Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Albert Brod House - 168 West 77th Street




On April 1, 1893 The Real Estate Record & Builders' Guide reported that George F. Pelham "has the plans for the five three-and-a-half-story brown stone dwellings...which James Brown is to build on the south side of 77th street."  The price of each house would be in the neighborhood of $564,000 each today.  "The houses are to be trimmed in hardwood and to have every improvement."

Completed within the year, Pelham's Renaissance Revival houses were liberally splashed with Romanesque Revival elements--like the beefy stoop newels and unexpected use of rough-faced stone at the basement level.  The row was designed in a balanced A-B-C-B-A scheme; the projecting bays of the end houses created a book-end effect to the whole.  

No. 168, like its twin at 164, wore a graceful rounded bay at the second floor.  Romanesque Revival made another appearance in the eyebrows, terminating in Medieval crockets, above the delicately-carved tympani of the third floor openings.   Renaissance Revival panels separated the windows of the squat attic floor.


Three of the original row survive.  No. 168 is at the center.

No. 168 was purchased by Albert Brod whose disparate occupations included real estate operator and jeweler.   While he bought and sold properties, many in the Upper West Side, he was also a partner with Charles Marx in Marx & Brod, diamond dealers, at No. 37 Maiden Lane.  

The Brod's adult daughter, Emma, was working as a teacher by 1904.  

Albert's partnership with Charles Marx eventually ended and around 1913 he joined with brother Oscar J. Brod and Maurice J. Schless to form Schless, Brod & Co.  The trio patented a new knife design in 1916.  But the partnership was short-lived and by 1918 Herbert N. Brod had replaced Schless and the firm became Brod & Co.

Both Herbert and Albert doubled as traveling salesman.  On November 13, 1918 The Jewelers' Circular-Weekly announced "Albert Brod, of Brod & Co., manufacturing jewelers...is on a trip which will include visits to the trade in the far west and on the Pacific Coast."

By the time the brothers received a patent for a new jewelry setting in December 1919, they had moved their manufacturing shop to Newark, New Jersey.  It was around the same time that the Brod family left West 77th Street.  

No. 168 was now being operated as a high-end boarding house for unmarried men.  An advertisement in The New York Herald on October 21, 1921 offered the "Exceptionally large salon floor, bath, shower; excellent service; bachelors."

Among the occupants in 1922 was 32-year old Horace Drulacht, a "designer."    In September he received the emotionally devastating news that his mother had died.  It was too much for him to handle.

On September 11 he locked his door and swallowed bichloride of mercury mixed with liquor.  Before long another boarder heard moans coming from his room and rushed onto the street to find Patrolman William Fitzgerald.   

The officer broke into the room, then directed the landlady to mix milk and raw eggs.  Before the ambulance arrived, Fitzgerald forced Drulacht to swallow the concoction.  A doctor at the Knickerbocker Hospital credited the policeman with saving the man's life.

The upscale tenor of the boarding house was soon evidenced by the occupant of the parlor floor.  In 1930 Armand Hammer returned to the United States from a nine-year stay in the Soviet Union.  The U.S. Government had been skeptical about the true purposes of his trip and would keep a close eye on him for the rest of his life.  


Armand Hammer as he appeared around the time he lived at No. 168.  from the collection of the Library of Congress
In his autobiography Hammer he mentioned his arrangement with a "hardworking and hard-up student," saying "I hit on a plan to help us both.  I had rented an apartment on the ground floor of a brownstone house at 168 West Seventy-seventh Street, between Columbus and Amsterdam.  I offered my spare room to Dan, rent-free, if he would take down full notes of all the lectures and give them to me to study in the evenings."

As the century went on, the renters in No. 168 became less affluent than its most celebrated tenant.  Then in 1988 the Coalition for the Homeless purchased the house and the two brownstones on either side. 

The organization's website explains that it offers "private apartment living to homeless single men and women in three contiguous five-story brownstone buildings on a serene, tree-lined street on the Upper West Side."  The 38 residents pay rent based on their individual income, and have access "to onsite services that help them with socialization, household budgeting, and healthcare and family issues in a safe and stable environment."

There is no signage to suggest that the three 1893 rowhouses are anything but private homes.  Although a bit time battered, their facades survive essentially intact, hinting at the original appearance of all five.

photographs by the author

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Lost "Purity" Statue - Times Square


The statue sat in the skinny island between Broadway and Seventh Avenue, between 44th and 45th Streets.  photo from the collection of the New-York Historical Society

With no fanfare a tower of wooden beams surrounding a massive sculpture appeared in Times Square in the fall of 1909.  The New York Times cleared up the mystery on October 5 when it reported "For the last ten days thousands of persons traveling up and down Times Square have been wondering what might be the meaning of the strange high scaffolding at the upper end of the square between Forty-fifth and Forty-sixth Street, and the heroic-sized, snow-white figure growing up within it.  Two days ago the figure began to put on the face of a woman, whereupon the interest of Broadway concerning it grew more intense than ever."

For more than a week tourists and businessmen had questioned the workers, nearby shopkeepers, and policemen.  But no one had answers.   The Times, however, had ferreted out the explanation.  "There will shine out in the heart of the city's twenty-four-hour centre a snow-white lady of some fifty feet and eighty tons--plaster, it is true, but full of moral and meaning--to stand as the emblem of the city's purity and beauty, defending herself against the mud-throwers and slanderers that so often assail her."

So stated, the purpose of the allegory of "Purity" sounded noble.  It would be a few days before less honorable forces behind it would come to light.

The arcane Association for New York had applied for and received a permit to erect "The Defeat of Slander" or "The Defence of New York."  The permit gave the group permission to erect and maintain "a statue at its own expense until Dec. 1, 1909."  The cost was later placed at $5,000, or about $140,000 today.

William Harmon Black, formerly Commissioner of Accounts for the Tammany Administration, was the president of the association.  He told The Times reporter that the goal of the newly-organized group was "to challenge indiscriminate abuse and criticism of New York City, to set forth her advantages as a place of residence for the citizen, as a point of production and distribution for the manufacturer, and as a mart for the merchant."  That, too, sounded innocent and, in fact, commendable.

The group had commissioned Italian-born sculptor Leo Lentelli to design the monument.  Black described it saying "The figure will be fifty feet high, built of fifty barrels, or eight tons of plaster, at a cost of several thousand dollars...It will represent a tall and snow-white woman of majestic figure and mien, somewhat angry and even disgusted at the slander and unjust fault-finding she has been subject to."

