Ansonia

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2109 Broadway, New York City

Ansonia
AnsoniaNYC.jpg

The Ansonia in the Upper West Side
Building Information
Developer William Earl Dodge Stokes
Architect Paul E. Duboy
Management Company Sirius LLC
Number of Units 400
Number of Floors 18
Year Built 1904
Construction Method Steel
Type of Roof IRMA
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2109 Broadway, New York City
Distance to Public Transit Over 20 nearby routes
Region New York City
Municipality New York City
Zoning C4-6A
Title of Land Condominium


Contents

Background

The European styling of the Ansonia
In the late 19th century, the Upper West Side was dramatically redeveloped, with much of the credit going to developer William Earl Dodge Stokes, multimillionaire real estate mogul and copper heir. Wanting to build the grandest hotel in New York City, Stokes commissioned architect Paul E. Duboy to design what would eventually be The Ansonia, named after the Connecticut town in which Stokes’ grandfather Anson Greene Phelps resided.


The Ansonia was initially a residential hotel noted for its luxurious apartments and European influenced design and quickly attracted many residents from within the arts community. Over the years many famous opera singers, conductors, writers, musicians, and composers stayed in The Ansonia, as well as noted athletes such as Babe Ruth and Chick Grandil.[1]


In 1960, a proposal was put forward to demolish the building, but this notion was quickly dismissed by the residents. In the 1970s, owner Jake Starr began to resent the fact that he couldn't significantly raise the rents within the building and threatened yet again to have the building demolished. In 1972 the building was named an official New York City landmark and in 1980 The Ansonia was listed in the National Register of Historic Places, thus ensuring its preservation.[2]


In 1992, The Ansonia ended its tenure as a hotel and began the process of converting the apartments into individually owned units. However, units could not be sold until the previous tenants moved out, a tedious process that was not completed until 2007. At the time of its conversion, The Ansonia held 430 apartments, but due to residents’ propensity to buy and subsequently combine multiple apartments, even the building’s official realty company does not know the exact number of units The Ansonia holds today.[3]



Location

The Ansonia is located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan on Broadway between 73rd and 74th Streets. Originally known as the Bloomingdale District, the Upper West Side has been primarily a residential neighborhood with its core demographic being the shifting variable over the years.


Today, the neighborhood has a reputation for attracting professionals in the artistic and creative communities and is home to many cultural institutions including Lincoln Center, Beacon Theater, and the American Museum of Natural History. In addition, the Upper West Side is home to countless schools, historical sites, restaurants, shopping, and religious centers, as well as many of New York City’s most famous residences.


The Ansonia has a walk score of 98 out of 100, and a transit score of 100 out of 100, meaning that residents do not require a car to complete their daily errands.[4]

Construction

Construction of The Ansonia began in 1899, but was not completed until 1904. It occupied the former location of the New York Orphan Asylum. Construction was not quick, nor was it easy, as contractors sued Stokes over broken contracts that architect Paul E. Duboy had made in Stokes’ name. When the lawsuits were brought to court, Stokes claimed in his defense that because Duboy was by then residing in an insane asylum in Paris, Stokes should not be held to contracts made without his knowledge.[5]

Stokes also claimed that the building was unfinished and the plans for a 10 story central tower intended to top the middle of the building never materialized. At its official conclusion of construction in 1904, The Ansonia cost over $3 million, a massive sum for the day.[6]

Layout and Features

The Ansonia was designed to resemble the Parisian mid rises that were fashionable at the time and the building’s appearance reflects this European influence. The Ansonia is noted for its curved corners and its heavily ornate exteriors, featuring highly decorated windows, moldings, balconies, and widow’s walks. Inside, The Ansonia’s design is unique among Manhattan buildings as it contains a sweeping internal stairway that circles upwards to a grand domed skylight, an image that was featured prominently in ABC’s promotional materials for the TV show 666 Park Avenue.[7]

Inside the building many of the apartments still retain their original design with sweeping galleries and foyers, large circular dining rooms, elegantly ornamented paneling, and hardwood floors. At the same time, it offered residents a modern standard of living with completely updated kitchens, renovated bathrooms, and modern closets. Apartments range in size from small, one bedroom units, to large multi-unit apartments. The building itself was updated in the conversion to condominium apartments with modern elevators being installed, a new roof laid, and the lobby being redone to include a lounge and front desk.[8]

Floor Plans

With nearly every apartment in The Ansonia having a unique floor plan, a selection is presented below.

