gross. Future New Yorker writer AJ Liebling lived here as a child from 1907-1913.

Carlebach Shul

305: Originally built as a carriage house, this structure later served as a garage for the New Century next door—the first apartment building in New York to have a space for tenants' cars.

It became a synagogue in the 1940s, founded by Naphtali Carlebach, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Austria. The New Century

Corner (401 West End): The New Century, a handsome nine-story red-brick building, despite the loss of its cornice and its grand collanaded entrance. Designed by William B. Franke.


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The Apthorp

The Apthorp

Block (2209 Broad- way): Block-spanning apartment complex built by the William Waldorph Astor from 1906-08, designed by Clinton & Russell with a central courtyard featuring two fountains. _IGP3467

Actor Douglas Fairbanks Sr. was an early tenant; he moved here from the Algonquin because he didn't want his son to be born in a hotel. Instead, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. was born here December 9, 1909.

Other notable residents have included novelist Joseph Heller, choreographer George Balanchine, Al Pacino, Conan O'Brien, Nora Ephron, Cyndi Lauper, Rosie O'Donnell and 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft.






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The Wexford

Corner (400 West End): The Wexford, 19 stories of brick from 1928. Joe DiMaggio lived in the penthouse here from 1939-42, during which time he had his legendary 56-game hitting streak. Jazz great Duke Ellington also lived here, from 1953 until the mid-1960s (NNY).

Corner (2221 Broadway): The First Baptist Church in the City of New York was organized in 1762, with its first home at 35 Gold Street. Its first pastor, John Gano, was a chaplain in the Continental Army and allegedly baptized George Washington at Valley Forge. (He's also a founder of Brown University and an ancestor of Howard Hughes.) The congregation moved to 354 Broome Street and then to East 39th and Fourth Avenue before moving here in 1890. First Baptist Church

George Keister, who later designed the Apollo Theater, was the architect of this building; its asymmetrical towers represent Jesus Christ and the church, incomplete until Jesus' return. With the addition of a balcony in 1903, the church can seat 1,000.


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230 West 79th Street

230 (corner): A 13-story building from 1905. 79th Street Wine & Spirits is on the ground floor.

226-206: Developers William W. and Thomas H. Hall finished a row of 11 Renaissance Revival townhouses here in 1894. They are all still standing, in various states of alteration:

226: Was Burke & Wills, an Australian bistro that offered a kangaroo burger. Opened 2013, closed 2021. 220-224 West 79th Street

224: Irving Farm New York, a local coffee chain, named for its original location on Irving Place.

222: Boy wonder theater mogul Sam Shubert leased this house for his mother. When he died in a train disaster in 1905, at the age of 23, his funeral was held here. In 1986, the ground floor became Restaurant Two Two Two, which in 2004 became the Greek restaurant 0nera—which became Kefi, another Greek eatery, in 2007. Coppola's

212: Blondies sports bar

208: Knitty City

206: Coppola's Osteria & Pizzeria, opened 1987











The Gloucester

200 (corner): The Gloucester, an 18-story red-brick building from 1978.

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Banksy "Hammer Boy" Mural

Corner (2220 Broadway): This two-story building from 1932 (which houses a Designer Shoe Warehouse) is the site of a mural by Banksy, Hammer Boy, which appeared on October 20, 2013. The brothers who own Zabar's preserved it by covering it with plexiglass from their deli counter (Photo: Mal B).

Dublin House

225: Dublin House Taproom, opened in 1921 as a speakeasy. It celebrated the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, by putting up a giant harp-shaped neon sign. A GoFundMe in 2021 raised more than $18,000 in one day to restore it to its original glory. (Photo: Ashok)

219: Riverside Animal Hospital

217: Emily Post lived at this address in the 1890s, before she became an etiquette authority. Around the turn of the century, she divorced her husband and moved to Tuxedo Park, NY.

Lucerne Hotel

IMG_1480

201 (corner): A gorgeous landmark built in 1904, designed by Mulliken & Moeller with their trademark richly detailed terra cotta—here executed in a rich plum color and set off by variegated red and purple brick. Future playwright Eugene O'Neill lived here with his parents after he was kicked out of Princeton in 1907. (Photo: Linda.) Lucerne Facade

During the Covid pandemic, 283 people without homes were housed here—and then evicted less than a year later, in what the New Republic called "a case study of the city government’s multiple, overlapping failures in homelessness policy."

