New York Songlines: Lexington Avenue

with Irving Place

E 59th | E 58th | E 57th | E 56th | E 55th | E 54th (Citicorp Center) | E 53rd | E 52nd | E 51st | E 50th (Waldorf-Astoria) | E 49th | E 48th | E 47th | E 46th | E 45th | E 44th | E 43rd (Chrysler Building) | E 42nd | E 41st | E 40th | E 39th | E 38th | E 37th | E 36th | E 35th | E 34th | E 33rd | E 32nd | E 31st | E 30th | E 29th | E 28th | E 27th | E 26th | E 25th | E 24th | E 23th | E 22nd (Gramercy Park Hotel) | Gramercy Park N | Gramercy Park S (Irving Place) | E 19th (Pete's Tavern) | E 18th | E 17th | E 16th | E 15th | E 14th


lexington avenue by gemini spy, on Flickr Irving Place by edenpictures, on Flickr Irving Place and Lexington Avenue were not included in the original 1811 Manhattan grid plan, but were added in 1831 and 1832, respectively, by developer Samuel Ruggles. He named one for the author Washington Irving, a friend of his, and the other for the Revolutionary War battle site.

West:

International Plaza

750 (block): This 31-story blue cylindrical tower, topped with a Sumerian-style cone, is a 1989 work by Helmut Jahn.

























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Bloomingdale's

Bloomingdales 59th Street and Lexington Ave by hmerinomx, on Flickr

Block: Starting out selling hoop skirts on the Lower East Side in 1861, the Bloomingdale brothers had a proto-department store, the East Side Bazaar, by 1872, which they bloomingdale's by loop_oh, on Flickr moved to the corner of 59th and Lexington in 1886. By the 1920s, they had expanded to fill the entire block. It became part of Federated Department Stores (parent company of Macy's), in 1930; the following year the cobbled-together store here was remodeled in a unifying Art Deco style. The store is credited with inventing the designer shopping bag in 1961; Queen Elizabeth shopped here in 1976.


W <===     EAST 59TH STREET     ===> E

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Bloomberg Tower

Bloomberg Tower by theDawg, on Flickr

Block (731 Lexington): A 55-story banded office tower that houses the billionaire mayor's media company, with condominiums known as One Beacon Court stretching above. Built in 2007 to a Cesar Pelli design. On the ground floor on this side are H&M, Swedish clothing chain; In The Court of Beacon by jpchan, on Flickr Swarovski jewelry; Geox sneakers; and the Container Store.

Previously on the site was Alex- ander's, the flagship of a discount department store chain founded in 1928 that went bankrupt in 1992; the five-story marble building here was built in 1968 and demolished in 1968. It survives as a real estate company controlled by Vornado (which itself began as the Two Guys discount chain).


W <===     EAST 58TH STREET     ===> E

West:

urbanisms 10-6-2009 6-22-42 PM by roccocell, on Flickr

720 (corner): Steve Madden shoes

718: Genesis, leather jackets and sunglasses







Corner (135 E 57th): A 31-story by minusbaby, on Flickr Post- Modern office tower with a con- cave facade facing the inter- section, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox and completed in 1987. The plaza in front features a temple-like ring NYFeb07 028 by p_c_w, on Flickr supported by columns. Originally there was a three- level ant- iques center here called Place des Antiquaires, but it didn't really get off the ground.

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New York & Company by B. Tse, on Flickr

715 (cor- ner): New York & Com- pany, wo- men's clothing




























W <===     EAST 57TH STREET     ===> E

West:

694 (corner): The Renaissance New York View from 56th and Lexington by j1myi, on Flickr Hotel 57 was built in 1923 as the Allerton Hotel for Women, designed by Arthur Loomis Harmon. It was the flagship of a chain that included six hotels in New York and extended to six other cities. The Women's University Club moved here from the Biltmore in 1956.

Kenneth Cole shoes, Indulge Jewelry, J Fay Jewelry and American Leather have been retail outlets here.

686: Harley Davidson motorcycles; Western Spirit, cowboy kitsch

684: Sherwood Deli

682: Ebony Style Salon, Victorian Chic clothing 56th and Lexington Ave by j1myi, on Flickr

680: City Camera

678 (cor- ner): Fromex One- Hour Photo

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695 (corner): In 1906, this was the address of one Henry A. Newburger, described as the 16-year-old son of a New Jersey dancing teacher, who tried to kill himself by throwing himself off a ferry at West 41st Street; he said he was afraid to tell his father that he had lost his job selling cutlery. Four years later, still living at the same address but now described as a dancing teacher himself, Newburger was arrested for trying to extort $25 from a dentist to expunge a nonexistent complaint.

Fitzpatrick Hotel Manhattan

687: A 16-story hotel built in 1926 as the Dover Hotel; it served mainly as a pied-a-terre for wealthy suburbanites until World War II, and later became a transient hotel. It was closed in 1982, then was purchased in 1991 by a Dublin-based chain.











681: Lifestyle Shoes

Corner: TGIFriday's


W <===     EAST 56TH STREET     ===> E

West:

664 (corner): Universal Magazines, Wedding Ring Originals, Original Soupman, Bodytech health store, Good Choice shoes, Vertigo & Friends clothing, Bonetto Luggage, Porta Bella men's clothing, Seed women's clothing.









660 (corner): Lexington Farm Deli

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Corner (140 E 56th): A 16-story beige-brick apartment building from 1956. On the ground floor are Filles et Garcons clothing, Cellini shoes and Scuba Network.





665: Saja shoes

663: Fresh Basil's, Italian

661 (corner ): Was Babies' Hospital, built 1902. Houses ULA Jewelry, MA Antiques.


W <===     EAST 55TH STREET     ===> E

West:

Central Synagogue

NYC: Central Synagogue by wallyg, on Flickr

652 (corner): Built in 1872, this is the oldest synagogue in continuous use as such in New York City. (The Reform congregation, Congregation Ahavath Chesed, was founded in 1839.) The architect, who worked in a Moorish style complete with onion domes, was Henry Fernbach, the first prominent NYC-May 09_77 (Central Synagogue) by mgrenner57, on Flickr Jewish architect in the U.S.; he used Budapest's Dohány Street Synagogue as a model. The interior was restored after a devastating 1998 fire.


