1 Lexington Avenue

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1 Lexington Avenue, New York City, NY

1 Lexington Avenue
1lexington-exterior.jpg

STORYTELLERCAPTION
Building Information
Architect Herbert Lucas
Number of Units 27
Number of Floors 12
Year Built 1910
Construction Method Concrete
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1 Lexington Avenue, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Less than a block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning LH-1
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

Lexington Avenue and 42nd Street, 1920 - 1930

1 Lexington Avenue originally was inhabited by a few lucky people because it only had a total of 12 units, one per floor. It has a unique feature adopted from the middle ages and hardly seen in modern design, a moat encased with a cast iron gate. [1]

The area that the building is in is known as the Flatiron District, named after the famous Flatiron building on Fifth Avenue and 22nd Street. The specific neighborhood came about because starting in 1985, as the the area grew, the Real Estate industry wanted to market a specific name.

Before, the area had been primarily commercial and had many retail and toy shops. Because of this, it was often referred to as the Toy District. The Toy Center buildings at 23rd Street and Broadway were built during this time period. In 1903 and 1945, the annual American International Toy Fair took place in the Toy District. [2]

The area owes its development to three defining events in New York History. First was the adoption of the Commissioners' plan in the early 1800s to align the streets and avenues in a grid pattern. Second, the creation of Central Park, to attract people who lived in the older parts of New York City to migrate to the up and coming neighborhoods further north. Then there was the introduction and development of transit systems. It started with horse-car lines, then elevated trains, to trolley car service, and finally the subway system tying the Upper East Side to the rest of the city.[3]

The creation of Lexington Avenue began in 1832 when Samuel Ruggles petitioned to the State of New York to approve the creation of a new north-south avenue. Ruggles already owned the land in the area and was developing it as a planned community of townhouses around Gramercy Park.



Location

1 Lexington Avenue is located in the Flatiron District bordered by Union Square and Greenwich Village on the south and then west to the Avenue of the Americas, which is Sixth Avenue, and the neighborhood of Chelsea, then east to Park Avenue South and the start of the Gramercy Park neighborhood.

Typically, daily errands do not require the use of a car due to the many amenities and services in the area. Within walking distance is Gramercy Park Hotel restaurant, Stix Mediterranean Grill coffee, Grand Central Market groceries, and School of the Future High School. [4]

Within the Flatiron District is Ladies' Mile Historic District preserving 440 buildings. Between the Civil War and World War I, the area was home to some of the most famous department stores such as Lord & Taylor, B. Altman, W, & J. Sloane, Arnold Constable, and Best & Co. [5]

Gramercy Park is a small private park about two acres in size. Only people living around the park and those who pay an annual fee have key access to the park. The name Gramercy is the anglicized version that comes from its original Dutch name, Crommessie, which means little crooked swamp. In 1831, Samuel B. Ruggles bought the Gramercy Farm property and developed the land into what is now Gramercy Park.

One of the most famous buildings in the area is the Chrysler building. For 11 months, it was the tallest building in the world before its record was broken by the Empire State Building. Although the building was built and designed for Chrysler, the corporation never paid for it or owned it. Walter P. Chrysler paid for it himself so that his children could inherit it.[6]


Construction

This building still maintains its pre-war character and beauty. The brown and red brick building has a limestone base and is surrounded by a cast iron fence containing a moat.

Traditionally, moats were used to surround castles or towns as a line of defense. The oldest evidence of moat dates back to ancient Egyptian times. Moats were most popular during the Medieval times, especially in Europe. Recently in 2008, a moat was planned for Arizona to control illegal immigration from Mexico.

There is an arched canopy that covers a step up entrance under a colonnaded portico. The portico is supported by Tuscan columns. The round arched windows are symmetrical on each floor and spaced at an unequal pattern. Above the windows there are detailed carvings of garlands of fruit and the arch has a center stone keystone. The is a cornice above the three story limestone base that breaks up the contrasting materials in a traditional way.

There are also multiple cast iron balconies, although not all suites have private balconies.[7]


Layout and Features

Many of the suites have been updated to improve the property values and make living in the units more comfortable to their needs. Because of this, many of the features in each suite vary.

Most suites have fireplaces, entryways with coat closets, built in book shelves, separate dining rooms, views of Gramercy park, ten foot ceilings, herring bone flooring, and the original lead glass windows.[8]

Floor Plans

Amenities

Amenities at 1 Lexington Avenue include:

  • Doorman
  • Elevator Person
  • Basement Storage
  • Laundry Facilities
  • On-site Superintendent

Bylaws

1 Lexington Avenue Bylaws
Rentals No
Pets Yes



  • Pets are permitted with some restrictions
  • Rentals are not allowed

Sustainability

New York City is very committed to creating a better environment for not only the city but to expand the environmental benefits to the world. There is a strict agenda with high goals, yet many of them are already well on their way of being achieved.

Within the past four years the city has increased the amount of parkland and has restored much of the existing green spaces.

Neighborhoods have been built around transit hubs so that residents have a more environmentally friendly commute to work. Also, many existing homes, like 1 Lexington Avenue, have been preserved which prevents the need to introduce new construction materials. [9]


Trivia

Gold key to Gramercy Park
  • Residents of the building include Uma Thurman and Winona Ryder, the actors, and Danny Meyer, the restaurateur.
  • In 1899, Lexington Avenue was the scene of the first arrest in New York City for speeding. A bicycle patrolman overtook cabdriver Jacob German, who had been racing down the avenue at the "reckless" speed of 12 mph. German was a taxi driver who was driving for the Electric Vehicle Company.
  • Lexington Avenue has carried one-way traffic since 1960.[10]
  • There are 383 keys that are numbered and coded and able to unlock any of the four cast iron Gates of Gramercy Park. Only the resident lots surrounding the park have the privilege of attaining keys. Each year there is an assessment fee of $7,500 per lot which grants the lot two keys. The keys and locks are changed every year and each gate is self-locking. The key is also required to leave the park. Originally, 150 years ago, the keys were made of solid gold. Today, they are made from an alloyed nickel.[11]


References

  1. City Realty
  2. Wikipedia - Flatiron District
  3. Anthony Robins
  4. Walk Score
  5. Wikipedia
  6. Wikipedia - Lexington Avenue
  7. City Reality
  8. Street Easy
  9. NYC Gov
  10. Wikipedia - Lexington Avenue
  11. NY Times - "How Do You Get a Key to Gramercy Park?"


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