The acclaimed Provencal restaurant Nice Matin is on the ground floor.


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The Hopkins

172 (corner): The Hopkins, a 19-story condo built in 1929. Classic Kids photography, Bagels & Co., Emilio & Bolio's ice cream, Stoopher & Boots kids clothing are on the Broadway side.

Rodeph Sholom School

Rodeph Sholom School

168-170: Impressive twin brownstones built in 1895 as Blessed Sacrament Convent and the Academy of the Blessed Sacrament, Catholic institutions run by the Sisters of Charity. Future writer Dorothy Parker (then Rothchild) enrolled here in 1900. Became the Notre Dame Convent School, run by the Sisters of St. Ursula, in 1947. Corazon Aquino, later president of the Philippines, attended from 1947-49.

From 1988-91 it was home to the Fleming School, a French/English school that closed here after 35 years.

Since 1993, this has beeen part of a school associated with Congregation Rodeph Sholom, founded in 1842 on the Lower East Side. The school was the first Reform Jewish day school in the country when it opened in 1970.

150: The Dorset, a 12-story Italian Renaissance co-op built in 1911, noted for its bold balconies. The Austin

130: The Austin, 19-story condo from 1986. Author Philip Roth wrote and later lived here from 1988 until his death in 2018.

The condo replaced a Byzantine-style structure designed by Walter Schneider in 1928 to house the Unity Synagogue. By 1930, it was the Mount Neboh Synagogue, the name under which it is best remembered. (Mount Nebo is the mountaintop in Jordan from which Moses saw the Promised Land.) It was bought by Crossroads Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1978, which stayed only until 1981. The building was landmarked in 1982 against the wishes of its owners, and un-landmarked a year later—citing "undue financial hardship"—allowing the building to be razed.
























Oviraptor Foot, Triceratops Horn

102: Astro West, shop for crystals and fossils. The business has been around since 1961; this branch opened in 2016.

Corner (392 Columbus): Five stories from 1920.

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175 West 79th Street

175 (corner): A 15-story building designed by George F. Pelham in 1927. Amsterdam Gourmet is the deli on the ground floor.

171: A 16-story co-op from 1923. Actor Karen Allen has lived here.






Smushed Castle

163: The little building that looks like a squashed castle is the sole survivor of six rowhouses designend by developer George A. Denig to have a Medieval flavor.




157: Twelve stories in the Italian Renaissance style by Schwartz & Gross.

147: 1926 building with 16 stories. Features ornate Neo-Classical detailing in terra cotta. Manchester House

145: Manchester House, a 1926 building by Emery Roth, features the arms of the Duke of Manchester above its entrance.

135: The Lyons, 12 stories of brown brick with a limestone base—from 1920.

127: Clifton House, 15 stories in Italian Renaissance style from 1926.

124: Five-story townhouse is a near-twin of its neighbor to the east.

123: Neway fertility clinic

121: Four-story Neo-Classical townhouse from 1892. Park 79 Hotel

117: Built in 1898 as The Indiana, following the fad for buildings named after states sparked by The Dakota. Its seven stories were designed by Neville & Bagge in a Neo-Classical style, complete with a Corinthian-coloumned portico (Photo: Patrick Rasenberg).

Notable residents included Frank Crane, who played the Pharaoh in 1933's The Mummy, and Daniel Meyers, a bondsman who bailed out Dutch Schultz and other gangsters. In the 1950s it was renamed Hayden Hall, eventually becoming an SRO. It was rebranded Park 79 in the 21st century, when it racked up numerous occupancy violations. Now being converted to affordable senior housing.

Park Belvedere

Park Belvedere

101 (corner): Park Belvedere is a 31-story tower built in 1985 by William Zeckendorf Jr. (to a Frank Williams design). Carter Horsley calls it "an important and attractive new (unofficial) landmark" for the Upper West Side. In the 1980s, Duran Duran's John Taylor and Culture Club's Boy George lived in adjoining apartments on the 27th floor (RAREG). Another notable resident: tennis star Billie Jean King.