The figure of Purity would hold a shield on her left arm bearing the inscription "Our City."  Dark blotches on the shield represented the mud slung by New York's detractors.  At night it would be lit by searchlights installed on the nearby Acme Building, and behind her diadem were hidden soft blue electric lights.  Black insisted that there was nothing political about the figure.  "It would simply stand as an artistic, silent exhortation to civic pride and confidence."

Three days later The Thrice-A-Week World reported on the unveiling.  Its reporter, too, interviewed Black and now the first hints emerged that Tammany Hall was behind the project.  Again Black insisted that "The statue is a protect against mud slingers," but was more specific in the mud being slung.  The "reckless statements" which offended the Association of New York had to do with the cost of city bonds, the city's take from Custom House and Post Office receipts, and such.  "The trouble is, New Yorkers have not realized how good a city they have been living in," he complained.


A workman rests at the base, with the rubble of the scaffolding yet to be removed prior to the official unveiling. Harper's Weekly Advertiser, October 23, 1909 (copyright expired)

The unveiling was well-timed.  In its October 1909 issue The Literary Digest pointed out "The colossal statue...variously known as 'Purity' and the 'Defeat of Slander' was erected in Longacre Square, New York City, at the beginning of the present municipal campaign.  It is regarded as Tammany's protest against criticism of city government."

On the southern side of the base was inscribed "Defeat of Slander" and "Erected by the Association for New York."  On the northern face was "Dedicated to New York--The Greatest and Best of Cities--Our Home."  The eastern side read "That man who defames an individual injures but one.  That man who defames New York injures four and a half million people."  

Newspapers were quick to join in exposing the political ploy.  On October 15 The East Hampton Star, calling the figure "this plaster amazon," suggested its purpose was "political and that the Tiger [i.e. Tammany Hall] is seeking in this way to discourage criticism of its own misdeeds.  Well, Tammany is not New York.  It is only a disease.  To confuse the two is like confusing a case of smallpox with its victim...To connect the name of Tammany with purity is a joke."

The Sun waxed sarcastic.  When Black (who, incidentally, was the only person permitted to give official comment) called the statue "a concrete object lesson," the newspaper noted "The fact that the lesson was to be administered during the month preceding election day didn't have the slightest possible significance or any relation whatever with any party."


from the collection of the New-York Historical Society
The Tacoma Times thought the artifice was laughable.  Its October 16 article entitled "You Mustn't Slander New York Any More," began "We folks out here in the west must stop talking about New York.  If we don't, the 'Big White Lady' will get us."  The reporter felt that if the published purpose of the statue was true it had a formidable job ahead.  "'Broadway and 42d st. is the mouth of hell,' said a visiting clergyman, several weeks ago.  So the 'Big White Lady,' with her raised arm, stands in an important situation."

Harper's Weekly took a conciliatory stance, but clearly pointed out "the citizens of the metropolis are in doubt as to the exact significance of the statue."

The Sun was not so diplomatic.  "The men who have erected the statue labelled the 'Defeat of Slander,' need to be reminded that the real defamers of New York are not the muckrakers who are the truth speakers, but the muckmakers who defile and pollute our city...It is not the slanderers and the defamers who have made the name of Tammany Hall a byword and a hissing throughout the civilized world, but the leadership and the following alike in Tammany Hall for nearly a century."  The article summed up the issue saying "These men dream of robbing and betraying our city and are wrathful because we will not desist crying 'Stop thief!'"

The statue's purpose as a Tammany Hall propaganda device had been exposed nationwide and continued to draw anger, parody and criticism.  On October 19 The Evening Post wrote "If Praxiteles and Phidias could visit New York now they would get some fresh ideas on statue-cutting.  For Sculpture is being made the handmaiden of Politics."

The reporter managed to interview Leo Lentelli--a feat few had managed to accomplish.  He rather apologized for the quality of his work saying "Of course, if I had more time to do it I could have made a better-finished job of it, but as it stands I think it expresses pretty well the note that it was intended to strike."  Pressed on what that note was, he admitted with a smile, "Oh yes, it is, I suppose, really only a political matter, and it does well enough for that."

"Purity," as it turned out, failed in her mission.  Tammany candidates lost the election.  Just six weeks after its unveiling, workmen began smashing the statue.  On November 20, 1909 The New York Times entitled its article "Miss Purity Displaced / Back to the Dust Pile for Her, Election Being Over."  The story continued, "The first workman was presently joined by a second, who climbed on the shoulders of Miss Virtue and began to hammer away at her left arm, which held the shield with which she fended off the mud supposed to have been thrown against the city in the ante-election period."  


from the collection of the New-York Historical Society
The article described the process in detail, reporting, for instance, "When the huge head had fallen in pieces to the street below it made a very small pile of white bits."  The newspaper summed up the failed political ploy in its closing paragraph.

Miss Purity has not stayed her full time at the head of Times Square.  She had permission to remain there until early in December, but after the election she seemed to think that her work had been done.  Tammany's defeat--for she was a Tammany daughter--must have made her sorrowful, and maybe she didn't care whether she lived her full span out or not.

Anyhow, she goes back to the dust pile to-day.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Benjamin W. Warner's 1869 58 Walker Street




Born in West Galway, New York, on June 18, 1810, Thomas C. Chalmers "was graduated with high rank from Union College," according to the Medical Record decades later.  The physician moved to New York in 1834 where he became affiliated with the New York Hospital.  He and his wife, Maria, lived comfortably at No. 25 West 17th Street in the fashionable block just off Fifth Avenue.

Maria died there on April 10, 1865.  Only fifteen months later, on July 26, 1866, the wealthy doctor married Virginia H. Boyd.  At the time of his wedding he was poised to add real estate development to his professional resume.

The 25-footwide brick house at No. 58 Walker Street had been converted for business by then.  Chalmers purchased the property and in 1867 began construction of a modern loft building on the site.  By May 1868 all five floors were up and interior fittings installed.  For some reason worked temporarily stopped and the structure was kept vacant for weeks.  It presented a splendid opportunity for a gang of youths.

On June 14 The New York Herald ran the headline "Arrest of  Juvenile Land Pirates--Lead Pipe Thieves--Malicious Destruction of Property."  The article explained that "For some time past the premises No. 58 Walker street, owned by Dr. Thomas C. Chalmers, have been unoccupied preparatory to undergoing repairs."  The band of seven boys, the oldest being 13, set up shop within the site, while they plundered its fittings.