640: Health King

642: Prince Pizza

638 (corner): goodburger, local mini-chain

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651 (corner): Mango women's clothing, Jubilee New York shoes, Bianca Jewelers, Eyes on the World opticians






























W <===     EAST 54TH STREET     ===> E

West:

Citibank Building

Block: This "bland, undistinguished, 39-story tower" ( City Review), designed by Carson & Lundin and Kahn & Jacobs, has been since 1961 the headquarters of Citigroup-- notwithstanding the 1978 construction of the more prominent Citicorp Center. The move here by Citibank--then known as the First National Bank of New York--sparked a trend of big banks moving from Wall Street to Midtown.

There's a Hale & Hearty Soup and a Pret a Manger on the ground floor--local chains.

















































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St. Peter's Lutheran Church of Manhattan

10-25-09_IMG_9510 by professor megan, on Flickr

Corner: The congregation was founded in 1862 as the Deutsche Evangelische Lutherische Sanct Petri-Kirche, originally meeting above a feed store on 49th and Lexington. It moved to the present location in 1905; it sold that building in 1970 to Citicorp, with the provision that the congregation would get a new church cantilevered under the office tower. The present building, a pyramid-like Modernist building, was completed in 1977, designed by Emery Roth & Sons, with an interior by Vignelli Associates.

Citicorp Center

Citigroup Center by Troy McClure SF, on Flickr

Block: Fifty-nine stories built in 1977 for the banking giant, designed by Hugh Stubbins Jr. The 45-degree angle on this building's roof--originally intended for solar panels that were Midtown East, NYC by nydiscovery, on Flickr never installed -- make it one of the most distinctive on the Midtown skyline. Set on four giant columns that allow it to cantilever over St. Peter's Church on Lexington. Includes Houston's, American, and Cucina, Italian; also a Barnes & Noble. citigroup center by Peter Guthrie, on Flickr

It was the first skyscraper in the United States to feature a tuned mass damper to protect against wind-induced oscillation. Nevertheless, the structure turned out to be dangerously vulnerable to hurricane-force winds, leading to reinforcements that were kept secret for 20 years.


W <===     EAST 53RD STREET     ===> E

West:

Shangri-La New York

610 (corner): This is a very slender, 61-story apartment/hotel tower that is planned for the former site of the YWCA New York headquarters, built here in 1912. It housed the first public swimming pool in New York state; the YWCA's national offices were here until 1980.

Marilyn Monroe's Subway Vent

marilyn_monroe_on_vent by TopTechWriter.US, on Flickr

600 (corner): One of the most iconic movie moments happened here--sort of-- in 1955's The Seven-Year Itch. Monroe and co-star Tom Ewell had just seen The Creature From the Black Lagoon at the Trans-Lux here when she cooled herself off with the breeze coming from the subway, in the process blowing her dress up above her waist. The hooting from the appreciative crowd forced director Billy Wilder to reshoot on a Hollywood soundstage, and Hays Office censors cut out any footage where her skirts rose above her knee. A fight over the scene helped cause Monroe's divorce from Joe DiMaggio.

The Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre was built here in 1940 as a newsreel house (at No. 596); Fellini's La Strada had its U.S. premiere here in 1956. By 1966 it was a parking lot.

The building here now is the Manhattan Tower, a 36-story multi-faceted office building put up in 1985 and designed by Emery Roth & Sons.

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599 (block): This 47-story, angular pale-green office tower, designed by Robert Segal of Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates and built by Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman in 1986, has a triangular plaza on its northwest corner, opening up vistas for the Citicorp Center. The lobby facing the plaza features Frank Stella's 1985 painted sculpture, Salto Nel Mio Sacco ("Jump Into My Sack"). 51st Street & Lexington Ave/53rd by jpellgen, on Flickr

If you ever transfer from the 6 train to the E or the F, you have this building to thank-- the developers built a connection in order to be allowed more bulk. There's a nifty wedge-shaped glass canopy over the entrance in the plaza.



















W <===     EAST 52ND STREET     --> ===> E

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Lexington Avenue at 51st Street by midweekpost, on Flickr

Block (345 Park): A 44-story office tower built in 1969 to an Emery Roth & Sons design.









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591 (corner): Oxford Cafe



575 (corner): The Grolier Building, a 33-floor office tower built in 1958. It was originally clad in gold-tinted glass, and was reclad in the 1980s. It was the headquarters of Grolier, publishers of the Encyclopedia Americana and the Book of Knowledge. DC Comics was another original tenant, having moved here from 480 Lexington. Camera Land is on the ground floor.


W <===     EAST 51ST STREET     ===> E

West:

RCA Victor Building

NYC 570 Lexington Avenue by RobertF, on Flickr

570 (corner): A 1931 Art Deco landmark by Cross & Cross, designed to complement St. Bartholomew's to its west. Later renamed the General Electric Building. Includes Mr. K's, Chinese.
















560 (corner): The Terence Cardinal Cooke-Cathedral Branch of the New York Public Library originated as the Catholic Archdiocese's Cathedral Library Association. It's a small branch located below street level.

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Doubletree Metropolitan

it wasn't supposed to be this way by ~BostonBill~, on Flickr

569 (corner): Built in 1961 as The Summit, designed by Morris Lapidus with a curving facade in sea green brick. Later Loews New York Hotel. Restored in 2004, when it became part of the Doubletree train. Includes the Met Grill.

Earlier on this site, at No. 571, was the Nursery and Child's Hospital, originally founded in 1854 to provide daycare for the children of wet nurses, but by 1859, when it moved here, focused on providing medical care to indigent children and pregnant women. NYC: Benjamin Hotel by wallyg, on Flickr

Corner (125 E 50th): The Benjamin, luxury hotel in a 28-story Emory Roth building from 1927--formery the Hotel Beverly.


W <===     EAST 50TH STREET     ===> E

West:

The Waldorf-Astoria

Waldorf Astoria by Rafael Chamorro, on Flickr

301 (block): One of the world's most famous hotels started out where the Empire State Building is now--formed by the merger of the Waldorf and Astoria hotels, owned by rival branches of the Astor family. (Waldorf was John Jacob Astor's German hometown.) When the skyscraper replaced the old NYC: Waldorf Astoria by wallyg, on Flickr hotel, it moved to this 625-foot Art Deco landmark (designed by Schultze & Weaver), at the time the largest hotel in the world; when it opened on September 30, 1931, the first guest to be served dinner was the king of Siam.