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American Museum of Natural History

American Museum of Natural History

Founded in 1869 with the backing of Theodore Roosevelt Sr., JP Morgan and other Gilded Age titans. The cornerstone for this building was laid in 1874 by President Grant; the museum was opened here in 1877 by President Hayes. The original Victorian Gothic building by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Mould has been absorbed by subsequent additions, American Museum of Natural History--South Entrance including the neo-Romanesque castellations of J. Cleaveland Cady on the 77th Street side, and John Russell Pope's Beaux Arts entrance on Central Park West (which in 2022 lost its embarrasing memorial to Teddy Roosevelt as Great White Hunter).


Tyrannosaurus Rex

The museum boasts the largest collection of fossil mammals and dinosaurs in the world, collected by legendary paleontologists like Barnum Brown, Henry Fairfield Osborn (later AMNH president) and and Roy Chapman Andrews—said to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones.


Black Rhinos The museum is also famed for its beautiful taxidermy dioramas, many collected and mounted by Carl Akeley. Anthropo- logical giants Frank Boas and Margaret Mead made the AMNH their home base.


The museum displays the largest meteorite Star of India found in any museum in the world—a 34-ton chunk of a much larger meteorite that hit Greenland 10,000 years ago. Another meteorite here, the Willamette, was the subject of a lawsuit—later settled—by the Clackamas people of Oregon, who view it as a sacred object. Also on view is the Star of India, the largest known star sapphire, which was stolen and recovered in 1964.


The Hall of Ocean Life features a 94-foot model of a blue whale suspended from the ceiling, NYC - AMNH: Milstein Hall of Ocean Life as well as the diorama that provided the title for the film The Squid and the Whale. The AMNH is the setting for the film Night at the Museum, and also features in Bringing Up Baby, Malcolm X, The Devil Wears Prada and Wonderstruck. Ross works here in the sitcom Friends.


In 1897 the museum put on display an Inuit child, Minik, brought back from Greenland by Robert Peary. Curators tricked him into thinking they had buried his father, who died of tuberculosis shortly after arrival in New York, when they had actually put his skeleton on exhibit. The remains were finally returned to Greenland for burial in 1993. The museum also put Ota Benga, a member of the Mbuti people from the Congo, on exhibit in 1906.

The park that surrounds the museum is known as Manhattan Square.


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The 79th Street Transverse is one of four roads designed to slip discreetly through Central Park without disturbing visitors; since 2018, these are the only roads in the park open to car traffic. Because the AMNH is in the way, this tranverse comes out at 81st Street on the west side of the park—so the Songline takes a two-block jog to the north here.

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Central Park

Central Park, New York by  Mathew Knott, on Flickr

Arguably the greatest work of art in all of human history. I have been known to make that argument, anyway.

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).




Naturalists' Walk

Naturalists' Walk This area of the park is named for its proximity to the Naturalists' Gate at West 77th Street; I'm not sure it's any more natural than any random area of the park. The lawn here used to be the Ladies Pond, reserved for women to skate on in the winter; it was filled in in the 1930s.

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Hunter's Gate

Hunter's Gate

One of the 20 gates named by the Commis- sioners of Central Park in 1862—though the names were not actually inscribed until 1999. The names were intended to reflect the democratic intentions of the park.

Diana Ross Playground

Diana Ross Playground New York

This playground is named for the singer, who paid for its construction following her 1983 concert on the Great Lawn. It is overlooked by Summit Rock, the highest natural point in the park. To the east of the playground, hidden in foliage, is Tanner's Spring, one of only two natural springs still in the park; it's named for Dr. Henry Tanner, who in 1880 fasted for 40 days and nights, supposedly only sustained by the water here.

79th Street Yard

The Yard

Facilities for park employees, including offices, training rooms, locker rooms, a mechanic's garage and equipment storage. The buildings here used to be stables.


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Burns Lawn

A good spot for batwatching.



















Vista Rock

The second-highest point in Central Park, at 140 feet above sea level. The Transverse tunnels through it.














Manhattan Communications Office Fire Alarm Telegraph Station

FDNY Manhattan Central Office One of five FDNY Fire Alarm Telegraph Stations, one built in a park in each borough, which served as central dispatch offices. This one was designed in the 1910s or '20s by Morgan & Trainer, firehouse architects, in an English Gothic style.


































































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Swedish Cottage

Swedish Cottage Actually a schoolhouse built in Sweden in 1875 and reassembled by Olmsted here in 1877. It has served as a toolshed, a library, an entomological lab and as the headquarters of Civil Defense during World War II. Since 1947, it's housed the Marionette Theater. (Photo: Waterloo Hildreds)

Shakespeare Garden

Central Park-Shakespeare Garden, 04.13.14

Featuring plants mentioned in Shake- speare's plays, this garden was dedicated on April 23, 2016—the tricentennial of the Bard's birth. (Photo: Gigi NYC)

Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle II

The top of Vista Rock was called The Belvedere—"Beautiful View" in Italian—in the original park plan; the castle was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould as a lookout tower, and completed in 1872. The US Weather Bureau moved in in 1919; though they moved their offices in the 1960s, this hill is still where New York City's official weather measurements are taken. It serves as Gargamel's hideout in the 2011 Smurfs movie.