Two days earlier, on a Friday night, foot patrolman McSweeny was making his rounds when he noticed movements within the building.  All of the boys were arrested as they tried to escape with a bag of lead pipe.  A subsequent examination of the site revealed the enormous amount of damage the delinquents had done.

The New York Herald reported that police "found that it had been completely stripped of the lead and iron water and waste pipes, the faucets and ashstands broken and ruined, partition walls forced down, the lead and tin torn from the roof, window glass and sash demolished and other malicious destruction of property, involving a loss of nearly $1,500."   The damage would amount to nearly $27,000 today.

The boys had obviously been confident that they could take their time.  "The young outlaws had carried a small stove up to the second floor, where they had cooked their own meals, the raw materials of which they are believed to have stolen from the markets."

The significant damage was a major set-back for builders Moore & Bryant and No. 58 Walker Street was not fully completed until 1869.  Designed in the French Second Empire style by Benjamin W. Warner, it was an impressive, marble-faced structure.  Each of the floors above the cast iron storefront was flanked by paneled piers and marked by prominent sill courses.  The flat-arched openings were separated by classical pilasters.   Recessed panels decorated the frieze of the bracketed cornice, which was crowned with large spheres on either end.

Chalmers's tenants exemplified the dry goods district which was taking over the neighborhood.  Among the first to move in were the apparel making firms Jacob Kobb, maker of cloaks, and S. Rothschild & Brother's.  It was most likely Kobb who placed two advertisements in The New York Herald on April 3, 1873.  He was looking for "a good presser on Ladies' Suits" and "A good cutter on Ladies' Suits."

It was Rothschild & Brother's who was looking for additional help in 1874.  "Hands on Ladies' Cloaks, to take work out, for plain and fine cloaks."  The specification "to take work out" referred to what was also called "home work," whereby women did the piece work in their homes.  It was often done by tenement dwellers who were paid by the item.

The scope of Rothschild & Brother's operation was evidenced in their want ad on December 17, 1876 in The New York Herald.  "Wanted--A lady as Assistant Designer for our wholesale suit and cloak establishment; must be a tasty trimmer and able to suggest suitable styles."  The firm took a modern approach in asking for resumes prior to an interview.  "Apply by letter only, stating fully former experience and employment."

At the time the store was home to M. Sockel & Co., apparel accessories dealers.  Late on the night of January 16, 1876, thieves made off with goods valued at more than $7,000 today.  The New York Times reported "The premises of No. 58 Walker street, M. Sockel & Co., was robbed by burglars on Sunday night, of fifty-four pieces of silk and cotton lace and fifty-five dozen of pearl buttons."

Japanese businessmen O. Yamada and M. Fukui opened their silk importing operation here by 1880.  The firm would remain in the building for several years.


The Silk Goods of America, 1880, (copyright expired)

Dr. Thomas C. Chalmers died on June 4, 1884.  Virginia received the 17th Street house, as well as No. 58 Walker Street and another house at No. 20 West 18th Street.

Virginia's tenants in the Walker Street building continued to be identified with the apparel industry.  Lichtenstein & Lyons, cloak manufacturers, was here by 1888 and in 1889 Levy & Miskend moved in.

The store space was taken by M. B. Ochs's Sons by 1885.  Founded in 1881, the firm's knit goods factory was on Houston Street and the Walker Street space housed its offices and showrooms.  In 1888 Illustrated New York wrote "The premises occupied in Walker street comprise a spacious floor and basement, which are fully stocked with a superior assortment of Germania knitting, worsted and cotton yarns, cardigan jackets and knit worsted and wool hosiery."

While M. B. Ochs remained in the ground floor space, all other tenants were gone within five years when M. Cohen & Co. took over all four upper floors.  The maker of cloaks and suits employed 40 men, 40 women, 6 boys under 18, and 20 girls.  A State inspection report in 1895 noted that the minors worked 45 hours per week.

On December 16, 1892 a fire was sparked in the basement where M. B. Ochs's Sons stored yarn.  The New York Times reported "The fire seemed at first to be a small one, but it soon appeared that the engines which went on a first alarm were insufficient to check the flames and a second alarm was struck."

Part of the problem was that the burning wool yarn created a thick, black and suffocating smoke condition.  The newspaper reported "the holding of the fire to the basement was accomplished by dint of hard work and much discomfort as the fire had to be fought at close quarters and at the risk of suffocation."

M. B. Ochs's Sons suffered losses of about half a million in today's dollars and damage to the building was estimated at $2,000 (about $56,000 today).  The fire did not reach the factory of M. Cohen & Co., but its stock was damaged by the thick smoke.

In April 1900 the Chalmers family sold No 58 to Anna C. Holbrook for $52,500--more than $1.5 million today.  Her tenant list included the Royal Shirt Co., H. H. Skirt Co., and S. Joseph, "clothing," in the upper floors, and Levy & Kadane, sellers of "furnishing goods," in the store.  More specifically, the store sold men's underwear and hosiery.

Other than Levy & Kadane, Holbrook No. 58 had an entirely new tenant list in the building in 1906.  The second floor was the factory of the Columbia Muslin Underwear Company, the third held the Pioneer Shirt Company, the fourth floor tenant was the Star Suspender and Neckwear Company, and the fifth was home to the underwear factory of E. L. Rosenfield.

The building was the scene of a devastating fire on March 17 that year.  The following morning The New York Times estimated the damage at $100,000 and describe the building as "wrecked."  As was the case in 1892, the fire started in the basement.

It "shot up through the elevator shaft, and burst through the roof," reported The Times.  "It ate its way through the floors from the rear, bursting out the windows and driving back men who were dragging lines of hose to the roof."  Again smoke was a major problem.  The newspaper described it as being "so dense that when the firemen were finally able to enter the building, they were compelled to get out within a few moments."

As the water poured down onto the stone sidewalk it froze, making conditions ever more dangerous.  "Chief Croker had a narrow escape from injury while mounting a ladder on the front of the building.  He was about six feet above the sidewalk when the ladder slipped on the ice and fell, throwing Croker to the ground."

The only significant injury came when a fireman of Engine Company No. 15 was "hurt by a comrade, who accidentally struck him on the foot with an axe."  The building however, suffered considerable damage.

The cast iron capitals of the storefront, lost during the 20th century, were recently refabricated.
Among the tenants in the refurbished building was clothing manufacturer I. H. Gold & Co., run by Isaac H. Gold and partner Moses S. Nathanson.   The factory would be the scene of an unsettling discovery just after New Year's Day in 1910.

