In terms of architectural survivors amid Manhattan’s everlasting churn of destruction and redevelopment, it’s exhausting to prime the 211-year-old, four-story brick landmark at 67 Greenwich Road within the monetary district. Initially the townhouse of the service provider Robert Dickey, the decorous Federal-style dwelling was in-built 1810 close to the island’s southern tip, when close by wharves bustled with commerce and decrease Greenwich Road was among the many metropolis’s poshest addresses.
Within the two centuries since, as Decrease Manhattan got here to be outlined not by forests of ships’ masts however by forests of skyscrapers, the home has weathered an astonishing quantity of upheaval. The disruption it has survived features a neighborhood-ravaging hearth, a street-widening challenge that claimed its rear secure, the development and deconstruction of elevated railways working previous each its back and front doorways, the digging of subway tunnels on both facet of its basis, the wholesale razing of neighboring post-Revolutionary Conflict homes for the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and, lastly, the 9/11 assaults just a few blocks north.
Now the Greenwich Road and Trinity Place facades of the long-deteriorating home have been handsomely restored by its proprietor, Trinity Place Holdings, the actual property outfit that emerged from the 2011 chapter of the Syms low cost clothes chain. The fully rebuilt inside of the Dickey Home will grow to be a part of a brand new residence for Public College 150, which will even occupy a lot of the backside eight flooring of a brand new 42-story condominium subsequent door at 77 Greenwich Road, the place a bunkerlike Syms retailer beforehand stood.
The glass tower, which was designed by FXCollaborative and can open this summer time, rises from a cast-stone base and is cantilevered in steps over the historic constructing, its protrusions rising from two toes on the eleventh ground to 10 toes on the thirty second.
The northern wall of the Dickey Home, which can have retained authentic hand-hewn posts and beams in addition to horsehair plaster, was sacrificed to the challenge. New concrete ground slabs run uninterrupted between the 2 buildings, seamlessly conjoining the decrease tales of the college, which is to open in September 2022.
Town landmarks fee accepted the tower’s cantilevers and the work on the home, and the New York Landmarks Conservancy will acknowledge the home restoration at subsequent month’s annual Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards.
Decrease Greenwich Road — deliberate because the street out of city towards the village of the identical identify — is a legacy of a younger and impressive republic. Following the shoreline of the Hudson River, the road was constructed on landfill within the 1790s, lower than 15 years after the top of town’s seven-year occupation by British troops in 1783. Extending uptown from the Battery — a waterfront park the place society figures loved promenading — decrease Greenwich was quickly flanked by genteel Federal-style homes that earned the identify Millionaires Row for the houses close to the park on the road’s western facet.
The shipowner John Aspinwall Jr., a great-grandfather of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, resided at 58 Greenwich. DeWitt Clinton, town’s mayor and later the governor of New York State, lived at No. 84. Bishop John Henry Hobart, the rector of close by Trinity Church, referred to as No. 46 residence.
Town’s elite “populated the tip of Manhattan, erected their wonderful residences” and “mingled in enterprise and social life,” the historian-preservationist Gardner Osborn wrote in 1940. Some retailers, he famous, might even “look out their home windows and benefit from the thrill of seeing one in all their very own ships developing the Bay laden with silks from China” or “spices and tea from the East Indies.”
Dickey, who traded in espresso and spices, was among the many metropolis’s richest males. In 1809, he started constructing two brick homes that got here to be numbered 65 and 67 Greenwich. Behind them, separated by gardens, he added a coach home, two stables and a storehouse dealing with Lumber Road (now Trinity Place).
Dickey’s household lived in what’s now No. 67, a broad, three-and-a-half-story home with a steeply pitched roof that will have been pierced by dormers. The Flemish-bond brick home was adorned with splayed lintels and fluted keystones on each facades, options shared by the household residence of the famous diarist George Templeton Robust at 108 Greenwich.
The Federal fashion in America flowed from England’s Georgian custom, with modifications that included a passion for round and oval rooms. Accordingly, maps and a stereographic photograph present that each of Dickey’s homes got trendy, elliptically bowed rear facades. No. 67 is one in all solely two remaining Federal-style townhouses in Manhattan with a bowed facade, and the one such facade that’s three bays broad.
The lack of a ship scuttled Dickey’s funds, based on the landmarks fee, and in 1821 he offered his two Greenwich Road homes. Quickly after, No. 67 was acquired by the ship chandler Peter Schermerhorn, whose previous Knickerbocker household had constructed the counting-houses at 2-18 Fulton Road in at this time’s South Road Seaport Historic District.
Decrease Greenwich Road remained trendy from the 1820s to the early 1840s, a interval throughout which the Schermerhorns rented No. 67 to a parade of society figures, together with William Bayard Jr., the director of the Financial institution of America. In 1830 the home turned the French Consulate for a yr.