Turtle Pond

Belvedere Castle #4

This body of water was not part of Olmsted's original park design, but was added in the 1930s to provide drainage for the Great Lawn.

Turtles II

Originally called Lake Belvedere, after the Belvedere Castle that overlooks it from the south, it was renamed in 1987 in honor of its reptilian denizens, mostly red-eared sliders descended from pets that outgrew their pens and were released into the park (though there are several other species of turtle in the pond, including snappers).

Jagiello

Jagiello I An imposing statue of Jogaila (1362-1434), the grand duke of Lithuania who married Jadwiga, queen of Poland, unifying their realms for more than four centuries. (As king of Poland, he was known as Jagiello, the name that appears on this monument.) As a condition of the marriage, Jagaila converted to Christianity, bringing to an end the last pagan dynasty of Europe. Jogaila led the Polish/Lithuanian forces against the Teutonic Knights, decisively defeating them at the Battle of Grunwald in 1410. Before the battle, the Knights' grand master challenged him by sending him a gift of two swords; after the victory, the Grunwald Swords became a symbol of defiance and the union of the two peoples.King Jagiello statue. King Jagiello statue. Jogaila's resistance to Germanic expansion was no doubt on the mind of the Polish government when they chose this statue (a copy of one in Warsaw by sculptor Stanislaw K. Ostrowski) to stand in front of the Polish pavilion at the 1939 World's Fair in Queens. Later that year, Nazi Germany invaded Poland and melted down Warsaw's Jagiello for bullets. The Polish government in exile donated this version to New York City, which installed it here in July 1945. (cc photo: David)

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Cedar Hill

Central Park-Cedar Hill, 10.12.14 A popular hill for sledding in winter, named for the red cedars on its crest. The undulating terrain reflects glacial scarring.

Miner's Gate

Miners' Gate

One of the 20 gates named by the Commis- sioners of Central Park in 1862—though the names were not actually inscribed until 1999. The names were intended to reflect the democratic intentions of the park. The term "miner" was intended to "include the workers in coal, and the different ores, and also the quarrymen or miners of stone."

As discovered by the website PopSpots, this was the location of the pretzel vendor featured on the cover of the Steely Dan album Pretzel Logic.

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Friedman Playground

NYC - Central Park: Group of Bears This playground is notable for the Paul Manship sculpture Group of Bears, donated to the park in memory of furniture designer Pat Hoffman Friedman by her husband. A smaller version of the three bears is found nearby at the Ancient Playground. (cc photo: Wally Gobetz)










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Fifth Avenue to Madison, from 78th to 79th, is known as the Cook Block, bought in 1883 by railroad tycoon Henry H. Cook, who insisted that only opulent single-family homes be built on his property.

Ukrainian Institute

Isaac Fletcher House

2 (corner): A five-story townhouse built in 1899 to a CPH Gilbert design, decorated with images of sea life. The first owner was coal tar magnate Isaac Fletcher; after he died in 1917, it was bought by Harry Sinclair of Sinclair Oil, who spent a year in prison in connection with the Teapot Dome scandal. In 1930, the house was bought by Augustus van Horne Stuyvesant, the last patrilineal descendant of Peter Stuyvesant. Two years after his death in 1953, it became the headquarters of the Ukrainian Institute of America. It appears as the Valmont mansion in Cruel Intentions.

James E Nichols House

4-6 East 79th Street

4: Designed in 1899 in an extravagent Beaux Arts style by CPH Gilbert for business executive James E. Nichols. Nichols' widow died here in 1915, accidentally killed in a robbery orchestrated by a former butler. It was subsequently bought by banker Joseph Wright Harriman, who later went to prison for bank fraud. In 1938, Ogden Phipps became the owner and dulled down the architecture. From 1946 until 1973 it was the French Mission to the UN. 6 East 79th Street

6: This striking red and white facade was designed in 1900 by Barney & Chapman for dilettente Fred Gephard, best remembered for his open affair with very married actor Lillie Langtry.