Former president Herbert Hoover lived here, as did future president JFK; other long-term residents the Duke of include Waldorf-Astoria Lobby by iceman9294, on Flickr Windsor, Henry Kissinger and generals Eisenhower, MacArthur and Bradley. All the sitting presidents since FDR have stayed here as guests; LBJ met with Pope Paul VI here on October 4, 1965, during the first papal visit to the U.S. The first Tony Awards were presented here on April 6, 1947. Waldorf thru Lights on 52nd by midweekpost, on Flickr

The hotel was featured in the Ginger Rogers film Weekend at the Waldorf, as well as the Jennifer Lopez vehicle Maid in Manhattan. Sandy Dennis and Jack Lemmon were not able to stay here in The Out-of-Towners, Al Pacino picks the place for a last hurrah in Scent of a Woman, and Gene Hackman is kicked out of the hotel (appearing as the Lindbergh Palace) in The Royal Tenenbaums. Its namesake New York - Park Avenue - Waldorf Astoria Hotel - Photo taken with my iPhone by Fabio - Miami, on Flickr salad is compared to an Irving Berlin ballad in the song "You're the Top." The hotel's Empire Room was an early venue for Frank Sinatra and Diana Ross.

The hotel is now owned by the Hilton chain.

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The view from our hotel room by bhermans, on Flickr

W New York

541 (corner): The first of Westin's W line of luxury hotels, it was redesigned by David Rockwell in 1998 to evoke the four natural elements. Includes the stylish hotel bar Whiskey Blue. NYFeb07 095 by p_c_w, on Flickr

The building dates to 1928 and was designed by Emery Roth, and has been variously known as the Montclair Hotel, the Belmont Plaza and (most recently) the Doral Inn.


W <===     EAST 49TH STREET     ===> E

West:

Intercontinental The Barclay

NYC - InterContinental Barclay Hotel by wallyg, on Flickr

Block (111 E 48th): Built in 1926 as the Barclay Hotel, designed by Cross & Cross. Noted for an oversized birdcage in the lobby. 200811 intercontinental by superciliousness, on Flickr Ronald Reagan liked to stay here; Bill Clinton made it his New York head- quarters in 1992. Heads of state like Francois Mitterrand and Nelson Mandela have stayed here because of its proximity to the U.N.; other celebrity guests have included Bette Davis, Marlon Brando and Ernest Hemingway.



518: In the hotel is the flagship store of Caswell-Massey, the oldest pharmacy in America, founded in Newport, R.I. in 1752. Its first New York store opened in 1857; this has been its main branch since 1926. The pharmacy's No. 6 cologne was a favorite of George Washington and Jenny Lind; the Marquis de Lafayette stocked up on it when he visited the U.S. in 1826. Sarah Bernhardt had Caswell-Massey express her 30 jars of cucumber night cream before she embarked on a European tour. Other notable customers have included Lillian Russell, Diamond Jim Brady, Edwin Booth, Katharine Hepburn, Albert Einstein, Greta Garbo and the Aga Khan.

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Marriott East Side

New York Marriott East Side by MGChan, on Flickr

525 (cor- ner): The hotel was built in 1924 as the Shelton Hotel (later Halloran House), once the tallest hotel in the world and highly influential in its cubistic setbacks (though it's got plenty of Gothic gargoyles as well). New York Marriott East Side by MGChan, on Flickr

Painter Georgia O'- Keefe lived here with photographer Alfred Stieglitz from 1925-35; both made use of their 30th floor view in their art. In August 1926, Harry Houdini was soldered into an iron coffin and lowered into the basement swimming pool; he stayed submerged for 91 minutes. In 1941, art collector Peggy Guggenheim lived here with surrealist Max Ernst, whom she had helped escape from Nazi-occupied France. New York Marriott Hotel by Marionzetta, on Flickr

Soon after it reopened as the Marriott East Side, it was the site of the assassination of far-right Israeli politician Meir Kahane on November 5, 1990. Alleged assassin Sayyid Nosair (he was convicted only of gun charges) was connected to militants who later tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993.


W <===     EAST 48TH STREET     ===> E

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Hotel by idrewuk, on Flickr

511 (corner): Radisson Lexington Hotel A 27-story hotel that was home to Joe DiMaggio during his 18 Yankee seasons; Marilyn Monroe stayed here when they were married. Noted for its Hawaiian Room in 1936.


Roger Smith Hotel Marquee, NYC Night by jasonkeath, on Flickr

501 (corner): The manage- ment of the Roger Smith Hotel does not seem to know who Roger Smith was.


W <===     EAST 47TH STREET     ===> E

West:

480 (block): This was the site of the Grand Central Palace, which hosted in April 1917 the First Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists. Dadaist art critic Arthur Cravan was arrested there for shouting obscenities and undressing during a lecture. Later it served as New York City's main induction center for World War II draftees.

In 1938, the fledgling Detective Comics (now DC) moved to this address, where Superman and Batman were first published. The company moved to 575 Lexington in late 1958. 383 Madison Avenue (former Bear Stearns headquarters) from the Empire State Building by Alan Cordova, on Flickr

The present building dates to the 1960s and was the headquarters of the financial firm Bear Sterns, which failed spectacularly in the financial panic of 2008.

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lexington avenue by Digiart2001 | jason.kuffer, on Flickr

485 (block): Grand Central Square, a 31-story building from 1956. This is the temporary home of the Donnell branch of the New York Public Library.


















W <===     EAST 46TH STREET     ===> E

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466 (block): Park Avenue Atrium, built in 1984 around a huge glassed-in courtyard.









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475 (corner): Guilford Apartments. Viennese Deli on the ground floor.










W <===     EAST 45TH STREET     ===> E

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Reflections by Digiart2001 | jason.kuffer, on Flickr

450 (corner): Grand Central Post Office, a 1909 neo-Classical structure of seven stories, designed by Warren & Wetmore and Reed & Stem as part of the Grand Central project. A 40-story office tower was added in 1990, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.