On Saturday January 2 Moses Nathanson went to the office.  His wife was understandably concerned when he never came home.  She telephoned the office, but got no answer.  She then phoned Gold, but was told he was out of town and would not be back until the following morning.

When Gold was told of Mrs. Nathanson's message on Sunday morning, he rushed to the Walker Street building.  There he found Mrs. Nathanson and Policeman Michaelson already there and about to break in the door.  Gold used his key to enter the premises where a gruesome discovery was made.

Nathanson was dead, tied to a chair.  The gas pipe directly above his head had been broken, causing his death.  Papers and suits of clothes were scattered around the room and two letters, not yet placed in their envelopes, suggested Nathanson had been at work at his desk when interrupted.

The police dismissed the idea of a break-in and murder, theorizing that it was a well-staged suicide.  The coroner was less hasty in his decision, and ordered the Gold be arrested and held on suspicion of murder.

Two days later Gold was released.  The New-York Tribune reported "The Coroner and the police are satisfied that Nathanson was a suicide...Before ending his life he had tied himself to a chair.  Nathanson had taken out an insurance policy for $10,000 only two weeks ago, and recently he was despondent because of financial troubles"

The firm, later renamed C. B. Gold & Co., remained at No. 58 through the 1920's.  The building was purchased by Fairway Rayon Company in June 1946.  The store was leased to fabric dealer, Joseph Feldman Textiles.

By now No. 58 was dwarfed by the massive building next door, with the address of No. 401 Broadway.  Built in 1930 it rose 26 stories.  The two addresses were joined in tragedy in June 1954.  William H. Giles worked in the General Foods Corporation factory in No. 401 Broadway making electric cookers.  The 38-year old lived in New Jersey with his mother, his wife, and their three children.  For some reason Giles went to the roof of the building on the night of June 4 and jumped.  The following morning his body was found on the roof of No. 58 Walker Street.

After leasing the store for some years, Joseph Feldman Textiles purchased No. 58 in April 1955.  The gradual change in the Tribeca neighborhood was evidenced when the Electronic Specialties Supply Co. operated from the building in the 1960's.

Real change did not come to No. 58 until the 21st century.  A renovation and restoration by esteemed preservation architect Joseph Pell Lombardi in 2003 resulted in one sprawling residence per floor above the storefront.  The handsome renovation included replacing lost architectural details, like the Corinthian capitals of the storefront columns.

Luxurious residences occupy the floors where garment workers, including children, once worked long hours.  photographs via elliman.com
non-credited photographs by the author

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Steele & Costigan's 1877 228 West 10th Street




Real estate agents E. S. & B. F. Burnham advertised the "three story high stoop brick House...and shop Property" at 228 West 10th Street for sale on February 2, 1873.    At the time the "shop property" in the rear was being rented to builders Steele & Costigan.

Adam Steele and Edward R. Costigan had reason to be concerned over the change in landlords.  They had just moved from their previous premises on West 18th Street less than six months earlier.   But things worked out well between them and Isaac Parmly.  Not only did they stay on as tenants (an advertisement in The New York Herald on August 9, 1874 announced "Carpenter work, by Steele & Costigan, 228 West Tenth street); but on December 29, 1874, Parmly sold them the property for $10,000--just under a quarter of a million today.

The first improvement they made was to demolish the old shop in the rear and erect a new one.  In September 1875 architect J. I. Howard filed plans for a "two-story wood and glass shop."  (The building was not composed of wood and glass; it was intended for carpentry and glazing.)

In January 1877 Adam Steele and his wife, Hanna, took out a $5,000 mortgage on their half of the property.  It was a hint of things to come.  Before the year was up Steele & Costigan had demolished the old house and erected a four-story flathouse.   Faced in red brick an trimmed in brownstone, there would have been little to draw attention to the building were it not for the aggressive neo-Grec cornice and superb doorway--a beautiful, if overstated touch for a working class apartment building.  Beefy cast iron newels fronted the one-step stoop.

With only slight damage, the carved stone entrance survives beautifully, albeit painted.  The single step originally extended several feet, protected by iron railings which terminated in heavy newels.

Steele & Costigan continued to operate from the shop in the rear yard into the 1890's.  At some point Edward Costigan sold his half of the property to his partner.  While Adam and Hanna Steele continued to live in their apartment here, Costigan's home was listed far north on West 156th Street by 1897.

Steele had a close call on Friday night, March 22, 1902, when he was driving on Fifth Avenue near 13th Street.  Automobiles were making their debut in the city at the time and few horses were accustomed to the alien contraptions.  When one approached, Steele's horse was spooked and ran.

A bicycle policeman named How chased the runaway and overtook it at 15th Street.  He grabbed the bridle and stopped the horse short.  The New-York Tribune reported "The sudden jolt threw Steele from his seat to the ground, rendering him unconscious.  An ambulance was called from the New-York Hospital, and Steele was taken there suffering from severe scalp wounds and shock."

Just two years later Steele was dead.  His estate sold No. 228 in January 1906.  The change in ownership in no way altered things within the building.  

Seen (at left) in 1932, the glazier's shop advertises "Plate Glass."  The muscular iron newels and railing of the stoop still survived.  photo by Charles Von Urban, from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York

Then, in 1931 the ground floor was converted to a "glazier's shop" with an industrial, concrete floor.  Steele & Costigan's old shop in the rear had not only survived, but was still being used for its original purpose.  As late as 1941 it was described in Department of Buildings documents as "storage and carpenter's shop."  At that time there were two apartments per floor in the main building.

For decades blue collar families came and went, their meager incomes often prompted them to find other sources of money--and sometimes that got them into trouble.  Daniel Power lived here during the Great Depression and worked for the City as a subway station agent.  Early in 1939 the 34-year old was promoted to train dispatcher.  The promotion was not only a personal accomplishment, but meant a raise.  But it was all about to come crashing down.

In February 1939, only days after Powers's promotion District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey launched an investigation "into the looting of nickels from station turnstiles."   While nickels seem to be a petty amount today, Dewey told reporters that "the city had been victimized of $1,500,000 in nickels."

The ten-week probe resulted on 26 city employees being indicted on charges of "forgery, grand larceny or conspiracy charges," as reported by The New York Times on March 31.   Powers was one of the group who pleaded guilty.  Although there was a possibility he could escape jail time--Assistant District Attorney Robert H. Thayer said "possibly some of them would testify under waivers of immunity"--his reputation and chances of new employment were devastated.