8: This granite-faced mansion was built in 1910 for Henry Schniewind, founder of the Susquehanna Silk Mills (not to be confused with the Susquehanna Hat Company). Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America It was bought in 1970 by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese, which still uses it as offices.

10: Built in 1902 for Civil War naval Capt. John Sanford Barnes. Since 1942 it's served as a residence for the Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox Church of North and South America.

12: This and No. 14 to its east were designed as a pair by Arthur Little for real estate investor Charles W. Ogden and his sister Mary F. Ogden. 12-14 East 79th Street This one was later the School of Practical Philosophy, noted for its happiness-promising subway ads. It was connected to London's School of Economic Science, which some have called a cult. The building is now Guidepost Montessori.

14: Iraq's mission to the UN. From 1990–2003, this was the only Iraqi diplomatic outpost in the US. The New York Post claimed that Saddam Hussein kept a secret torture chamber for Iraqi expatriates in the basement here.

16: A neo-Georgian mansion designed by Warren & Wetmore. It was built from 1902-04 for Sidney Dillon, an insurance executive. He died here from appendicitis in 1905, just over a year after moving in. The building was converted to doctors' offices in 1956, losing much of its architectural detail in the process; the most famous practitioner here was Steven Levenkron, a psychotherapist who specialized in eating disorders, with Karen Carpenter among his patients. Since 1979 a series of art galleries have been on the ground floor—most recently Emma Scully Gallery, which describes this building as a "19th century townhouse." East 79th Galleries

18: Built in 1909 for banker J. Woodward Haven, this townhouse is faithfully based (by architect Ogden Codman) on an 18th century house in Bordeaux. In 1926-27 it was home to William Vincent Astor, who was called the "richest boy in the world" after his father died on the Titanic. In 1937 it was bought by four-time national racquets champion Richard Mortimer, who in 1947 died of a heart attack here at the age of 56. Fine arts dealers Duveen Brothers, which sold Leonardos, Raphaels, Vermeers and Rembrandts to Fricks, Rockefellers, Morgans and Whitneys, purchased the building in 1951. When the firm liquidated in 1964, its owner traded this building to Acquavella Galleries in exchange for two paintings by Renoir and Fantin-Latour. That gallery has been here since 1967, representing artists like Picasso, Renoir, Monet, Degas and Cezanne. Skarstedt Gallery

20: An Italianate building from 1913, first occupied by banker Dudley Olcott. After Mrs. Olcott left him for a Russian prince, the building was sold in 1933 to stock broker Chester Dale, who used it to display his extensive collection of 20th century masterpieces (Picasso, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Matisse...), which ended up in the National Gallery. (Dale and his wife rented rooms at the Plaza to live in.) The building is now the Skarstedt Gallery, which specializes in more recent artists like de Kooning, Warhol and David Salle. Serafina Fabulous Pizza

Corner (1022 Madison): The five-story limestone and brick building built on this corner in 1911 is the only one of the block's grand houses not to survive. It was owned during almost all its existence by paint maker Edward H. Raynolds, who is remembered for allowing his second wife to torment his two sons by his first marriage. (See Daytonian.) It was torn down and replaced in 1949 with an "architectural aberration"—which since 1995 been the original flagship of the Serafina pizza chain.

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980 Fifth Avenue

Corner (980 5th Ave): A 26-story co-op from 1966 that replaced the French Renaissance Brokaw mansion, built in 1888—featuring turrets, gables and almost a moat, in what came to be known as the Fifth Avenue style. Its destruction, along with that of Penn Station, compelled Mayor Robert Wagner to sign a landmarks preservation law.




9 East 79th Street

9: A 14-story building from 1929 with just eight duplex apartments. Musician Art Garfunkel has lived in the penthouse here since 1975. Firefighters put out a smoldering wall here in 2015, caused by plumbers trying to thaw frozen pipes.



















Rudolf Steiner School

15 East 79th Street

15: A 1917 Italian Renaissance palazzo designed by McKim Mead & White for former state Sen. Thomas Newbold. The building was bought in 1944 by the Rudolf Steiner School, the first Waldorf school in North America, founded in 1925. The Waldorf low-tech, pro-art approach is grounded in the esoteric theories of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian philosopher and occultist.