Graybar Building

Graybar Building by fmorondo, on Flickr

420: This was the largest (not tallest) in New York City when it was built in 1927. Notable for the metal rats above its canopy entrance, supposed to NYC: Graybar Building - Rats on the mooring line canopy by wallyg, on Flickr evoke New York's maritime heritage.











Grand Hyatt Hotel

Corner (125 E 42nd): Was the Commodore Grand Hyatt New York by Rob Lee, on Flickr Hotel, built in 1920 and named after Com- modore Vanderbilt, who built Grand Central. Here in 1948 Rep. Richard Nixon, on behalf of the House Un-American Activities Committee, confronted P1010038 by not_Aaron, on Flickr accused spy Alger Hiss with his accuser, Whit- taker Chambers. Earlier, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were thrown out of here after being thrown out of the Biltmore.

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Corner: The haunted Dolphin Hotel in the John Cusack movie 1408 is located at 45th and Lex--I think at this corner, though I'm not sure. The address given, which is something like 2254, would be just after Lexington ends at 131st Street--conveniently enough.


E 44TH         E ===>

425 Lexington Avenue by Zruda, on Flickr

425 (block): Commerce Place, a 1988 building by Murphy/Jahn, has an entrance that looks the AIA Guide says looks like ''the portal to the lair of the Emperor Ming.''


E 43RD         E ===>

Chrysler Building

The Chrysler building by WordRidden, on Flickr

When it was built in 1930, the 123-foot spire was added at the last minute to make it the tallest building in the world--for a few months, until surpassed by the Empire State Building. Still makes the ESB look square.

William Van Alen's design uses automobile themes throughout; the 100-by-97-foot tribute to transportation Art Deco 1 by mutbka, on Flickr on the lobby's ceiling is said to be the largest mural in the world.

The first color TV transmissions ever were broadcast from here by CBS on September 3, 1940. Writer James Agee is said to have dangled himself out a window of Fortune magazine's 50th floor offices here. The spire serves as a lair in the cult monster movie Q.

Chrysler Building by Chris in Philly '08, on Flickr

The build- ing is slight- ly askew to the Man- hattan grid because the property line follows the 18th Century East Post Road. The site was previously the Bloomingdale Brewery, the city's largest beer-maker.


W <===     EAST 42ND STREET     ===> E

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Chanin Building

Manhattan Art Deco by cogito ergo imago, on Flickr

Block (122 E 42nd): A 1929 Art Deco master- piece by Sloan & Robertson, noted for the tropical vegetation, birds and fish design that circles the building. The Chanin brothers were developers who built much of the Theater District. Now houses Daikichi Sushi and Apple Bank for Savings.

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Mobil Building

Lexington Avenue by ijonas, on Flickr

Block (150 E 42nd): 1955 structure made from pressed stainless steel had the largest air-conditioning system in the world-- and, on the second floor, the largest expanse of floor space.



W <===     EAST 41ST STREET     ===> E

There was a steam tunnel explosion at this intersection on July 18, 2007, killing one and injuring 30.

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363 (corner): A 26-story building from 1937.

Lexington Avenue by ijonas, on Flickr

355 (corner): A 22-story building by Emory Roth & Sons, built in 1958, featuring horizontal bands of windows and a pyramid-like setbacks.


W <===     EAST 40TH STREET     ===> E

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W <===             EAST 39TH STREET             ===> E

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Corner (130 E 39th): Doral Court Hotel











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315 (corner): Cuban Mission to the U.N.


W <===             EAST 38TH STREET             ===> E

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303 (corner): Shelburne Murray Hill Hotel dates to 1926; houses Rare, gourmet burger joint; formerly the Secret Harbor Bistro.


W <===             EAST 37TH STREET             ===> E

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Corner (130 E 37th): The AIA Guide describes this house as "an expatriate from Greenwich Village."
Wall Collapse at 36th St and Lexington Ave. by how_long_it_takes, on Flickr

Corner (135 E 36th): Namibia's mission to the U.N.

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283: Soldiers', Sailors', Marines' and Airmens' Club; founded in 1919 to provide accomodations for members and veterans of the armed forces. In 1911, President William Howard Taft opened the first meeting of the Young Republicans Club here; New York City's is the oldest chapter.







W <===             EAST 36TH STREET             ===> E

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W <===             EAST 35TH STREET             ===> E

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250 (block): An 18-story building from 1969. Independence Community Bank in on the southeast corner.


















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245: Stern College for Women, part of Yeshiva University. Founded in 1954 with a grant from Max Stern, founder of the Hartz Mountain pet food company.

Buildings by allie™, on Flickr

Corner (139 E 34th): Handsome brick tower is the New York Headquarters of Opus Dei, a secretive right-wing Catholic order. The building, finished in 2001 but looking much older, has seven chapels and sacristies and separate entrances for men and women. The building is referred to in the novel The Da Vinci Code.


W <===             EAST 34TH STREET             ===> E

West:

Murray Park by edenpictures, on Flickr

120 (corner): The Murray Park, includes Pino's Restaurant, La Difference Nails (since 1984), Furry Paws Pet Supplies, the newsstand Extra Extra Read All About It, and, at the corner, a Guy & Gallard fancy coffee outlet. This 1963 building was the longtime home of novelist Ayn Rand, where she died on March 6, 1982.

222 (corner): Pellana Restaurant

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Corner: Sim's Food Stores

















W <===             EAST 33RD STREET             ===> E

West:

New York Design Center

Stairwell @ The New York Design Center by DrewVigal, on Flickr

200 (block): A resource center for interior designers and architects; the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects is based here. Built in 1926 as the New York Furniture Exchange.

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Yeshiva University Midtown Campus

Stern College for Women by edenpictures, on Flickr

Includes Stern College for Women, Sy Syms School of Business.










W <===             EAST 32ND STREET             ===> E

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184: Lexington Plaza, housing for the Stern College for Women.






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W <===             EAST 31ST STREET             ===> E

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Corner: Hong Kong Noodle Sushi, Chinese/Japanese

Touro College Lexington Campus

NYC - Kips Bay: Touro College Lexington Campus by wallyg, on Flickr

160 (corner): Built in 1909 as the New York School of Applied Design for Women; later the Pratt-New York Phoenix School of Design for Women. The AIA Guide calls the building, by Harvey Wiley Corbett, "a great tour de force of neo-Roman design."