The tenant list reflected, at least in part, the changing face of the neighborhood.  In the late 1940's Harold P. Preston moved in with his wife, Edna.  Preston had begun his career as an actor, touring with country in the Blaney Stock company and later operating his own stock company in Buffalo.  Although he turned to publishing--working in the circulation department of McGraw-Hill Publishing Company and later becoming president of the H. P. Preston Advertising Company--he had acting in his blood.  He formed the H. P. Preston Production company, which staged off-Broadway shows.  He was working on Greenwich Village Varieties in November 1953, when he died in his apartment at the age of 53.

The building's quiet existence ended in 1969 when the ground floor was not-so-attractively altered for a bar-restaurant.  The Yellow Brick Road was a neighborhood favorite for decades. Its $3.50 Sunday brunch (about $15 today), included a glass of champagne, a bloody Mary, or "a red shoe."

The restaurant's Peter Max-esque menu exemplified 1970's pop art.  from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York
The Yellow Brick Road's owner Robert Santopietro had closed up on the night of May 16 1976 when he allowed a man to come in.  Police said the man used "a ruse" to gain entrance.  Once inside he pulled a gun and forced Santopietro into the basement where he was handcuffed to an overhead pipe.  The robber made off with $1,587 from the register.

The space would see a succession of subsequent clubs and restaurants.  In 1986 it became home to the Jupiter Cafe, described by The Times's Andrew L. Yarrow as a "sleek" new restaurant that "turns into an informal jazz club on Sunday nights."  It was followed by the Eighty Eights, a cabaret that featured live acts.  The  highly-popular nightclub was a Village destination for years; until on May 4, 1999 Playbill announced "Eighty-Eights, the venerable Greenwich Village cabaret spot where show tunes have been celebrated and performers have tested new material for the past decade, is likely to close May 31, due to economics."  On December 3, 2008 L'Artusi opened, serving "rustic Italian cuisine."  A decade later it continues in the space.

No. 228 West 10th Street, a brave venture into real estate development by two carpenter-builders, has been repointed and its masonry repaired, unfortunately with mismatched brick.  But overall the upper floors retain their 1877 appearance, and the marvelous entrance survives.  Now about that storefront...

photographs by the author

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The 1847 Thomas Ward House - 866 Broadway




Citizens of New York were understandably terrified when in 1793 a yellow fever epidemic broke out in Philadelphia.  Just two years earlier the disease had claimed 100 New York victims.  So far the disease had not reached Manhattan, but Philadelphia was reeling and eventually 5,000 people, one-tenth of its population, would succumb.   

And then in July 1795 the first yellow fever death in New York City came.  Within a single week in August twenty-one victims died.  Panic ensued and those who could afford to leave the city did so, moving to the fresh air of remote hamlets like Greenwich Village.  Entire businesses moved north, following their patrons, or opened what were considered temporary branch offices.   Realizing that if the epidemic were not gotten under control it would have to move, in 1806 the Manhattan Bank Company purchased a rural plot of land, one acre square, from Edward Williams.   

As it turned out the bank did not have to relocate and the land running north along Broadway from what would become East 17th Street sat vacant for decades.  But by the 1830's the expansion of the city was nearing the area.  A banker, Samuel Ruggles, spearheaded the creation of Union Square in 1832.    Completed in 1842, it was an exclusive enclave of upscale homes surrounding a tranquil, fenced garden with a central fountain.

The Manhattan Bank Company began construction of four speculative brick-faced homes in 1847.  An ample 25-feet wide and four stories tall, the Greek Revival style houses were completed the following year.


Dr Thomas Ward purchased No. 866 from the bank in 1849.  
The high-end nature of the residence was evidenced in the fact that it was plumbed for lighting gas and boasted running water--both hot and cold.  If the physician ever used it for his home and practice, it was short-lived.   In the spring of 1850 he leased it to Customs House agent Jules C. Coutan and his wife for occupancy the following year.

The couple currently lived at No. 255 Greene Street, where Mrs. Coutan also ran her "young ladies' school."  She gave the parents of her students a full year's notice concerning the change in locations on May 25, 1850.  Her announcement in the New-York Daily Tribune read "Institution for Young Ladies--Madame Coutan respectfully informs the parents of her pupils that on the 1st of May next she will remove her institution to 866 Broadway, near Union-square  The classes will reopen on Monday, May 5."

Private schools for well-heeled young ladies were highly important in the 19th century.  The future socialites were schooled in music, languages, art and deportment.  A fluency in French was crucial for ladies who would spend months in Paris each year.  

Despite the relatively small scale of the house, the Coutans accepted out-of-town girls as boarders.  An advertisement on September 10, 1851 described "Madam A. Coutan's French and English Boarding and Day School for Young Ladies, No. 866 Broadway near Union-square."

The Broadway neighborhood around No. 866 at the time was already changing as the upscale homes were being transformed for high-end businesses like dressmakers, merchant tailors and art galleries.  Thomas Ward was aware of the trend and around 1852, when the Coutans left, he converted the ground floor to a retail shop.  Philo Cole moved his family into the upper floors and his business into the shop.

An announcement in the New-York Daily Tribune on June 13, 1853 informed customers "P. Cole has removed his stock of Dry Goods from No. 689 Broadway to No. 866 Broadway, three doors above 17th-st., where he invites his customers and the public generally to give him a call.  Our stock will comprise a full assortment of staple and fancy Dry Goods, Gentlemen's Furnishing Goods, &c."

Philo Cole was following the northward migration of his customers.  He, like the other Broadway merchants near Union Square, catered to the carriage trade and carried costly, imported goods.  An ad on September 18, 1854 announced "Just received, a large lot of Irish linens, table linen, damask napkins, blankets counterpanes, black silks, large lot of lace collars."  

The range of his stock was head-spinning.  In April 1866 he advertised not only "French skirts, newest style; also skirts made to order, of every variety;" but in a separate ad "staple and fancy dry goods, sheetings, shirtings, table linen, boys' wear, under wear, hosiery, kid gloves, mourning goods, colored and black silks, matting, druggeting and oilcloths." (Druggeting was a decorative woolen cloth mat placed under tables to protect costly carpets.)

The Coles augmented the family income by renting unused rooms.  An advertisement in May 1855 offered "Furnished rooms to let in a small family, in suits or single, with gas, hot and cold water.  Inquire of P. Cole, 866 Broadway."