Bloomberg Townhouse

Bloomberg Mansion

17: Media mogul Michael Bloomberg bought this five-story townhouse in 1986, and continued living here when he was mayor of New York from 2002-13, spurning the official mayoral residence of Gracie Mansion. Since 1989 he has been buying up pieces of No. 19 next door, slowly expanding his townhouse into a mansion.

17 was built in 1880 as a brownstone, and totally made over in limestone in 1907 (Daytonian). Other residents have included Broadway producer Leonard Sillman (whose home here is said to have inspired the director's over-the-top apartment in The Producers) and famed illustrator Rene Bouche. Bloomberg Bay Windows

19: The building slowly being absorbed by Bloomberg is an 1880 townhouse by D & J Jardine, remodeled in neo-classical style on its first two floors in 1902.














21: A 15-story building from 1930 with 14 apartments. Writer Tom Wolfe lived on its 14th floor.




27 East 79th Street

27: Novelist John O'Hara lived on this building's ground floor (NNY).





















31 East 79th Street II

31 (corner): The easternmost two-thirds of this 15-story brown-brick building went up in 1925; the western third was added in 1928. (You can see a break in the cornice.)


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50 (corner): Twenty-one floors of red brick from 1958. Actor Geraldine Fitzgerald, known for her roles in Wuthering Heights and Dark Victory, lived here until her death in 2005.



























58 East 79th Street

58: The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), named for a Holocaust survivor, Resistance member and author. This townhouse was supposedly built in 1958, but it sure doesn't look like it.














66: Lawyer/novelist Louis Auchincloss lived with his parents here from 1935-1945, as he was getting his start in the law.














72-76: A set of 1884 brownstones that had a 1988 tower affixed on top of them.
















898 Park Avenue

Corner (898 Park): A 14-story apartment building from 1924, designed by John Sloan and Albert E. Nast. Delightful terra cotta detail near ground level.

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39 East 79th Street

39 (corner): This 14-story red-brick building was built in 1926 by etiquette maven Emily Post, who made it as a co-op for herself and her friends from the social registry. She died here in 1960 (Streetscapes).




New York Society Library

New York Society Library

53: New York's oldest library, founded in 1754, and its main one until the public system was launched in 1895, the NYSL loans books to members who pay an annual fee, now $270. Its visitors over the years include George Washington, John Jay, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Henry David Thoreau, John James Audubon, Herman Melville and Willa Cather, and at the present location WH Auden, Lillian Hellman, P.G. Wodehouse and Mary McCarthy.

The building is an Italianate townhouse from 1917, designed by Trowbridge and Livingston and converted to a library in 1937.


59: French Renaissance Townhouse built in 1909 for attorney John Iselin, designed by Foster, Gade & Graham.

Greek Consulate

69 East 79th Street

69: Originally a five-story Parisian-style townhouse, designed in 1909 by NYPL architects Carrère & Hastings for George Rives, former corporation counsel under Mayor Seth Low. When the Greek government bought it in 1958, it rebuilt the fourth and fifth floors and seamlessly added a sixth.


Park 900

Corner (900 Park): This 28-story tower by Philip Birnbaum, built 1973, was controversial because it is set back from the street wall (unnecessary on Park Avenue) and ignores the avenue's relatively consistent heights. The owner, American Invsco, has also been subject of multiple lawsuits over harassment of tenants.

The sunken plaza is theoretically open to the public but is dominated by the building's driveway. It has been home to a series of sculptures, originally Henry Moore's "Interconnecting Figures," which was kept by developer Burt Resnick when he sold the building to Invsco. Dama a Caballo V It was replaced in 1982 by Francisco Zuniga's "Four Generations," whose owner moved it from St. Bartholemew's when the church threatened to sell some of its land for an office tower. Later "Gato," a monumental bronze of a well-fed cat, was placed here by the artist Fernando Botero, who lived and worked on the 22nd floor here from 1980-2017. Lately the featured sculpture has been "Dama a Caballo V" by Manolo Valdes, inspired by Valasquez's equestrian portrait of Queen Isabel de Borbón of Spain.