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Ramada Eastside

161 (corner): Formerly the Rutledge Hotel for Women, built 1914. A nice-looking 12-story brick building.


W <===             EAST 30TH STREET             ===> E

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First Moravian Church

154 (corner): This church was built c. 1845 as the Rose Hill Baptist Church, which is now the Madison Avenue Baptist Church; it later became the Episcopal Church of the Mediator. The Moravians moved here in 1869; the congregation was founded in 1758 on Fulton Street. The denomination traces back to Jan Hus, burned at the stake for heresy in 1415.

The Old Print Shop by stan, on Flickr

150: Old Print Shop, good place to buy vintage maps. Founded 1898, here since 1925. Artist Joseph Cornell used to buy material for his collage boxes here.


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159 (corner): Penelope, cozy cafe Interior of Penelope...great breakfast at 30th and Lexington by Nealy-J, on Flickr

























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Lahori Kabab by edenpictures, on Flickr

124: Lahori Kabab -- refer- ring to Lahore, the second-largest city in Pakistan. Upstairs is Music of India, CD store.

120 (corner): Chinese Mirch, Indian/Chinese fusion, named for a hot pepper. This was, until his death in 1906, the home and office of Dr. Edward Bliss Foote, a birth-control pioneer, women's suffrage advocate, co-founder of the Free Speech League and the author of a children's sex education book involving ''Sponsie, the Troublesome Monkey'' (1874). Foote was the first person to be prosecuted for obscenity by postal inspector Anthony Comstock.

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129: Was Rocky Sullivan's, Irish bar opened by Chris Byrne of Black 47 and Irish Voice editor Patrick Farrelly. Relocated to Brooklyn.

127: Chez le Chef, French restaurant known for its pastries, and even more so for chef Federic Piepenburg's tall white hat and matching beard.

Kalustyan's

kalustyan's spices and imports by stumptownpanda, on Flickr

123: Chester Arthur, a leader of the Repub- lican Party machine as head of New York's Custom House, became vice president in 1881 as a sop to the anti-reform faction. When President Garfield was assassinated later that year, a in Kalustyan's by stumptownpanda, on Flickr he took the oath of office in this building--the only president besides Washington to be sworn in in New York. Never elected to the presidency, he was not renominated in 1884, and died at this brownstone in 1886.

Media mogul William Randolph Hearst also lived Veggie Combo by Pabo76, on Flickr here, from 1900 until 1903.

Today the house is better known as Kalustyan's--a Mideastern/South Asian grocery that has been a neighborhood fixture since 1944--many New York restaurants buy their ingredients here. Mideastern takeout upstairs. Lexington Avenue Streetscape by Mr. T in DC, on Flickr

119 (cor- ner): Curry in a Hurry, an afford- able Indian restaurant owned by Kalustyan's. I've eaten here often.


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118 (corner): Little Michael Deli has a friendly cat.

116: La Petite Auberge ("The Little Inn") Bistro Francais















Pongal Indian Vegitarian by eralon, on Flickr

110: Time Out cites Pongal Indian Vegetarian as an outstanding example of the several vegetarian South Asian restaurants in this neighborhood. The name refers to a South Indian harvest festival, as well as a rice-based dish.

108: Annapurna Indian

106: Indowok, Indian/Chinese fusion. The Gobi Manchurian is amazing. Was Doug Taylor antiques.

104: Madras Mahlveg, vegetarian-kosher

102: Tamil Nadu Bhavan, South Indian vegetarian

100 (corner): Cardamomm, Indian noted for its wine list.

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rice lights by kurtrik, on Flickr

115 (corner): Was Rice, serving exotic and delicious varieties of the namesake grain. Briefly Kulustyan's Masala Cafe.





01 Haandi Restaurant by jasonlam, on Flickr

113: Haandi -- Pakistani, Indian, Bangla- deshi. The best food in Curry Hill, according to the Voice's Robert Sietsma.

105: Was Aurora, 1930s Armenian restaurant.

103: Chatkhara Restaurant & Sweets

101: Udipi Palace; the Vegan Guide to New York City says this Indian vegetarian is ''the tastiest of them all'' (on this block). Curry Leaf by edenpictures, on Flickr

99 (cor- ner): Curry Leaf Regional Cuisine, owned by Kalustyan's. In the 1970s, Shaheen Sweets was here. The four-story building went up c. 1910.


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90 (corner): Modernist low-rise, built as an annex to 88 next door.








88 Lexington Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

88 (cor- ner): A 17- story build- ing from 1927, designed by Necarsulmer & Lehlbach. Said to be the original New York Blue Cross/Blue Shield building

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97 (corner): New York Deli Lex

83: New Kasturi Pavilion, vegetarian & non-vegetarian food







81 (corner): Saravanaa Bhavan, Indian Saravanaas by roboppy, on Flickr vegetarian with seven A's in its name. Part of an international chain based in Chennai, India.


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69th Regiment Armory

69th Regiment Armory by Rafael Chamorro, on Flickr

68 (block): This building was the home of the Armory Show in 1913, which introduced modern art to the United States. Organized by the American Association of Painters and Sculptors, a group that represented the "Ashcan School" of social realism, the show brought widespread attention (and initially ridicule) to abstract painters like Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh and Cezanne. Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase was singled out for abuse and parody.

The "Fighting 69th" of the New York Army National Guard was 1904, Lexington Ave. by CORNERSTONES of NY, on Flickr ''New York's only official Irish regiment,'' according to New York City Land- marks. The troop fought in the Civil War with heavy casualties, and took part in both world wars.

A state historian notes: ''These armories were meant to be literal fortresses, designed to defend respectable, middle- and upper-class Americans from the 'dangerous classes.' ''

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77: Famous Original Ray's Pizza; not one of the more famous or original ones.

61: Nur's Smart Shop Inc. (Soda Snacks Coffee Stationery) is on the site of the Kit-Kat Club, founded in 1881, where artists met to criticize each others' work and have smoking parties. In 1930, this was the address of the Belmore Hotel.
