It appears that Cole temporarily considered moving again in 1861.  Dr. Ward advertised "To Let--House No. 866 Broadway, or Furnished Rooms, with full or partial Board.  Will let for either a dwelling or business purposes."  But his long-term tenant seems to have changed his mind.  Four years later Cole's dry goods store was still here, advertising his newly arrive assortment of "linen sheets, bed ticks, mosquito netting, white and colored blankets, and a full assortment of housekeeping Dry Goods generally."

Nevertheless, it was about this time that Ward sold the property and Philo Cole did move on.  Soon afterward Madame Maurice moved her dressmaking establishment in.  Successful modistes were skilled designers who often employed a small staff of workers.  They followed the Paris fashions closely and almost always styled themselves as "Madame."  The best dressmakers amassed their own personal fortunes.

Madame Maurice lost her patience with one client who failed to collect an expensive gown as the summer season of 1871 began.  Her pointed announcement in The New York Herald on July 28 warned "Mrs. Howard is requested to call for her dress before the 3d August next, otherwise it will be sold to pay expenses."

At the time the ground floor of the former house next door, No. 864, had been home to A. Iauch's "French Confectionery and Restaurant" for at least four years.  By 1873 he had purchased and expanded into No. 866.  He operated, as well, the A. Iauch's Hotel and Restaurant in the fashionable summer resort of Long Branch, New Jersey.

Iauch was a member of the Swiss Benevolent Society of New York, a group of successful businessmen intent on helping their less fortunate immigrant countrymen.  On January 29, 1876 at 8:00 p.m. the group gathered for a meeting "at Mr. Iauch's, 864 and 866 Broadway."

He had ceased renting rooms in the upper floors around this time, leasing space instead to small commercial concerns.  A school for instructing apparel workers operated here in 1877, offering classes in "The Shoulder and Breast Combination French Geometric system, for drafting ladies' waists and basques.  Teaching will commence August 1.  866 Broadway."

Downstairs the patrons sipping chocolate and enjoying French pastries were mostly the feminine shoppers who visited the Broadway and Union Square shops--like Gorham Silver, Tiffany & Co. and Lord & Taylor.  In 1884 New England: A Handbook for Travelers noted that "Iauch...keeps [a] ladies' restaurant which is much frequented."

Four about two years, beginning in 1884 The New York Dramatic News and Society Journal was published here.  A subscriber paid $4 a year, or about $103 today, to get what advertisements promised were all the latest "telegrams and correspondence from every Theatre and Opera House in the United States and Europe.  Also contains notes relative to the Legitimate, Variety and Amateur Stage and Society."

A. Iausch's restaurant was gone in 1885 and the two ground floor spaces were again separated.  No. 866 became home to D. B. Bedell & Co., purveyors of expensive cut glass, fine china and similar household items.  On March 21, 1885 The Record & Guide commented on the cut glass wares "worthy of admiration" available.  "Olive trays, fruit bowls, butter tubs, with several odd designs in finger and salad bowls, are constantly being received by D. B. Bedell, 866 Broadway."

Shopping at D. B. Bedell & Co. was not an inexpensive prospect.  And Victorian decorum demanded a range of specialized plates and containers for different dishes.  Bedell's French and English porcelain, like Royal Worcester, consisted of "dinner, fish and game sets, separate plates, oyster plates, chocolate pots, single cups and saucers, salad bowls, glassware, jardinieres" as well as "flower vases, china lamps, clocks, asparagus plates and a variety of Fancy Articles."

In 1896 a decorated dinner set cost as much as $250, more than $7,500 today.  Twelve hand-painted plates were priced at $75, nearly $190 each today.

As Christmas approached that year the New-York Tribune nudged shoppers toward D. B. Bedell & Co.  "That glassware should be a favorite form of present in the glacial period of the year is a practical recognition of the 'eternal fitness of things' not always met with in the selection of gifts."  After enumerating many items in the store's "finer selection of rich cut glassware," the article added "There is a new kind of American pottery made in Ohio and of which this firm has the exclusive sale in this city.  It is artistically shaded in rich, dark green and browns, and the oddly shaped pieces have each a miniature bunch of leaves or flowers painted on them before they are glazed."

That "new kind of pottery" which the article failed to name was Rookwood, manufactured in Cincinnati.  The journalist called it "certainly exquisite, and few importations on the market to-day can equal it in beauty of colorings or in the novel shapes of bowls, vases and jugs."  It was high praise at a time when art pottery was just emerging and moneyed shoppers still look to England and Europe for high-end tableware.

The Evening Telegram, December 22, 1898 (copyright expired)

As the shopping district continued to move northward, D. B. Bedell & Co. closed its doors in 1899 and moved to No. 256 Fifth Avenue.   The store became home to Morse Brothers menswear store and, by 1903, Fuller's Detective Bureau operated from an upper floor office.  The firm was well-established, having been founded in 1876.

A distraught woman (or, most likely, her husband) visited the office in the spring of 1903 after having lost a valuable piece of jewelry.  The bureau took the case and, while the client most likely envisioned investigators scouring pawn shops, it instead placed an advertisement in the New-York Daily Tribune on May 9:

A handsome reward will be paid for following article lost in this city between Sunday, 3d, and Thursday, 7th inst.:  Pearl necklace, containing about 80 pearls, with three pearls pendant and diamond studded clasp.

The firm, headed by J. M. Fuller, remained at No. 866 for several years, marketing its expertise in 1904 as "banking, legal, commercial and private investigations; any section."  In 1908 it offered services abroad as well.  Entitling its advertisement on May 31 "A Detective," it described "Services including all legitimate civil and criminal investigations.  American and foreign agents."

By 1915 the Broadway block was no longer upscale and small manufacturing shops moved into the building.  That year the Princess Art and Embroidery Works took space, as did cloak makers Cohen, Nelson & Gussow.

In November 1921 the P. R. W. Holding Company purchased No. 866.  Its main tenant at the time was the Bay State Fibre Co., sellers of cut-rate furniture.  An advertisement in The Evening Telegram on June 16 that year offered "Reed and fibre furniture--warehouse overstock; priced at less than cost to manufacture."

The Evening World, July 6, 1921 (copyright expired)
The Bay State Fibre Co. would have to find new accommodations the following year when the New York Telephone Company took the ground floor and basement for "a branch office."