A fireplace started east of decrease Broadway in 1845 and unfold to a Broad Road saltpeter warehouse, which exploded with a percussive drive felt in Brooklyn. On decrease Greenwich, the diarist Robust witnessed from his mother and father’ window, a half-mile to the southeast, “a broad column of intense flame that made the moon look pale and coated the whole lot with a glow and glare that handed each impact of synthetic mild which I had ever witnessed.”
When the fireplace leapt to Broadway’s west facet, Robust reported, “all people in Greenwich and Washington Streets as far up as Rector” fled “in scorching haste.” However although the blaze destroyed 300 buildings, it halted providentially 350 toes from 67 Greenwich.
By 1850, trendy society had largely headed uptown. Most homes on Greenwich had been transformed to boardinghouses, some with retailers or saloons. Financial institution administrators had been changed as tenants by shoemakers, stevedores and coopers.
The neighborhood’s transformation was embodied by the altering use of Fortress Backyard, a theater on the Battery, which opened within the 1820s with excessive ticket costs that typically stored the riffraff out. However in 1855, Fortress Backyard turned a teeming immigrant processing heart.
Trinity Place was widened within the 1860s for an elevated railroad, slicing away 67 Greenwich’s outbuildings. And in 1871, the Occasions reported, police raided 18 “low basement brothels” on Greenwich, together with No. 67. Males, ladies and ladies “of probably the most degraded and homely description” had been arrested.
No. 67 was modified the subsequent yr by the German-born architect Detlef Lienau, who had helped spark a mansard mania within the metropolis together with his 1852 French Second Empire design for the Shiff mansion on Fifth Avenue and tenth Road. His Greenwich Road alterations had been much less pretentious, befitting a constructing now labeled as a tenement. He created a full fourth story by elevating the roof’s pitch and lengthening the bowed rear facade upward. He additionally added a bracketed, pedimented stone hood over the entrance entrance.
By the Nineties, decrease Greenwich was a part of a burgeoning Syrian group, and in 1922 a storefront was added to No. 67’s rear facade. Companies which have operated within the constructing since embrace a cigar store, a espresso store, a males’s put on store, a mason’s enterprise and a ironmongery store.
Many of the Federal-style homes on decrease Greenwich had been clear-cut round 1940 for the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel exit and the Battery Parking Storage. However in the identical providential approach that the Nice Fireplace of 1845 stopped in need of No. 67, the tunnel challenge’s scythe halted simply south of the constructing.
The Syms Company purchased the home in 2008 for $8 million. Though No. 67’s south wall alongside Edgar Road was fully changed in 2013, the long-vacant construction remained “midway between a constructing and a spoil,” mentioned Dan Kaplan, senior companion of FXCollaborative. “You felt such as you had been in a noir film with mild streaming via.”
The delicate shell of the home was briefly stabilized by the set up inside it of a 150-ton spider internet of structural metal, which supported the east, west and south partitions. The home was gutted and new flooring of strengthened concrete had been poured at new elevations that aligned with the adjoining tower’s backside three tales. What had been a four-story home turned three tales, with the highest story of the Dickey Home left open to the sky as a rooftop play space. Lastly, as soon as the brand new concrete ground buildings and columns had been in place to brace the unique brick shell, the metal spider internet was lower away with blow torches.
The 1922 Trinity Place storefront, which contained a derelict bar-restaurant, was eliminated. The east and west facades had been restored to their tenement-era look, retaining about 80 % of the unique brickwork on Greenwich and 95 % on Trinity Place. A 3rd of the stone lintels on Trinity had been changed with solid stone. The broken stone brackets and pediment on the Greenwich entrance had been replicated in galvanized metal.
Some will doubtless applaud the adaptive reuse of the constructing, whereas others might denounce the challenge as an act of “facadism” that saved solely two historic partitions and nothing in between. However for the pedestrian, the restored streetfront of 67 Greenwich serves as probably the most evocative remaining touchstone of a thoroughfare as soon as lined with elegantly restrained houses within the English Georgian custom.
Only one block up are the one different vestiges of decrease Greenwich’s glory days, a row of three badly disfigured Federal-era townhouses. No. 94 Greenwich’s facet wall on Rector Road bears the scarred define of its long-lost gambrel roof beneath its newer fourth-story addition, whereas its road stage is a contemporary glass-and-steel storefront. Subsequent door, the reclad Cafe De NoVo constructing retains not a scrap of seen historic material. And No. 96 wears a shabbily appended rooftop addition and a gaudy gold-and-mirrored entrance, applicable apparel maybe for the longtime residence of the previous Pussycat Lounge strip membership.