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50 Lexington Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

50 (corner): A 27-floor co-op built in 1987.

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57: Was the Van Twiller Hotel; in 1930, it was known as the Hotel Amsterdam. In 1972, the gay bar Leo's Lion was at this address.

Baruch College

Baruch College by akuban, on Flickr

55 (block): CUNY's business school. Originally the business school of the College of the City of New York, the school was renamed in 1953 for financier and presidential advisor Bernard Baruch, CCNY class of 1889.

This building is Baruch's new "Vertical Campus"--one of the few new buildings that make the 21st Century Hillary @ Baruch by AP..., on Flickr seem like it might be fun. The Lexington side features the campus bookstore. Comedian Todd Barry played a benefit show here at the Rose Nagelberg Theatre, April 30, 2003.

The building replaced RCA Victor Studios, where Elvis Presley recorded "Hound Dog" and "Don't Be Cruel" in 1956. Other musicians to use the recording facilities here include Marian Anderson, Harry Belafonte and Perry Como.


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38: Jinpra Frame

32: Sea World Fried Fish












131 East 23rd Street by edenpictures, on Flickr

131 (corner): Twelve-story building from 1912 by Buchman & Fox; converted to apartments in 1996.

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George Washington Hotel

The George Washington by edenpictures, on Flickr

23 (block): A 16-story hotel built in 1929, designed by Frank M. Andrews, who also did the McAlpin Hotel. Writers Christopher Isherwood and W.H. Auden stayed here in 1939; Auden called it "much the nicest hotel in town." George Washington Corner by edenpictures, on Flickr" align="left" vspace="4" hspace="4" /> Dee Dee Ramone lived here c. 1991, when it was much less nice. Now a dorm for the School of Visual Arts.


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Corner (132 E 23rd): Beach Bum Tanning







Terakawa Ramen by edenpictures, on Flickr

18: Terakawa Ramen, noodle shop, was Teriyaki Boy, Japanese fast food

School of the Future

Manhattan Trade School for Girls by MGChan, on Flickr

Cor- ner (127 E 22nd): A pro- gressive middle school and high school that emphasizes integration of technology into all academic work. Built as the Manhattan Trade School for Girls in 1919, it was designed Trades for Girls = the Future?? by Mirka23, on Flickr by CBJ Snyder in the Collegiate Gothic style and built largely out of white terra cotta.

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Baruch College

17 (corner): DSC05463 by Kramchang, on Flickr
The busi- ness school of CUNY. On this site in 1849 the Free Academy boys' high school was opened, in a Gothic building by James Renwick (1849). This became the College of the City of New York in 1866; it moved in 1907, leaving its business Baruch College Banners by edenpictures, on Flickr school behind. The name was changed to Baruch in 1953.

The Renwick building was torn down in 1928 and replaced in 1930 with the current 16-story structure by Thompson, Holmes & Converse.

IMG_1911 by ShellyS, on Flickr

135 (corner): This building, now housing Baruch's administrative offices, was built in 1939 as the Family Court Building. Aluminum bas reliefs by H.P. Camden reflect various functions of the family--education, protection, nutrition, etc.


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Sage House

Sage House by edenpictures, on Flickr

4 (corner): Built to house the Russell Sage Foundation, started in 1915 by Olivia Sage to coordinate the dispersal of the fortune she inherited from her tight-fisted husband. "For the Improvement of Social and Living Conditions" can still be read on the frieze, which features emblems of civic virtues -- Housing by edenpictures, on Flickr Health, Study, Work, Play, Housing etc. From 1949-76 it was the Catholic Charities Building; now apartments.





Gramercy Park Hotel

Gramercy Park Hotel by edenpictures, on Flickr

2 (corner): Joseph Kennedy and his 11-year-old son Jack were long-term guests at this 1925 hotel, as were literary couple Edmund Wilson and Mary McCarthy. Humphrey Bogart's first wedding took place here in 1926; humorist S.J. Perelman died here in 1979. Charmingly seedy, it's gph_atnight.jpg by ponsdale, on Flickr a favorite of rock bands, as depicted in the film Almost Famous; punk goddess Deborah Harry used to live here. Rose_2.jpg by ponsdale, on Flickr

The Bar on Gra- mercy Park is a classic hotel bar; Babe Ruth used to be tossed out regularly. The Cobalt Club on the mezzanine is members only. The rooftop lounge, High Bar, has a great view and expensive drinks.

Architect Stanford White's home was formerly on the corner (1901-06); some fireplaces in the hotel were salvaged from his house.

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7 (corner): Park Gramercy apartments, drably generic building put up in 1951 (though some claim it has redeeming Art Deco features), replacing the former corner, No. 9, which had been the home of Peter Cooper, who ran first the U.S. railroad (the Tom Thumb), helped lay the trans-Atlantic telegraph cable and invented Jello. He founded the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, which to this day continues to charge no tuition. Cooper died here on April 4, 1883, and the house was inherited by his son-in-law, Abram Hewitt, a New York mayor (1886-87) who opposed Tammany Hall and promoted the building of subways. The crafts collected here by Hewitt's daughters, Eleanor and Sarah, became the core of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum.































1 Lexington

1 Lexington by edenpictures, on Flickr

1 (corner): A 12-story apartment building built as a co-operative in 1910 to a Henry Lucas design. It replaced the home of Cyrus Field, a financier who backed the first trans-Atlantic telegraph cable in 1858 (with Peter Cooper), and helped build the elevated train system in the 1870s. It was later owned by broker Henry W. Poor of Standard & Poor, who sold it (along with his famous book collection) after he went bankrupt in 1908. The portico of the current building is based on the entranceway designed for Poor by Stanford White c. 1899; the existing fence was also designed by White at that time.


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Gramercy Park

Gramercy Park by Djibouti, on Flickr A circumnavigation of Gramercy Park 6, Manhattan, 19 Nov. 2008 by PhillipC, on Flickr

NYC's only surviving private park is named for Crommessie Brook, "Crooked Little Knife" in Dutch. Purchased by Peter Stuyvesant from the Dutch West India Co. in 1651; deeded to freed slave Frans Bastiansen in 1674. Acquired by James Duane, later a NYC mayor, in 1761; Duane founded Gramercy Farm. Bought 1831 by lawyer Samuel Ruggles, who laid out Gramercy Park.

