230 Riverside Drive

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230 Riverside Drive, New York City, NY

230 Riverside Drive
230RiversideDrive-NYC-Exterior.jpg

The seemingly imposing mass of 230 Riverside Drive with rigging still attached form restoration activities
Building Information
Developer Ciluzzi Construction Corporation
Architect Charles H. Lench
Number of Units 268
Number of Floors 19
Year Built 1931
Construction Method Concrete
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230 Riverside Drive, New York City, NY, United States
Distance to Public Transit Less than one block
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning R8
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

230 Riverside Drive as of 1931

230 Riverside Drive began accepting rental tenants upon completion late in 1931. It featured a location on a sunny corner of 95th Street and magnificent views of the Hudson River. The 1931 promotional brochure pictured at the left boasts, "Closet space is more than ample." A tantalizing diagram of the top "Pent House" shows four apartments all with terraces.

Riverside Drive as it appeared in 1890

From 1885 to 1910, the Upper West Side went through a building boom, contributed to, by the opening of the subway line in 1904 that extended to 116th Street. This subway line replaced the demolished IRT Ninth Avenue Line, New York City's first elevated train line built in the decade following the civil war.

Significant changes occurred in the neighborhood from the 1930s to the 1950s with a large influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the Caribbean. By 1960, it had become a rough neighborhood of tenement dwellings until an urban renewal project commenced the construction of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts between 1962 and 1968, beginning a revitalization of the area.

This neighborhood is noted for its significant Jewish population, many of which moved here to escape Hitler's Germany. The Upper West Side continued to evolve by attracting a large concentration of an ethnically mixed gay population. 'Gentrification' of the Upper West Side continued with more and more recent college students who moved to the area, adding to the cultural mixture and diverse income levels.

Today, Riverside Drive in the Upper West Side is a highly sought after location in which to live. It contains high numbers of condominiums and cooperatives. 230 Riverside Drive is within an area slated to become the "Riverside West End Historic District".[1]



Location

230 Riverside Drive in the Upper West Side of Manhattan is ideally situated with views of the Hudson River and ready access to the Hudson River Park across the road. Many locals still refer to the area as Bloomingdale, the Anglicized version of its original Dutch name, "Bloemendaal".

Riverside Drive itself is a wide boulevard running more or less parallel to the Hudson River. The area is one of the most coveted areas of Manhattan to live. Historically, it was a neighborhood of luxurious row houses and free standing mansions. The original mansion of Charles M. Schwab, said to be the most ambitious and grandest house in all of Manhattan.

Today, the neighborhood boasts many monuments and tributes to its storied history, both local and far reaching. It is just steps away from Joan of Arc Park, the Fireman's Memorial, the Sailors and Soldiers Monument, and of course, Riverside Park, the second largest park in New York City after Central Park.

A few hundred feet away, residents may shop for fruits and vegetables, gather delicacies from the Kosher Market Place, and choose a seafood meal from Murray's Sturgeon Shop.

Emily Dickinson PS 75 is but a block and half away. Preschools, a variety of Montessori schools, and some more PS and MS public schools fill in the choices, not to mention some religious academies and public high schools. About 30 learning institutions are located within a half mile of 230 Riverside Drive. Few restaurants and bars are in the immediate vicinity making this an even more ideal family oriented neighborhood.[2]

Construction

230 Riverside Drive is a wedge-shaped building that rises from grade rather plainly for 14 floors. It is then interrupted with a band-course of terracotta that separates the two setbacks of the roof. The top four levels contain penthouses, the enclosed water tank structure and the building mechanical equipment.

One of the apartments during renovation activities

H. Thomas O’Hara was the architect for the conversion. During renovation activities, neighbors were concerned that the beloved terracotta trim of the building would be lost. Instead, the pieces were repaired and restored to their original positions. Pieces beyond repair were replicated with new ones and replaced. The building is adorned with gargoyles in the shapes of fierce birds and accented strips of light colored terracotta trims.

The overall fenestration of the structure is a sign of its era. Windows are smaller than more modern buildings and are symmetrically place along the facades. The corner of the building facing 95th Street and Riverside Drive is beveled and features corner view windows on each floor.

However, renovation projects such as this take time. Residents were inconvenienced with dangling electrical wires, thick layers of renovation and construction dust, only the freight elevator for access, and bags of trash in the halls.

Eventually, the work was done and the building was re-marketed. Unfortunately, due to changes in New York State's laws governing conversions, rent-stabilized tenants have become a minority percentage in some of these building and have no other recourse but to move when their leases expire.[3]

Here are some of the gargoyles that are on 230 Riverside Drive:

Layout and Features

230 Riverside Drive accommodation options in 1931

The lobby and other common areas have all been newly renovated. Additionally, a garden area has been added as part of the new renovation.

It is a prewar building from an era where few owned cars, so there is no parking area. Also, many of the modern features that are expected have not been included. For instance there are no balconies and no full-on health club, although, there is a gym.

But the building is well located for ideal shopping, easy access to public transportation, close to parks, and is watched over by the full time doorman and the building's gargoyles.

Floor Plans

Numerous floor planbs exist for 230 Riverside Drive. Here are a few examples along with some retro images from the original marketing brochure of 1931:



Amenities

Here is a list of the features of 230 Riverside Drive:

  • Full time doorman
  • Across 95th Street from playground and Riverside Park
  • Convenient public transportation
  • Good local shopping
  • Excellent views of Riverside Park and Hudson River
  • Gargoyles
  • Bike Room
  • Gym
  • Laundry in Building
  • Storage Available
  • Live-in Superintendent

Bylaws

230 Riverside Drive Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No



  • Pets are always welcome
  • Rentals are allowed
  • No age guidelines exist for ownership

Sustainability

230 Riverside Drive was constructed long before the notion of 'green buildings was considered.

Renovations have helped to create a more sustainable living environment for residents by including more energy efficient modern appliances, low flow fixtures and energy conscious lighting.

Residents themselves may also contribute to a 'greener' lifestyle by following some simple practices, such as:

  • Using environmentally friendly household products
  • Upgrading their appliances and lights to more energy efficient models as they become available
  • Using sustainable materials when renovating their apartments
  • Participating in New York City’s recycling programs
  • Reducing their carbon footprint by choosing to walk or take public transit instead of using a car


Trivia

An aerial view of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
  • The creation of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts at Columbus Circle has greatly enhanced New York City's reputation as a center for the arts around the world.
    • Too many local students were leaving for Europe to continue their performing arts training, be it music, dance, or stage.
    • The center was first created as part of an urban renewal initiative led by John D. Rockefeller and a consortium of civic leaders.
    • Rockefeller himself is credited with raising and donating form his own funds a sum of $184.5 million needed to build the complex.
    • Today, the complex houses 29 performance venues covering a vast spectrum of performances.[5]
  • The creation of Central Park in 1850s and 1860s uprooted squatters who lived where the park now stands. Many of them simply moved over to the Upper West Side and the area became a collection of shacks, boarding houses and of course, rowdy taverns.
  • Numerous movies and TV programs feature the Upper West Side. Here are a few:
    • Both Ghostbusters movies
    • I am Legend with Will Smith
    • New York Minute
    • Spider-Man
    • How I Met Your Mother
    • Will $ Grace
    • Sex and the City
    • 30 Rock
    • Wall Street
    • West Side Story from 1961, using the former tenements of where the Lincoln Center stands today.

References

  1. Wikipedia - Upper West Side
  2. Walk Score
  3. New York Times - Feb 27, 2006
  4. Gargoyles of New York - 230 Riverside Drive
  5. Wikipedia - Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts


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