56 West 66th Street (First Battery Armory)


56 West 66th Street (First Battery Armory)

 

Date: 1900-03

Type: Armory

Architect: Horgan & Slattery

NYC Landmarks Designation:  Individual Landmark

Landmark Designation Report: First Battery Armory

Primary Style: Beaux-Arts

Façade (primary material): Brick

Stories: 3

Window Type: One-over-one double-hung

Structure: Cast-iron columns and steel girders

Alterations: New aluminum and glass doorway, new door, metal rolldown doors at side entries

Excerpt from LPC Designation Report of August 1, 1989:

Built in 1900-1903, the First Battery Armory (later the 102nd Medical Battalion Armory) was one of the few remaining examples of an American building type largely developed in New York City.  It was the seventh of ten armories built by the New York City Armory Board as part of a general campaign to control rioting workers in industrial cities.  The armory was designed by the firm of Horgan & Slattery when it held a virtual monopoly on city architectural and construction work gained through a relationship with the Tammany administration of Mayor Robert Van Wyck.  The First Battery, a mounted field artillery unit established in 1867, was a well-regarded volunteer unit of the National Guard of the State of New York.  Primarily German-American in its membership, it had its own distinctive traditions that extended to its uniforms and its armory.  When the leadership of hte First Battery changed in 1907 from Louis Wendel to Major John F. O’Ryan, a leader in the reform of the National Guard, the changes represented the transformation of the National Guard in that era from a group of largely concerned with social affairs to a professional military organization and from an urban police force to an adjunct of the army.  Like most New York City armories, six of which are designated New York City landmarks, the First Battery Armory consists of a headhouse of conventional construction and a rear drillroom with a large interior space created by steel trusses; a symmetrical composition of the headhouse with a central tower and end pavilions; and ornamentation derived largely from medieval sources.  The facade of the First Battery Armory is a lively, brightly colored composition of turrets, crenelations, sally ports, machicolations, and other castle-like features, some of which are functional and others purely decorative.  From 1913 to about 1973 the Armory was occupied by the 102nd Medical Battalion and its predecessors.  And since 1976 it has been used as a television studio by Capital Cities/ABC. 

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