In 1923 the owners made alterations which resulted in an office (presumably to the telephone company's specifications) on the ground floor and factory space above.  At the same time a fire escape was installed outside.


The 1923 fire escape fronted the upper floors were signage attached to the facade advertised the tenants in this tax photo form the 1940's.  The Broadway Book Centre occupied the ground floor.  NYC Department of Records & Information Services.
The Union Square neighborhood suffered serious decline in the 1960's and 70's.  The park itself became dangerous and overgrown as the city teetered on the edge of bankruptcy.  In 1986 No. 866 was home to a Blimpie's restaurant which would be the scene of a horrific crime in September that year.

Neil Scott, a 20-year-old Harlem resident, was hired by the Ahluwalia family who owned the franchise restaurant in August 1986.  But his violent temper did not make for a good fit.   He had been repeatedly chastised for being both late and rude to customers.  The last straw came when he got into an argument with one of the owners, pulled out a knife and slashed him.  The wound required 13 stitches.  But rather than press charges, the family simply fired him.

The restaurant was shut down by the Health Department for code violations for a few days in September.  When it reopened on September 16 Scott appeared at around 3:25 in the afternoon.  He asked one of the owners working behind the counter for his job back.  When he was rebuffed, he pulled out a pistol and began firing.  Four of the Ahluwalia family members were hit.  Two did not survive.


By the turn of the century the Union Square neighborhood was in the midst of a renaissance.  The Parks Department had completely renovated the park and business had returned to the several formerly boarded up buildings.  In 2000 No. 866 received a make-over which resulted in a spruced-up storefront and two apartments in the upper floors.

photographs by the author

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Thomas E. Stillman Mansion - 9 East 78th Street


photo by Chauncey Primm

Thing were going very well for Brooklyn attorney Thomas E. Stillman at the turn of the last century.  Born in Manhattan in 1837, he was one of five sons of Alfred Stillman.  Now the head of the law firm Stillman & Hubbard with offices at 40 Wall Street, the 1906 Memorial Cyclopedia of the Twentieth Century would call him "one of the best known and most successful lawyers of the city."  He and his wife, the former Charlotte Elizabeth Greenman (she went by her middle name), had four daughters, twins Jessie and Helen Elizabeth, Mary Emma, and Charlotte Rogers.

The Stillmans maintained country homes in Tuxedo, New York and New London, Connecticut.  With Thomas now essentially retired in 1899, he and Elizabeth laid plans to move from Brooklyn to Manhattan.  That February Stillman purchased the 35-foot wide plot at No. 9 East 78th Street, just east of Fifth Avenue, from Stanley Mortimer.   He paid a significant $81,667 for the undeveloped lot--more than $2.5 million today.

The Stillmans commissioned architect Charles Coolidge Haight to design the residence.  His choice of the neo-Renaissance style, a favorite of Upper West Side architect Clarence True, was unusual on the east side of Central Park.  

When Haight's office released this rendering in 1899, the house was under construction.  Because both flanking lots were empty, draftsmen filled in the blanks with imaginary homes.  Architectural Record, February 1899 (copyright expired)

Completed in late in 1900, the dignified Indiana limestone mansion rose four floors over an American basement. The entrance portico, supported by paired stone Ionic columns formed a balcony at the second floor. Competing with the portico for prominence was a two-story three-sided bay capped with another carved balcony at the fourth floor.  The fifth floor took the form of a dormered mansard mostly hidden behind a stone parapet.

The interiors reflected the Stillmans’ wealth and sophistication.  The Italian Renaissance reception hall was paneled in elaborately carved Santo Domingo mahogany. Fluted columns with bronze capitals graced the entrance of the main hall, which was covered in red velvet to set off a costly collection of paintings.

A mahogany staircase with a solid bronze balustrade wound up the four floors. Red velvet within by antique metal borders graced the walls of the library.  The woodwork here was of imported Circassian walnut.

Fronting 78th Street was the French salon, decorated in the Louis XVI style. The walls were covered with a greenish-blue damask woven in Italy for the room.  A paonazza marble mantel was complimented by satinwood woodwork.  

The Louis XVI Salon -- The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 5, 1906 (copyright expired)

Connected to the salon was the music room in the newly-popular Colonial Revival style.  Here mullioned windows looked out to the inner court.  Rosewood pillars inlaid with brass led back to the main hall and a wide passageway led to the dining room–also Colonial Revival--with antique quartered oak and a beamed ceiling.

Only months after the family moved in tragedy struck.  Elizabeth Stillman died in her bedroom of pneumonia on February 20, 1901 at the age of 57.  

Living on in the house with their father were the still-unmarried Charlotte and Mary.  Both women were active in philanthropic and social causes.  They were, for instance, highly involved in the White Rose Mission, a "Christian, nonsectarian Home for Colored Girls and Women."  It had been formed in 1897 by Victoria Earle Matthews, a social reformer and former slave.  On April 13, 1902 the New-York Daily Tribune reported "Mrs. William J. Schieffelin, Mrs. Henry Howland, Miss Grace Dodge and Miss Stillman have arranged for a drawing room talk earlier in the day [of April 22] at the house of Thomas E. Stillman, No. 9 East Seventy-eighth-st., for the benefit of the White Rose Mission."

Newspapers followed the movements of Stillman and his daughters as they sailed to Europe or to their country homes.  On February 28, 1904, for instance, the New-York Tribune reported "Thomas E. Stillman, Miss Mary Stillman, Miss Charlotte Stillman...were at Tuxedo last week."

Stone carvers created intricate Renaissance panels.  photo by Alice Lum
That would be among the last of Mary's trips with her father and sister.  Her engagement to Edward S. Harkness, son of Standard Oil mogul Stephen Harkness, had been announced.  The groom was 30-years-old and Mary was about six months younger.  

Perhaps because of their ages, or because of the couple's disdain for ostentation, theirs would be a "home wedding" in the Stillman mansion.  The New-York Tribune reported on November 6, 1904 "Only relatives and close friends have been invited, but a few extra cards have been sent out for the reception which follows."

The wedding took place on November 15.  Among the "close friends" attending were the John D. Rockefellers and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr.'s, the extended Sloane families, Augustus D. Juilliard and his wife, the Henry M. Flaglers, and William J. Schieffelin and his wife.  

Charlotte was her sister's maid of honor.  The Sun reported that the ceremony took place "amid floral decorations which were profuse and beautiful...in a drawing room hung in reseda brocade and finished in carved satin wood, resting on Italian marble."

