What can be termed a “double wide” in New York parlance, 15 East 81st Street was completed in 1921 for Grenville Lindall Winthrop, the architect was Julius Gayler. A little more than 16,000 square feet in size, built in the Neo-Federal style – reserved red brick facade, entryway framed by an ionic portico, windows with simple white marble lintels. Really one of the better executed and more beautiful homes in the style. What is obviously from almost any photos to be found online, the rear garden has been covered by a greenhouse and has a large swimming pool protected yet open to the sunshine, a very rare commodity in NYC homes.
3 East 75th Street The Stuart Duncan House built by CPH Gilbert in 1904. It was converted into apartments during the Great Depression and has been up until recently a rental building, converted to condo’s in 2004.
“Designed by Trowbridge, Colt & Livingston this French-Renaissance mansion was originally constructed in 1896 for shipping magnate Nathaniel McCready”
The Harkness House at One East 75th Street is a beautifully example of the neo-Italian Renaissance style, built in 1907-08 by James Gamble Rogers of the firm Hale And Rogers as the private home of Edward Harkness. The building lot is relatively thin and elongated, having only 32 feet facing Fifth Avenue and 100 on 75, thus the entrance was placed on the side street so as to allow for a better layout and access to light on the interiors. Height-wise the building is in total seven stories, two are underground and the top floor is set back beyond a stone balustrade, providing an appearance of only four stories, understated elegance and a modest lack of ostentation, save for the beautiful wrought iron fence around the property which is considered by many, us included, to be one of the finest examples of cast iron work in the city.
Throughout his life Edward Harkness can perhaps best be called a philanthropist, having not worked so much as managed his families wealth and given back to society, when he died January 29th 1940, he left the home to his wife Mary, but instructed that on her passing his fortune would be given to education and charitable organizations. The house on 75th was given to The Commonwealth Fund, of which Edwards mother Anna had founded in 1918, and is today still their headquarters.
The small stretch of Madison Avenue from 72nd street to 71st street has almost feels as if it’s become Ralph Lauren’s private block. Lauren has leased the original and iconic flagship store the Rhinelander Mansion since 1983, as of 2011 the woman’s collection is housed in an equally imposing building across the street, and the kids collection further south closer to 71st street.
The Rhinelander Mansion itself, was commissioned by Gertrude Rhinelander Waldo to be her residence, it was designed by Kimball & Thompson in the, popular at the time, French Renaissance style and completed in 1898. The building is richly adorned with French gothic ornamentation, magnificent stone carvings, slender dormers, and a beautiful slate roof. The ornate building itself, oddly enough mimics the story of its habitation, or lack thereof, Mrs Waldo in fact never moved in to the building choosing instead to live with her sister across the street. She passed away 1911 leaving the building filled with unpacked antiquities and art work, a mortgage and unpaid taxes. Dime Savings Bank who then took possession of the home made the effort to demolish the home to build an apartment building, but was denied zoning by the city. The mansion more or less remained empty and uncared for until 1921 when it was converted to ground floor retail and apartments above. Over the years the inside was further divided and subdivided, Wikipedia has a good history of the how the property eventually came in to the hands of Ralph Lauren. I skip over this part because in researching the mansion, I’ve been curious who exactly the Rhinelander’s were and how they were tied to NYC.