S <===     PARK AVENUE     ===> N

South:

895 Park Avenue

Corner (895 Park): A 19-story Art Deco co-op from 1930, designed by John Sloan, who also did 898 Park across the avenue. Leonard Bernstein lived in the penthouse here from 1961-1974. A fundraiser for the Black Panthers here on January 14, 1970, was the subject of an infamous Tom Wolfe essay, "Radical Chic."




108: Dorothy Arnold, a 25-year-old aspiring writer, was living here with her family on December 12, 1910, when she disappeared near Madison Square, a notorious missing-person case that remains unsolved.








124: The Belgravia, named for an upscale London neighborhood, is a 20-story condo from 1985.













1140 Lexington Avenue

Corner (1140 Lexington): Lenox Hill Florist is in a skinny building from 1910.

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903 Park Avenue

Corner (903 Park): This 17-story building was said to be the "World's Highest Apartment House" when it was built by Bing & Bing in 1912. The architect was Robert T. Lyons, co-designer of Grand Central.




109 East 79th Renovation

109: The penthouse in this 20-story building from 2022 was designed by Steven Harris Architects to evoke the architectural history of the Upper East Side. The penthouse was pre-sold for $35 million.

It replaced twin buildings at 109 and 111, built for sisters Alice Martin McCoon and Edith Martin in French Renaissance style. Talkshow host Dick Cavett later lived in 109.

121: Built in 1907 for Eufrasia Tucker.

123: A double-wide Georgian-style house built in 1907 for sisters Eufrasia Leland and Emma Wesson—relatives of Eufrasia Tucker, who sometimes lived here as well.

127: Vincent Astor tore down a brownstone at this address in 1926 to build a garage that connected to his house on East 80th Street. This in turn was demolished along with all the buildings to 135 to build the Hunter College School of Social Work in 1969.

129-131: Mott Schmidt designed a Georgian-style house here for E. Farrar Bateson in 1920. Stone Tree

135: This 19-story limestone-clad building from 2013 proves they can build 'em like they used to. The Hunter building was torn down to make way for it.

139 (corner): Sixteen brown-brick stories from 1928. Eisler Chemists, on the ground floor, appears to have been founded in 1898.


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

In Thomas Pynchon's V., Benny Profane hunts sewer alligators from here to 86th Street and the East River.

South:

150-154 East 79th Street

Corner (1135 Lex): Glass box with a Republic Bank branch

152: Il Riccio, Italian

154: Was Candle 79, vegan














Corner (1388 Third Ave): Vivaldi Boutique, women's fashion

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151 East 79th Street

151 (corner): A 15-story building with just 16 apartments, erected as a co-op in 1926.

161: A 12-story building from 1915; Groucho Marx lived here from 1921-1924.






189 East 79th Street

Corner (1390 Third Ave): By day, the space is the cafe Eli's Essentials; by night it's Eli's Night Shift, a cocktail/craft beer bar. Eli is Eli Zabar, from the family that owns Zabar's.


S <===     3RD AVENUE     ===> N

South:

200 East 79th Street

200 (corner): A 19-story limestone-clad building from 2013.

208: Telephone Building, as a dramatic entrance declares. Verizon still uses what must have once belonged to Ma Bell.




Yorkville Branch

Yorkville Library

222: Opened in 1902, this was the first branch of the New York Public Library funded by Andrew Carnegie. It was designed by James Brown Lord in a Paladian style. To serve Yorkville's early 20th century immigrant population, it initially had a floor entirely devoted to German-language publications.

226: Brownstone built in 1901 with a striking right-angled stoop.

230: Belmont 79, a 20-story white-brick building from 1963, but with a black granite base.

240: A 16-story apartment building from 1929 with an attractive Art Deco polychrome entrance.

244 East 79th Street

242: Our Place China Chalet, dim sum

244: Sojourn, New American, is on the ground floor of Harry Houdini's childhood home (1887-90), a four-story tenement where he used to practice escape tricks as a boy.

Temple Shaaray Tefila

Temple Shaaray Tefila

250 (corner): A Reform congregation that traces its roots back to Shearith Israel, the first Jewish congregation in New York City (or North America). Ashkenazi Jews left to form their own congregation in 1825, and a split in that group produced the synagogue Shaaray Tefila ("Gates of Prayer") in 1854. The Gates of Prayer Originally on Wooster Street (and an Orthodox congregation), it moved to the Upper West Side in 1869 and joined the Reform movement in 1895.

