By Carol Tannenhauser
Two weeks ago, we took you on a photo tour of seven of the Upper West Side’s most stunning residential entrances and asked you to identify them, with prizes of West Side Rag merchandise to the first five entrants who got them all right.
The winners were: Andrea C., Robyn R., Lehman G., Adel B, and Rachel G. Last names are omitted for privacy reasons — winning WSR merch has been known to change lives!
And below are the Posh Portals we presented, text taken from a book by the same name by Andrew Alpern, with photographs by Kenneth G. Grant.
1. 225 West 86th Street, The Belnord — Fresh from his studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, Philip Hiss (1857-1942) joined with architects E. Hobart Weekes to design this building, which was completed in 1909. [At the time] it was billed as the “world’s largest and most complete apartment house.” It comprises 175 well-laid-out apartments of six to fourteen rooms served by six elevator lobbies accessed via the courtyard.
2. 410 Riverside Drive, Columbia Residential — This building was erected in 1909 to designs of architects Thomas Neville and George Bagge. They provided an extra-large porte-cochère, a high mansard roof, and elaborate dormers. The original balconies have been removed, but the rest of the building is in ﬁne shape, including rock-faced rustication at the three-story base and lovely curved stained-glass over the entrance doors.
3. 344 West 72nd Street, The Chatsworth — This building was erected in 1904 as two separate buildings with a common ground floor and entrance, designed by John Scharsmith for Alek Kahn and George Johnson Jr…. Commanding a ﬁne view of the Hudson, the building offered a broad variety of services and accommodations including a café, a billiard room, a barber shop, a hair-dressing salon, and tailoring services. A sun parlor was provided, which ran across the entire top ﬂoor.
4. 301 West 108th Street — Finally completed in 1905 at eleven stories by architect James & Leo, this building had reached eight stories as designed by architect Joseph Wolf when the original developer went bankrupt. The new builder took advantage of changes in the building laws by redesigning the project and adding extra height. As completed, its south half had three apartments per ﬂoor while the northern one had four. Most have since been subdivided.
5. 225 Central Park West, The Alden — This building was completed in 1926 as an apartment hotel with one- to three-room permanent residences. As designed by Emery Roth for the Bing & Bing development ﬁrm, the building included a full-service dining room plus a separate children’s dining room and additional rooms for private parties. After 1932, architect Roth lived there with his wife, as he was downsizing after his sons had left home.
6. 215 W. 98th Street, The Gramont — This is an uncharacteristically conventional classically-detailed building design by brothers George and Edward Blum. Completed in 1911, it is elegantly executed and has been splendidly restored. Its most imaginative and unconventional feature is its entrance, recessed and unnoticed behind a deep courtyard.
7. 33 West 67th Street, The Atelier — Between 1903 and 1919, several grandly distinctive studio/apartment buildings were erected on this street. The entire concept probably originated with Henry W. Ranger, an artist who was said to have been irked by the need to pay $700 a year on a suitable painting studio in addition to spending $2000 a year for an appropriate apartment in which to live and to entertain patrons and friends. This building was designed by Simonson [of Sturgis & Simonson] with George Mort Pollard in 1903.
Congratulations to all!