The General Worth Monument—a gravesite in the middle of Broadway

The small pedestrian island bordered by 25th Street, Broadway, and 5th Avenue—where people regularly enjoy views of the Flatiron while reading, talking, sunbathing, or having a light snack—is actually a burial ground. The body of General Worth, hero of the Mexican War of 1846-1848, rests in peace under the obelisk. Most find their final resting…

Chester Arthur: the statue that kept losing its glasses

Sculptor: George Edwin BissellArchitect: James Brown LordDedicated: 1899 When serving as the 21st president of the United States, Chester Arthur exceeded all expectations. This was due in large part to the fact that nobody expected that much . . . One of the least-remembered presidents, he was known during his lifetime to be an exceptional…

William H. Seward Monument—it’s all about proportion

William H. Seward was a towering figure in 19th-century politics. Serving at different times as a senator, New York governor, and secretary of state (under Abraham Lincoln), he is credited with blocking the European recognition of the Confederacy as well as negotiating the anti-slave trade treaty with Great Britain, among other notable achievements. He was…

Tilden Mansion: Victorian facade and political scandal

Though Samuel Tilden failed to become an American president, he succeeded in creating a masterpiece of a home. While working as an attorney in 1863, Samuel J. Tilden purchased a home in Gramercy—the most fashionable area in town at the time. When he became governor of New York in 1874, he bought a mansion at…

Block Beautiful—Mediterranean in Manhattan

The perfect rhythm of adjacent brownstones forming one solid street facade define the character of 19th-century New York. These streets posses the romantic quality of the old New York and attract us with their stately yet reserved uniform presence. By the end of 19th century, however, their uniformity was loosing its charm and to some…

The Illustrious Residents of Gramercy Park

The neighborhood of Gramercy is defined by a most unique feature: a private park. But it has attracted such an impressive number of notable personalities that the list of Gramercy Park residents may very well rival its “private park” reputation. #3&4 – James Harper (resident from 1847 to 1869) James Harper was the mayor of New York…

A Dutch Tradition in Gramercy

Even though New York City started its story as New Amsterdam, there is very little of the old Dutch town left to see. Through the years, the Dutch-looking houses perished or simply were replaced by newer structures. However, a small remnant of the old Dutch tradition can still be found in front of the house…

Frick Collection—the house built to be a museum

The Frick Museum, which houses a remarkable collection of art treasures, was originally build as a private residence of Henry Clay Frick, a Gilded Age industrialist and art collector. Armed with unbridled ambition, Henry Frick formed his own company by the age of 20. Vowing to himself that he would be a millionaire by the…

The Carnegie Mansion—the plainest house in New York?

All Andrew Carnegie wanted for his home was “the most modest, plainest, and most roomy house in New York.” While the 64-room Georgian Revival house succeeded in being roomy, it failed at being plain. The mansion is adorned by a private garden—a rarity in New York city. Andrew Carnegie, the great philanthropic industrialist and one…

Ukrainian Institute/Fletcher House/Sinclair Mansion

One of New York City’s most impressive turn-of-the-century structures—located on 5th Avenue at 79th Street—houses the Ukrainian Institute. The mansion was built in 1899 for Isaac D. Fletcher—businessman, art collector and museum benefactor. It was designed in the elaborate Châteauesque style by C.P.H. Gilbert, who was known for many notable palatial residences for the wealthy. Châteauesque, inspired by the 16th…

Grove Court—the Setting of O.Henry‘s Story

Grove Court was the setting of O. Henry‘s “The Last Leaf,” which tells the story of a sick woman who—looking from her sick bed at a vine through her window—convinces herself that she’ll die when the last leaf falls. But thanks to the power of art, she never sees the last leaf fall. A frustrated,…

The Keys to Gramercy Park

The dignified tranquility of Manhattan’s only private park is ensured by the heavy locks on the park’s gates. The park has been functioning as a private front yard for the Gramercy home owners since being gated in the 1830s and locked in 1844. Ever since Mr. Ruggles, a visionary developer, deeded the land, Gramercy Park…