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HELP US URGE THE LANDMARKS PRESERVATION COMMISSION TO SCHEDULE A PUBLIC HEARING ON THE CLIFF DWELLING! See action steps below...

 


Photograph by Henrik Olund
STEP 1: Sign an online petition calling on LPC to hold a public hearing and email it to your friends and neighbors!

STEP 2: Send a letter to LPC Chair Robert B. Tierney. Click here for contact information and here to view sample letters.
 
STEP 3: Send copies of your letter to key political officials. Click here for a contact list.
 
 

CLIFF DWELLING
243 Riverside Drive at 96th Street
Herman Lee Meader, 1914

No list of unique Upper West Side buildings would be complete without including the Cliff Dwelling, striking for its unusual floorplan and its Native American-inspired terra-cotta ornamentation. The footprint of this dramatic, 12-story apartment building conforms to its triangular lot, created where the curve of Riverside Drive intersects with West 96th Street. The northern end of the building is only nine feet wide. Large terra-cotta friezes featuring cow skulls, twin-headed snakes, and mountain lions in low relief span the Riverside Drive façade. The architect, Herman Lee Meader, apparently used these so-called "Pueblo Deco" motifs to draw an amusingly appropriate parallel between the habitats of ancient Southwest American cultures and modern, apartment-living New Yorkers. The Cliff Dwelling, one of Meader's earliest works designed shortly after he started his own practice, opened as a residential hotel in 1916 and was converted to apartments in 1931. Possibly Meader was inspired by the 1915 Panama-California Exposition at Balboa Park in San Diego, where the New Mexico Pavilion was a popular venue. Rich, creative ornament plays an equally important role in Meader's other New York works, including a loft building clad in polychrome terra cotta at 14th Street and Seventh Avenue and a building with pre-Columbian-themed ornament at 25th Street and Lexington Avenue.

Click below for recent press:
"Cliff Dwelling at 96th Street and Riverside Drive; A Terra Cotta Masterpiece in Unusual Dimensions," by Christopher Gray. The New York Times, Jan 6, 2002

 

 
 
 

Hon. Robert B. Tierney, Chair

NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission
1 Centre Street, 9th Floor, NYC 10007
Email: comments@lpc.nyc.gov
Fax: 212-669-7955
Phone: 212-669-7888
 
Honorable Thomas K. Duane
New York State Senator
322 Eighth Avenue, Suite 1700, NYC 10001
Email: duane@senate.state.ny.us
Fax: 212-633-8096
Phone: 212-633-8052
 
Honorable Linda B. Rosenthal
New York State Assembly Member
230 West 72nd Street, Suite 2F, NYC 10023
Email: rosentl@assembly.state.ny.us
Fax: 212-873-6520
Phone: 212-873-6368
 
Honorable Richard Gottfried
New York State Assembly Member
250 Broadway, Room 2232, NYC 10007
Email: gottfried@assembly.state.ny.us
Fax: 212-312-1494
Phone: 212-312-1492
 
Honorable Scott Stringer
Manhattan Borough President
1 Centre Street, 19th Floor, NYC 10007
Email: bp@manhattanbp.org
Fax: 212-669-4900
Phone: 212-669-8300
 
Honorable Gale A. Brewer
New York City Council Member
563 Columbus Avenue, NYC 10024
Email: gale.brewer@council.nyc.ny.us
Fax: 212-873-0279
Phone: 212-873-0282
 
Honorable Christine Quinn
City Council Speaker
224 West 30th Street, Suite 1206, NYC 10001
Email: quinn@council.nyc.ny.us
Fax: 212-564-7347
Phone: 212-564-7757
 
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