Photography, Preservation

Drop-dead gorgeous terra cotta at Alwyn Court

Our jaws dropped when we came upon this building.

Alwyn Court

This is Alwyn Court, at 58th St. and 7th Ave. in New York City. It was completed in 1909 as an apartment building for the wealthy. Through about the turn of the 20th century, apartment living had a low-class stigma, but then builders started working to overcome that to attract wealthy tenants. This 12-story building contained 24 giant apartments, each with a living room, a library, a music room, a wine cellar, several bedrooms, and five bathrooms. The interior details are said to have been fine, with carved marble fireplaces and ornate fixtures.

Alwyn Court

But just check out that terra cotta. Wow! It’s not often a building stops me in my tracks, but Alwyn Court sure did.

Alwyn Court

I suppose that when you’re wealthy, where you live can be a fashion statement. By the mid 1930s, a 7th Avenue address had fallen out of fashion and the building stood mostly empty. A renovation divided the apartments into smaller ones, 75 in all. It worked; soon the whole building was rented again.

Alwyn Court

The first floor of Alwyn Court is currently home to Petrossian, a restaurant that specializes in caviar, smoked fish, and foie gras. This was originally the building’s main entrance, but in the 1930s renovation the apartment entrance was relocated to 7th Avenue.

Alwyn Court

I did know of this building. Preservationist blogger Raina Regan wrote of it a few months ago. I wondered if we’d have time on our trip to find this building; little did I know our hotel would be two blocks away and we’d encounter Alwyn Court more than once.

Alwyn Court

Canon PowerShot S95, shot raw, processed in Photoshop.

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