The park is jointly owned by the owners of the properties surrounding the park, each of whom has a key. Disputes between key-holders over how best to maintain the park have caused bitter splits in the neighborhood. 2008-04-11 028 by snapsparkchik, on Flickr Gramercy Park by niznoz, on Flickr

Compared to similar parks that are open to the public like Tompkins, Washington and Union squares, Gramercy suffers from a marked lack of energy and life. The neighborhood would benefit greatly from a less restrictive access policy, but it's hard to imagine the residents who own the place giving up the thrill of exclusion.

The statue in the center of the park features actor Edwin Booth, a Gramercy Park resident, portraying Hamlet. He was a far more famous actor than his brother John Wilkes Booth--prior to 1865, anyway.


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Parkside Evangeline

Parkside Evangeline II by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (18 Gramercy Park): A 17-story building from 1927, built as the Parkside Hotel on the former site of the Columbia University Club. Since 1963 it's been the Salvation Army's Parkside Evangeline Residence Hall, for women only; a haven for aspiring actresses and models. ( Sean Young is a former resident.) The Salvation Army has been trying to sell the place, but as far as I can tell it hasn't gone condo yet. Irving Place Imp by edenpictures, on Flickr

81 (corner): This 1930 neo-Gothic building, designed by George Pelham, is covered with gargoyles and other fantastic creatures.

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Stuyvesant Fish House

19 Gramercy Park by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (19 Gramercy Park): Considered the gem of the neighborhood, this house was the center of NY society in the late 1800s; it was remodeled by Stanford White in 1888. Bought and restored by PR legend Ben Sonnenberg, 1931.



Hairy House by Rubin421, on Flickr

80 (cor- ner): This four- story town- house from 1920 -- notable for its covering of vines--is or was the home of Bear Stearns Merchant Banking CEO John Howard. When the Bear Stearns brand became a liability in 2008, BSMB changed its name to Irving Place Capital.


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Irving Place New York by Rafael Chamorro, on Flickr

79 (cor- ner): Cho- shi, sushi rest- aurant named for a Japanese fishing town. Friend Of A Farmer by Joe Shlabotnik, on Flickr

77: Friend of a Farmer Country Cafe and Bakery. Paul Rosenfeld, music critic of The Dial, lived here; lacking an office, the literary magazine had its gatherings here, with contributors like e.e. cummings, Hart Crane, Edmund Wilson, Marianne Moore and Alfred Stieglitz. Later the apartment served a similar function for the American Caravan, a magazine for new American writers involving Rosenfeld, Lewis Mumford and Van Wyck Brooks.

75: Crime novelist Patricia Highsmith moved here in 1958--though it may have actually been No. 76 across the street.













71 Irving Place by NotLiz, on Flickr

71: 71 Irving Place Cof- fee and Tea Bar is in a building where Violet Thomas, wife of Socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas, had a tearoom in the 1930s and '40s. The Thomases lived here in 1945. George Axelrod, who wrote the scripts for Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Seven Year Itch and The Manchurian Candidate, also lived in this building, which was built (along with No. 65) c. 1846.

67-69: Limestone commercial building erected in 1910, replacing townhouses that matched those on either side. 65 Irving Place by edenpictures, on Flickr

65 (corner): Built c. 1846; adapted for commercial use in 1914. Used to house Keith Skeel Antiques, a beautiful shop that seems to have relocated to London.

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78 Irving Place by edenpictures, on Flickr

78 (corner): An apartment building designed sometime before 1901 by Israels & Harder.




Irving Place Baby by edenpictures, on Flickr

76: A 1910 apartment building with statues of babies above the doorway. An earlier building at this address was the birthplace on June 19, 1856 of Elizabeth Marbury, literary agent to Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and James Barrie, among others.

74: A four-story building with a mansard roof, built 1900.

72: A five-story brownstone from 1910.

Pete's Tavern

Pete's Tavern by _rockinfree, on Flickr

66 (cor- ner): Loc- ated in an 1829 build- ing that may have been serving liquor as early as 1852, which even so would not make it the oldest drinking establishment in the city. The first official saloon here, however, seems to have opened in 1864. NYC: Pete's Tavern by wallyg, on Flickr It survived Prohibition by posing as a flower shop.

Originally called the Portman Hotel, it was bought in 1899 by Tom and John Healy, and it was under the name Healy's that it was a favorite hangout of O. Henry's. (It appears in the writer's "The Lost Blend" as "Kenealy's," and the idea for "The Gift of the Magi" is said to have occurred in booth No. 2.) Ludwig Bemelmans attests that he wrote the first lines of Madeline here. Sara in Pete's Tavern by jonanamary, on Flickr

The interior has been featured in Ragtime, Endless Love and Seinfeld, not to mention a number of beer commercials.


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The (Other) Gramercy by edenpictures, on Flickr

61 (cor- ner): This apartment building calls itself The Gramercy, though there's a more famous The Gramercy actually on Gramercy Park East, at 20th Street. 57 Irving Place by edenpictures, on Flickr

57: A Modernist glass condo under construction in 2009. People who live here will automatically become members of The Players Club so that they will have access to Gramercy Park, which seems kind of cheesy. 51 Irving Place by edenpictures, on Flickr

55: Sal Anthony's, longstanding Italian restaurant, used to be in this nondescript 1969 building--which also includes the two addresses to the south. An earlier building at this address was where short-story writer O. Henry lived from 1903 to 1907. He reportedly wrote "The Gift of the Magi" here in three hours, after coming up with the idea at nearby Healy's Cafe, now Pete's Tavern. Pierre Loti by edenpictures, on Flickr

55: Pierre Loti, wine bar named for a French novelist

51 (corner): Site of the Blue Bell Tavern, a favorite O. Henry drinking spot.

