171-177 Riverside Drive, AKA 347 West 89th Street, AKA 326 West 90th Street2 buildings
171-177 Riverside Drive, AKA 347 West 89th Street, AKA 326 West 90th Street
NB Number: NB 408-1925
Type: Apartment Building
Architect: Carpenter, J. E. R.
Developer/Owner/Builder: 175 Riverside Drive Corporation
NYC Landmarks Designation: Historic District
Landmark Designation Report:Riverside Drive- West End Historic District
National Register Designation: N/A
Primary Style: Neo-Renaissance
Primary Facade: Buff brick, Limestone, and Terra Cotta
Window Type/Material: Six-over-six (Alterations)
Structure: This fifteen story apartment building occupies the entire block front of Riverside Drive between West 89th and West 90th Streets, extending approximately 238 feet along the drive, and 174 and 113 feet along the side streets, respectively. The building has an irregular plan with an interior courtyard and conforms to a roughly triangular site created by the diagonal line of Riverside Drive. The contour of the building is highlighted by the chamfered southwest corner. The building was constructed in two separate units (divided by a fire wall perpendicular to Riverside Drive) and is faced with limestone to the third story and gray buff brick laid in Flemish bond with terra-cotta trim above. The structure has Gothic-inspired ornament. Approximately fifty-five percent of the original six-over-six wood sash windows are extant.
Riverside Drive Facade: This apartment building has an imposing Riverside Drive facade. Its fifteen stories are grouped into four major horizontal sections. The lowest of these consists of a three story limestone base separated by a stringcourse from the fourth story which is faced in brick and topped by a decorative bandcourse. (The first story contains five doors.) The two middle sections are defined by stringcourses capping the eighth and twelfth stories. The upper section is composed of three stories; minor stringcourses further articulate the sections. The structure is capped by a terra cotta parapet with balustrade. The expansive facade acquires a certain rhythm from its twenty-six bays of rectangular window openings grouped in five major divisions. The central grouping consists of ten bays flanked on each side by two groups of four bays each. Alternating groupings have more closely set windows. The majority of the window openings are not ornamented, but the second, fifth, ninth, and thirteenth story openings are topped by pointed arches with ornamented tympanums. Other detailing includes quoins, lattice grilles, fluted pilasters, rosettes, cartouches, and fishes placed throughout the facade.
West 89th Street Facade: This facade has the same overall design as that of the Riverside Drive facade, with a total of seventeen bays arranged in five major divisions. The main entrance to the building is placed in the center of this facade. A pair of wood and glass doors with metal grilles and a transom above are topped by a multipane window that conforms to the shape of the molded ogee arch which forms the entrance opening. The entrance is flanked by four-over-four wood-framed windows. Pilasters framing the windows support a simple flat entablature. Carved faces ornament the doorway.
West 90th Street Facade: This facade has a total of thirteen bays arranged in six divisions. An entrance, slightly west of center, has an opening with rounded corners flanked by windows and topped by three windows with decorative stone and metal grille work balconies.
Eastern Elevation: Parts of the eastern elevation are visible from both West 89th Street and West 90th Street. On 90th Street it fronts a narrow alleyway. The elevation is faced in brick and has windows like those on the facades. The courtyard elevations are partially visible from West 89th Street. They are also faced in brick and have the same type of windows, with the addition of slit windows.
Historic District: Riverside Drive- West End HD
Alterations: Approximately forty-five percent of the original windows have been replaced with one-over-one aluminum sash. The light fixtures flanking the doorway and the entrance canopy are not original.
History: This apartment building was constructed in 1925-26 according to the plans of architect J.E.R. Carpenter for the 175 Riverside Drive Corporation (Anthony Campagna, President). Previously on the site were two four story stone faced mansions. Facing Riverside Drive near the middle of the block between West 89th and West 90th Streets was the residence of a wealthy widow, Elizabeth Scriven-Clark, designed by Ernest Flagg and built in 1898-1900. Scriven-Clark later married Henry Codman Potter, Episcopal Bishop of New York from 1887. Potter was the brother of architect William Appleton Potter (known for schools, government buildings, and churches designed in the Romanesque Revival style) and initiated the work on the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Just to the north of the “Potter” residence, as it became known, at the southeast corner of West 90th Street and Riverside Drive, stood the limestone residence of Cyrus Clark, erected in the 1880s. Clark, a community leader, was known as the “father” of the Upper West Side. Selected References: “Apartment House, 173-175 Riverside Drive, New York City,” Architecture & Building 58 (1928), 102-103. M. Christine Boyer, Manhattan Manners (New York, 1985), 210. New York City Department of Taxes Photograph Collection, Municipal Archives and Record Collection, H 2370. Peter Salwen, “The Rice Mansion and Its Neighbors: Early Views of Riverside Drive,” LPC Research Files, 1980