127 Manhattan Avenue


127 Manhattan Avenue



Date: 1886

NB Number: NB 881-1885

Type:  Rowhouse

Architect:  Dunn, Joseph M.

Developer/Owner/Builder: F.A. Seitz (owner)

NYC Landmarks Designation:  Historic District

Landmark Designation Report: Manhattan Avenue Historic District

National Register Designation: N/A

Primary Style:  Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival

Primary Facade:   Brick, Stone, and Terra Cotta

Stories: 3 and basement

Historic District: Manhattan Avenue HD

History of 123A, 123, 125, 127, 129, 131, 133, 135 and 137 Manhattan Avenue: The earliest of the three rows in the Manhattan Avenue Historic District, these nine houses (originally 12) were designed by the architect Joseph M. Dunn. F.A. Seitz, a German-American developer active in Manhattan real estate since the 1870s, hired Dunn, who at the time was a largely commercial and institutional architect. Seitz and Dunn worked together at least once before, building an apartment building at 247-49 West 15th Street in 1881. Several of Dunn’s buildings are located within New York City Historic Districts, including four cast-iron stores in the SoHo-Cast Iron District, and the apartment building at 103-31 West 74th Street in the Upper West Side/Central Park West Historic District. Construction for this row proceeded in two stages, with ground broken for the six houses at 51 West 105th Street (aka 123A Manhattan Avenue; 51-½ West 105th Street) and 123-31 Manhattan Avenue in June 1885, and for the remaining six houses (three of which still stand) at 133-43 Manhattan Avenue in October 1885. The first group was completed in January 1886 and the second in May 1886. Papers filed with the building department estimated that the cost of each structure would be $10,000. The dwellings in the historic district were somewhat smaller than the average row house of the late nineteenth century, apparently intended for middle-class occupation. A large number of the tenants had Irish or German backgrounds, though many were U.S. born and had moved here from other states. Occupations included salesmen, real estate brokers, physicians, as well as a janitor, engineer, teacher and bookkeeper. Many of the households employed servants, mainly of Irish descent. In subsequent decades, an increasing number of lodgers and boarders were recorded by census enumerators, and many of the houses were divided into rooming houses following the First World War. Three of the twelve houses built by Dunn were sold in the late 1920s and demolished to build the 15-story tan brick apartment house that is adjacent to, but outside, the historic district at 50 West 106th Street (Peter M. Coco, 1929), at the southwest corner of Manhattan Avenue.

Description of 123A, 123, 125, 127, 129, 131, 133, 135 and 137 Manhattan Avenue: Like all the buildings in the historic district, the houses in this row have a picturesque character, incorporating Queen Anne, Romanesque and Gothic features. Though the houses display similar features, none appear to be identical. For instance, the facades are crowned by three types of gables, one narrow, one broad, and a projecting flat gable that steps up at the sides. An interesting mixture of materials was also employed, juxtaposing red brick with textured brownstone, limestone, and earth-colored terra-cotta. Each house was originally accessed by way of a conventional stoop, all of which remain.

Description: Brick facade above rusticated brownstone basement; arched basement fenestration with rusticated voussoirs and possibly historic window; conventional stoop with iron handrails; three bays at first story, including entryway; possibly historic door enframent at entryway, including molded transom bar, reveals, and security gate; adjoining flush limestone hooded lintels with keystones above fenestration and entryway at first story; flush limestone hooded lintels with keystones and projecting limestone sills at second and third stories; terra-cotta panels featuring floral ornament beneath first story fenestration; second story stone sill is continuous and bracketed, forming balconette with iron railing; stone and stepped brick bands between first and second stories; recessed brick niches beneath third story fenestration featuring terra-cotta panels with floral decoration; pointed brick gable with brick corbelling, limestone coping, finial, and other stone details; third story hooded lintels incorporated into gable; globe finial at peak of pointed gable; brick parapet with stone coping; stepped brick bands beneath parapet

Alterations: stoop and limestone details painted; facade possibly painted; security grilles at basement and first stories; ironwork at areaway [historic ironwork on premises]; security gate at stoop; lighting at entryway




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