226 East 12th Street

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226 East 12th Street, New York City, NY

226 East 12th Street

Virginia Arms, 1928 art deco
Building Information
Architect Sugarman & Berger
Management Company Argo Management
Number of Units 81
Number of Floors 11
Year Built 1928
Construction Method Concrete
Type of Roof PMR
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226 East 12th Street, New York City, NY
Distance to Public Transit Over 50 routes nearby
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R7-2
Title of Land Cooperative



Although not often found under this name, 226 East 12th Street in East Village was called the Virginia Apartments or Virginia Arms when it was built in 1928. The site, originally 3 townhouses, was home to the New York School for Deaconesses until they moved in 1911. The building was designed by Sugarman and Berger, the same architects who designed the famous New Yorker Hotel. In the late 80's the building was purchased, renovated and turned into a cooperative style ownership.

East Village was an area often ravaged by grueling poverty and neglect. It became a magnet for artists, bohemians, radicals and reformers, home of intense cultural activity that changed the world. Tompkins Square Park, a 10.5 acre public park in the Alphabet City section of East Village that was gifted from Gerard Stuyvesant was opened in 1850. Before the 1800’s this area was just swampland and marshes. Everything in this area is built on landfill. Poor immigrant families from Ireland, Germany, Ukraine, Puerto Rico lived in crowded dilapidated shanties, later home to brick tenements.

The Park became a common place of protest with anti war rallies and draft riots, concerts and public performance like the Howl Festival, the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival and the Grateful Dead Concerts. Renovated in the 1990s, it now has a state of the art dog run with historical monuments, playgrounds, basketball courts, ping pong tables, handball courts and built in outdoor chess tables. The park now attracts young families, students and seniors as well as tourists from all over the globe.[1]

Four blocks south of 226 East 12th is St. Mark’s Place, a residential and retail street that contains mosaic-adorned lampposts that East Village icon and artist Jim Powers has been working on since 1989. There’s the St. Marks Hotel, and the Theatre 80 St. Marks, one of several East Village venues for theater, art and music. Murals, colorful mosaics, brownstones, street art and classic New York walk-ups blend to create a wonderfully eclectic ambiance.[2]


East Village is a neighborhood in Manhattan Borough in New York City. It covers the area east of Greenwich Village from Houston to 14th Street and the East River to Fourth Avenue. As well as diverse and plentiful businesses, the beautiful residences from classic walk ups to modern condos, make the East Village one of the most popular places to live in New York City. The Virginia Apartments at 226 East 12th Street is located in the northern part of East Village on a beautiful tree lined street. Its location is only three blocks from Union Square, with many restaurants, bars, movie theaters, and lively street life.[3]

Just a few block east is Tompkins Square Park and to the west is the main branch of the Strand book store at the corner of 12th Street and Broadway.

Also in East Village are Avenues A,B,C and D, an area about two thirds the size of East Village, called Alphabet City. The New York Times observed in 2005 that Alphabet City went "from a drug-infested no man's land to the epicenter of downtown cool".[4]


The architects Sugarman and Berger also designed the famous New Yorker Hotel.

Built in 1928, this typical prewar building was built with thick concrete walls and floors clad with a solid exterior of brick offering good soundproofing. With some renovations to replace single pane windows, these homes offer good insulation as well.

Since this building was bought and converted into a Co-operative in 1988, The Virginia Apartments have had many renovations including the plumbing, elevators and hallways. The lobby welcomes you in with original Art Deco period details including patterned terrazzo floors, glass sconces, hand-painted reliefs and a fireplace that now houses an aquarium. The bright and airy hallways are accessed by two elevators, two internal staircases and a third fire staircase.[5]

Layout and Features

The Virginia Apartments were built originally with 81 suites on 11 floors ranging in size from studio to two bedrooms. South facing suites overlook a lovely courtyard. The building sits on a beautifully tree lined street which offers the residents some privacy and natural surroundings.

After the building was purchased in the late 1980's and converted to a co-operative, the suites were all renovated but still kept the parquet flooring, large windows and cast iron tubs. Most of the homes have now been updated with personal touches of marble, granite, stainless steel, hard wood flooring and energy efficient appliances. Many now have dishwashers and updated windows. One of the suites is reserved for the live-in Superintendent.

Floor Plans

Virginia Apartments offers 30 different floor plans. Originally ranging in size from studio to two bedroom units, it appears there are now some three bedroom layouts.[6] Here is a sampling of several different layouts.


There are large and small storage lockers and bike storage in the basement as well as shared laundry. There is an intercom system and security system in place, an impressive entrance with fish tank and wrought iron staircase from lobby. A live-in superintendent provides safety, security and convenience at the Virginia Apartments.


226 East 12th Street Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No

  • This is a pet friendly, well run Co-operative.
  • Sublets are allowed with time and approval restrictions.
  • There are no age restrictions.


As suites have become renovated over time, owners have chosen more sustainable appliances, finishing and features.

Public transit options abound and biking is always a popular way to get around.

Bike storage is available in the building but may require a wait time for a spot to open up. Union Square is the closest composting booth for those interested and there is recycling in the building.

With a walk score of 100, this building belongs to the "walker's paradise" club.


Community gardens are found on every street in East Village
  • The East River shoreline was where Avenue C is now; everything east of that was built on progressive stages of landfill — including, amazingly, rubble from bombed London, shipped across the Atlantic after World War II to form part of the foundation for the Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive.[7]
  • The enormous weeping willows at La Plaza Cultural, on the corner of Avenue C and Ninth Street, are fed by the same underground springs that once made the area a swamp. One of the largest and lushest gardens, the Sixth Street and Avenue B Community Garden, was begun in 1983 with a few small plots of vegetables among the rubble of demolished tenements. Today, one of its founders, Joanee Freedom, told me that there are about 90 plots, where neighbors grow everything from string beans and cucumbers to ferns indigenous to this once marshy area. A speckled koi chases goldfish in an artificial pond, and there’s a small stage for cultural events and weddings.[8]
  • Rent, often stylized as RENT, is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson based on Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème. It tells the story of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York's Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. On Broadway, Rent gained critical acclaim and won a Tony Award for Best Musical among other awards. The Broadway production closed on September 7, 2008 after a 12 year run of 5,124 performances, the ninth longest running Broadway show at the time. The production grossed over $280 million.[9]


  1. New York Times
  2. Bracha Group Blog
  3. Bracha Group Blog
  4. New York Times
  5. Street Easy
  6. Street Easy
  7. NY Times
  8. New York Times
  9. Wikipedia

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