It moved across town to this location in 1959, occupying what was the Colony Theatre, a thousand-seat cinema that opened c. 1914 as the New Theatre.

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North:

201 (corner): Twenty-one floors of white brick from 1964.







Upper East Side Rehabilitation & Nursing Center

211: Upper East Side Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, formerly DeWitt Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, built 1967.











225 East 79th Street

225: This 17-story, brown-brick apartment building from 1929 has been home to film critic Gene Shalit.












































239 East 79th Street

239 (corner): Eighteen red-brick floors from 1957, designed by Maxon, Sells & Ficke.


S <===     2ND AVENUE     ===> N

South:

300 East 79th Street

300 (corner): A 2008 building with 18 floors of glass, designed by H. Thomas O'Hara.

308: James Farrell, author of the Studs Lonigan trilogy, lived here from 1969-1978.




Albanian Mission to the UN

320: The Albanian Mission to the UN. On August 11, 1972, this was an Italian restaurant called Neapolitan Noodle, where Sheldon Epstein and Max Tekelch, two kosher beef wholesalers, were killed by a Mafia hitman—mistaken for mobsters who were elsewhere in the dining room. The bystanders were victims of a Colombo Family civil war sparked by the assassination of Joe Gallo at Umberto's Clam House four months earlier. The Lucerne

350 (corner): The Lucerne, a 45-story apartment tower designed by Costas Kondylis and put up in 1990. Not to be confused with the Lucerne Hotel, on the west end of the street.

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North:

Continental Towers

301 (corner): Continental Towers, a 36-story building from 1975.














325: A 1928 building by Gronenberg & Leuchtag.










Polyhedral Clock (Square)

Corner (1513 1st Ave): This unassuming building from 1915 has a remarkable polyhedral four-faced clock hanging from its corner—installed when there was a Manufacturers Hanover branch here.


S <===     1ST AVENUE     ===> N

South:

Hampton House

404 (corner): Hampton House, 31-story slab from 1985.

































460 (corner): Gregory Towers, a 20-floor red-brick building from 1960.

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405: Was a convent attached to St. Monica's, built in 1955. Torn down in 2019 by Extell Development, along with the rest of the west end of this block. St. Monica Facade

413: Church of Saint Monica. The Roman Catholic parish has been based here since 1883; the current Gothic Revival building, designed by church architects Schickel & Ditmars, dates to 1906.




The York

435: The York, 13-story building from 1956 with 243 apartments. Rocker Joe Cocker has lived here.

Therapist Kathryn Faughey was murdered with a meat cleaver at her office here on February 12, 2008; the assailant was a former patient of her colleague Kent Schinbach, who was seriously injured in the attack.


S <===     YORK AVENUE     ===> N

South:

City and Suburban Homes Historic District

York Avenue Estate Plaque

The buildings on this block were built between 1896 and 1913 "to demonstrate that humanely designed tenements could produce an attractive financial return" (Streetscapes). When completed, it was the largest low-income housing project in the world.

East 79th Street

They were saved by neighborhood activism when developer Peter Kalikow bought them in 1984 and tried to replace them with luxury highrises.







To the Memory of Henry Codman Potter

516-520: This pair of City and Suburban tenements was dedicated to Bishop Henry Codman Potter (1834-1908), an Episcopal cleric who was a noted advocate for the poor. He was a rector at Grace Church and laid the cornerstone at St. John the Divine.

542 (corner): The last of the City and Suburban tenements along East 79th Street.

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North:

501 (corner): York Towers, 20 stories of white brick from 1961.


505: East River House, a handsome 20-story red brick building from 1958.




525: Asten House, a 30-story co-op from 1982.




Two East End Apartments

Corner (2 East End): This 10-story building was originally an electrical testing lab, built in 1910. Converted to residential in 1978.


EAST END AVE         ===> N

1 East End

Block (1 East End): A skinny building that fills up its skinny block. Erected in 1929, the 14-story building is 51 feet wide at its north end and 29 feet at the south.


S <===     FDR DRIVE     ===> N

John Finley Walk

The Great Saunter-John Finley Walk, 05.03.14

The path here along the East River, which stretches from 63rd to 125th Street, is named for John Huston Finley (1863-1940), president of CUNY and later commissioner of education for the state of New York. He was for a short period the editor of the New York Times. He was fond of walking the perimeter of Manhattan. (Photo: Gigi NYC)



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 79th Street? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell me about it.

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