An awning had been erected from the entrance to the curb under which a "soft carpet" was laid for the arriving guests. Policemen and detectives were posted to prevent “curious loiterers” and other detectives were inside to watch over the wedding presents of gold, silver and jewelry that were displayed on six large tables.

As Mary was in her bedroom dressing, a horse-drawn cart driven by an elderly black woman, accompanied by a small boy, pulled up at the awning.  Police rushed in to move the woman along.  Ignoring them, the she handed the reins to the boy and instructed him to move the cart down the block.  The woman marched up to the front door where a liveried servant attempted to stop her with no more success than the police had had.

Thomas Stillman came to see what the commotion was, only to recognize a former servant, “Aunt Celia,” who had helped rear the children back in Brooklyn.  When she approached old age, Stillman had bought her a farm in New Jersey and built her a comfortable house.  The old woman had no intentions of missing the wedding and had brought along two presents: a home-grown pumpkin, which she claimed was the largest in New Jersey, and a barrel of red apples.

Like a cherished, long-lost member of the family, Aunt Celia was ushered upstairs to Mary’s room where she watched the bride dress in her white chiffon gown.  She then followed closely along as the wealthy socialites filed into the drawing room for the ceremony, where she wept “after the fashion of old people on joyous marriage occasions,” according to The New York Times.

After the wedding, the aged black woman noticed that a place of honor had been made on one of the gift tables for her offerings.  Items like silver candelabra and gold spoons had been moved aside for the great orange pumpkin and the red apples.  The New York Times reported that “not a guest passed out of the house without taking a last look into this most picturesque array of wedding gifts that ever decorated a fashionable New Yorker’s home.”

Charlotte and her father continued their social routine, sometimes joined by one or more of the married sisters.  On February 12, 1905, for instance the New-York Tribune noted that "Thomas E. Stillman and his daughters, Mrs. William Ambrose Taylor [Jessie] and Miss Charlotte R. Stillman, were also passengers on the Deutschland.  They will join Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Harkness in March.  The Stillmans will spend the summer at their New-London place."

The following summer Thomas and Charlotte were in Europe.  They completed what The Times called "an extensive automobile tour of Switzerland and Italy, before returning to Paris.  On July 19, 1906 the newspaper reported, "Thomas E. Stillman, the well-known New York lawyer, accompanied by his daughter, Charlotte; his granddaughter Elizabeth, and a party of friends...started from Paris at 10 o'clock yesterday for Lisieux in an automobile driven by an Italian chauffeur named Carsughie."

The group had gone 200 miles when they stopped for lunch.  Shortly afterward, a horrific incident occurred.  According to the chauffeur, he was suddenly "overcome by an attack of vertigo and was temporarily blinded."   The New York Times said "The automobile rushed forward unguided" at a high rate of speed, before smashing into a heavy miller's wagon.  In the car was Charlotte; the attorney’s granddaughter, Elizabeth; Andrew Carnegie’s niece; and other friends.

The car, which flipped over, was demolished and Stillman was thrown into the road. He never recovered from his injuries, dying in a French hospital two months later.  A little over two weeks afterward the funeral was held in drawing room of No. 9 East 78th Street.  On September 26 The New York Times remarked "Many well-known lawyers and business men of the city attended the services."

Still unmarried, Charlotte remained in the house.  She continued to occupy the Tuxedo and New London homes; but often traveled with the Harknesses, as well.  They were frequent guests at Charlotte's homes, and she at theirs.

Charlotte was at the Connecticut estate in 1908 when she fell seriously ill.  On June 22 the New-York Tribune reported "Mrs. William Armstrong is in New London, where she has been called by the illness of her sister, Miss Charlotte Stillman, who has typhoid fever."  Two months later, on August 27, the newspaper noted "Mr. and Mrs. Edward S. Harkness have returned to New London, Conn., from Lenox, where they have been with Mrs. Harkness's sister, Miss Charlotte Stillman, who is recovering from a long and serious sickness."

It was no doubt her medical condition which prompted Charlotte to take an apartment at the Devon on West 55th Street for the following winter season.  That she would not return to the East 78th Street mansion seemed evident when the house house was leased to the multi-millionaire Stephen C. Clark "for a term of years" in December 1910.

Following the expiration of Clark's lease, the house was rented to William T. Hyde who, as reported in the Real Estate Record & Guide "recently sold his expensive residence at 11 East 70th st., just east of the new H. C. Frick residence."  Living in the Stillman mansion was an expensive prospect.  Rent on the 10-year lease was $10,000 per year; or about $260,000 today.

As it turned out Hyde stayed only about five years.  In 1919 the Stillman estate sold the house to Edward Daniels Faulkner, wealthy owner of the upholstery firm of Johnson & Faulkner.  Before he and his wife, the former Marianne Gaillard, moved in, the French jeweler Pierre Cartier leased the house for the winter season.

Edward and Marianne had married in 1885.  Their summer home, Pinecroft, was at Woodstock, Vermont.  Like Edward and Mary Harkness, the couple enjoyed using their massive wealth for the benefit of others rather than for show.

Edward Daniels died in September 1926, leaving an estate of more than $6 million.  The Sun called his will "one of the most unusual" on record."  He divided the ownership of his firm--valued at about $2 million--among his employees, "who served me long and faithfully."

Marianne received $3 million outright (more than $42 million today), and another $1 million was set aside "for the establishment of a fund for the study, treatment, alleviation and cure of arthritis, to be known as 'The Faulkner Fund for the Cure of Arthritis.'"

The widowed Marianne spent less time in Manhattan, preferring Pinecroft.  She not only established the Edward D. Faulkner Clinic, but the Faulkner Trust to aid Woodstock residents in need, the Woodstock Recreation Center, and funded the Faulkner House at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire.  An endowment to the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is still active.

In 1946, after Marianne sold the 78th Street house, it was converted to three apartments per floor.  The mansard was remodeled as a rather featureless blank-faced penthouse level.  That level contained three apartments as well.

The following September the showrooms of V'Soske, Inc. opened here.   The decorator shop featured the hand-woven carpeting of designer Stanislav V'Soske.

Perhaps the most celebrated of the tenants of No. 9 East 78th Street over then next decades was noted sculptor Elizabeth Richard.  Her apartment and studio were here in 1953 when she became engaged to Franz Matsch, Austrian Consul General.


The exterior appearance of the original four floors of the Stillman house is remarkably unchanged. Despite the architecturally regrettable penthouse, the residence retains its architectural dignity.