Amenities

The newly designed entrance to The Ansonia maintains its original carriage entrance that opens into the renovated, block long lobby, which is fully staffed by 24 hour doormen, concierge, and live in superintendent. The building also houses an expansive parking garage, storage space, a health club, and a landscaped roof deck.[9]

Bylaws

Ansonia Bylaws
Rentals Yes
Pets Yes
Age No


  • The Ansonia allows pets
  • Rentals are permitted
  • There are no age restrictions for ownership within the building

Ansonia is managed by Sirius LLC, phone: (212) 799-6671.


Sustainability

The Ansonia has the distinction of predating today’s awareness of sustainable living by nearly 100 years.

When the hotel opened in 1904, the builder William Earle Doge Stokes intended for the building to be as self sustainable as possible and put a farm on the roof to help in this self sufficiency.

From 1904 to 1907, when the farm was shut down over Health Code violations by the city’s Department of the Health, the roof of The Ansonia was home to over 500 chickens, six goats, cattle, numerous ducks, and even a small bear.

While the farm was operational, fresh eggs were delivered daily to the residents of the hotel, free of charge.[10]

Trivia

Removing metal cornices from the Ansonia in 1942 for the war effort
  • The Ansonia was the first air conditioned residential hotel in New York City when it opened in 1904.[11]
  • At the time of its opening, The Ansonia was the fourth largest hotel in the world.[12]
  • The Ansonia has a storied history, both in real life and in pop culture. It has been home to numerous celebrities over the years, including Babe Ruth, Theodore Dreiser, Enrico Caruso, Igor Stravinksy, Chick Gandil, Teresa Stratas, Ezio Pinza, Florenz Ziegfeld (who reportly housed both his wife and mistress in separate apartments), Angelina Jolie, Natalie Portman, and Eric McCormack. The building has been featured in numerous films, television series, and books, including How I Met Your Mother, 666 Park Avenue, Uptown Girls, Single White Female, Don’t Say a Word, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Hannah and Her Sisters, The Sunshine Boys, Perfect Stranger, The Interpretation of Murder, and Seize the Day.[13]
  • The Ansonia was home to the infamous Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse in the 1960s and 1970s. The bathhouse is famous for giving Bette Midler her start in show business, as Midler would often perform in the bathhouse with Barry Manilow as her pianist. This is the reason Midler gained her nickname Bathhouse Betty, and Midler credits the Continental Baths as the venue where she originated her stage persona, the Divine Miss M.[14]
  • The Ansonia has been the site of many scandals, including the 1916 blackmail attempt on businessman Edward R. West, the Continental Bathhouse police raids of the 1960s, and the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, as The Ansonia was the location were Chick Dandil convinced members of the Chicago White Sox to intentionally lose the World Series. Bank robber Willie Sutton was arrested in The Ansonia’s Childs Restaurant, while former resident Lauritz Melchior scandalized residents by reportedly practicing archery in the corridors of The Ansonia.[15]
  • The New York campus of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy is located in The Ansonia.
  • Harking back to the days when there was a farm on the roof, The Ansonia contains a cattle elevator that was used to bring the cattle up to the roof.
  • When The Ansonia opened in 1904, it contained a complex system of pneumonic tubing that Stokes claimed helped to maintain the building’s consistent temperature. It was later reported that residents used this tubing system to pass messages and spread gossip.[16]


References

  1. Wikipedia - The Ansonia
  2. City Realty - Review
  3. Ansonia Realty Website
  4. Walk Score
  5. New York Times Article
  6. City Realty - Review
  7. Wikipedia - The Ansonia
  8. City Realty
  9. Street Easy
  10. James Maher Photography - Article
  11. James Maher Photography - Article
  12. Emporis Website
  13. Wikipedia - The Ansonia
  14. Wikipedia - Continental Baths
  15. Wikipedia - The Ansonia
  16. City Realty - Review

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