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56 Irving Place by edenpictures, on Flickr

56: This and its neighbor to the south are among the oldest buildings on the street, Greek revival townhouses dating to the 1840s. Now houses the Inn at Irving Place, as well as Lady Mendl's, a Victorian teahouse, and Cibar, a boudoir-pink lounge. pure food and wine by saizod, on Flickr

54: Long the home of the Ingersoll Club-- presumably dedicated to the ideas of freethinker Robert Green Ingersoll--in 1921 this became the Cooperative Cafeteria, part of an extensive network of cooperative businesses. (In 1924 it expanded to No. 56. Recently it was the upscale Verbena; now it's Pure Food & Wine, a spendy raw-food joint. 0109MK by Pistols Drawn, on Flickr

52 (cor- ner): Built for bach- elors in 1912, this Colonial Revival apartment building includes the Spanish Casa Mono ("Monkey House"), by famed restauranteur Mario Batali. Formerly Irving on Irving, where Carrie and Charlotte rated men on Sex and the City.


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'Irving House'

'Irving House' by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (49 Irving): Washington Irving did not live here, contrary to the plaque; nor did Irving's nephew live here, as some guidebooks alternatively suggest. This was the home of Edgar Irving, a seemingly unrelated merchant; the fact that the street actually was named for Washington Irving, Washington Irving Lived Here by ShellyS, on Flickr and that a nephew whom the writer frequently visited did live nearby, seems to have added to the confusion.

Someone who did live here was Elsie de Wolfe, an early and influential interior decorator who redecorated the White House in 1902, and by her lover, Elizabeth Marbury, literary agent for Shaw, Oscar Wilde, J.M. Barrie and Zora Neale Hurston. Currently Yama, a noted sushi place, is in the basement; it was once the Washington Irving Tearoom, an attempt to cash in on the mistaken connection.

47: Playwright Oscar Wilde stayed here in 1883, when his play Vera was at the Union Square Theater, years before his agent coincidentally lived next door.

Human Resources Administration

Human Resources Administration by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner: This foreboding city government building is on the site of the Westminster Hotel, where in 1876 the Westminster Kennel Club was formed. The club's Westminster Show has been held continuously since 1877. Charles Dickens stayed there during his 1867 reading tour.

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Washington Irving High School

Washington Irving High School by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner: Built in 1911-13 as the Girls' Technical High School, designed by C.B.J. Snyder, its students have included actors Claudette Colbert and Whoopi Goldberg. The interior is worth checking out. NYC - Washington Irving High School - Washington Irving statue by wallyg, on Flickr

The giant bust of Irving was sculpted in 1885 by Friedrich Beer. It was placed first in Central Park and then in Prospect Park before being rededicated here in 1935. The exterior of the building was used for the TV show Head of the Class.

46: Torn down to build the school, this was home to occultist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky; she founded the Theosophical Society here on September 8, 1875.


























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Nation Offices by edenpictures, on Flickr

33 (corner): The Cottage, pleasant Chinese. Upstairs are the offices of The Nation, the oldest U.S. magazine (since 1865; at this address since 1998). Over the years its contributors have included the likes of Henry James, Leon Trotsky, H.L. Mencken, Albert Einstein, George Orwell, I.F. Stone, Jean-Paul Sartre, Martin Luther King, James Baldwin and Hunter S. Thompson.


Irving Plaza

17: This concert hall, which features some of the cooler rock shows in NYC, was originally a Polish-American meeting hall. Rebranding itself as "Fillmore East," which was a different place altogether. Cricket taco by RubyJi, on Flickr

15 (corner): Galaxy Global Eatery has served hemp-based food, though the DEA is cracking down on this. Also noted for its cricket-based dishes.

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34 (corner): Spokesman Cycles, a bike shop, was Marburger Surgical, medical equipment. Rosy Cross by edenpictures, on Flickr

32: The offices of the New York branch of the Rosicrucian Order, an occult organization that can be traced back to the 1600s, though it claims to be far older. 22 Irving Place by edenpictures, on Flickr

22: Site of Elihu Root house (1871 - 1878); Root was secretary of war (1899-1904), secretary of state (1905-1909) and a senator from New York (1909-1915). He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912. The present building also replaces No. 24, where Italian revolutionary Guiseppe Garibaldi briefly lived in 1850 before moving to Staten Island. He returned to Italy in 1854 to be a key player in the unification of the country. Seafarers and International House by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (123 E 15th): Seafarers and International House, a Lutheran mission for sailors and sojourners founded in 1873.


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Zeckendorf Towers

Zeckendorf Towers by edenpictures, on Flickr

This entire block is occupied by the pyramid-topped development, designed by Davis, Brody & Assocs. in 1987. Built on the site of S. Klein's department store (1921-75; slogan: "On the Square"). Actress Kelly McGillis has lived in has lived in the Zeckendorf; Beth Israel's Phillips Ambulatory Care Center is here, with its ambulance entrance on the Irving Place side.










Corner: Was Rhyme & Reason, cards and knicknacks. On the site of Steinway Hall, built in 1866 by the piano company for performances that would showcase its instruments. Charles Dickens gave several readings here in 1867-68. Reporter Henry Stanley Irving Place HDR by Jonathan Harford, on Flickr first told his story of finding Dr. David Living- stone to a New York audience here in Decem- ber 1872. Demolished in 1916.

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Con Ed Building

02112007114 by k dellaquila, on Flickr

10 (corner): New York Sports Club is on the ground floor of the Consolidated Edison Building, designed by Henry Hardenbergh in the Beaux Arts style, 1913; six stories were added to his original 12, and in 1927 Warren & Wetmore added a Doric temple-topped clock tower, the Tower of Light, conceived as a memorial to Con Ed employees who died in World War I. Con Ed and Zeckendorf by edenpictures, on Flickr

4 (corner): Apple Bank for Savings is also part of Con Ed Building. Starting in 1854, No. 4 was the address of the Manhattan Gas Light Co., from which utility companies spread to take over this entire block.

2: The former corner address from 1854 to 1926 was the Academy of Music, which early on was the cultural hub of New York's elite, as represented in the first scene of The Age of Innocence. In 1860, it hosted a famous ball for the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII. President-elect Lincoln saw Verdi's Masked Ball here in 1861--the only opera he ever saw. In 1870, the literary Lotos Club was founded here. After fashion moved uptown to the Metropolitan Opera House, the Academy presented vaudeville and later silent movies. It had another incarnation across the street that later became the Palladium.


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Is your favorite Irving Place or Lexington Avenue spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

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