By Carter B. Horsley
This handsome, 16-story apartment
building was erected in 1925 and was converted to a cooperative
in 1979. It has only 32 units.
It was designed by George and
Edward Blum, architects who also designed 277, 610, 760, 780 and
838 West End Avenue, 555, 791, 875, 940 and 1075 Park Avenue,
1435 Lexington Avenue, 676, 720 and 730 Riverside Drive, among
many other Manhattan apartment buildings
In their fine book, "George
& Edward Blum, Texture and Design in New York Apartment House
Architecture," (The Friends of Terra Cotta Press, 1993),
Andrew S. Dolkart and Susan Tunick note that the Evanston apartment
building at 610 West End Avenue was built by George F. Johnson
Jr., and Leopold Kahn. The Blums also designed the Admaston apartment
building at 259 West 89th Street the same year for Johnson and
Kahn. The Johnson-Kahn Company had previously built the Hendrick
Hudson Apartments on Riverside Drive at 110th Street and the adjoining
annex and the authors suggest that Edward Blum "may have
been the designer" of these two major buildings for the architect
of record, William L. Rouse.
"The Blums' apartment
houses are part of a third wave of quality multiple dwelling construction,
and their finest buildings stand out from the hundreds of more
pedestrian examples that appeared in Manhattan....they were among
the few apartment house architects of the period to show an appreciation
for expressive exterior design."
"George and Edward Blum
were among a large number of Americans to study at the Ecole des
Beaux-Arts. Most American students had little first-hand knowledge
of Paris or of French language and culture and remained unaware
of new design trends beyond those taught at the Ecole. The Blums'
French parentage and their experience growing up in France set
them apart from most of their compatriots. It appears that they
gained a greater familiarity with contemporary French architectural
practice than most Americans, for their early buildings indicate
a range of French influences far greater than those generally
acquired through study at the Ecole." "The manipulation
of varied materials, especially the use of brick for decorative
as well as functional purposes, exerted the most far-reaching
influence on the Blums' apartment houses. Brick had been used
extensively in French architecture, nobably in the Midi region,
near Toulouse and Albi, where stone is scarce, and on major buildings
erected throughout France dring the reign of Louis XIII in the
early seventeenth century and during the nineteenth century. Although
brick had not been a traditional building material in Paris, it
became especially popular in the late nineteenth century for apartment
buildings for the middle and working classes and for public buildings
such as schools and baths," the authors continued.
This building is quite modest
in comparison to the Blum's flamboyant Evanston, notable for its
very ornate and unusual fence and entrance metalwork. Still, this
is a dignified and attractive, red-brick building that has a two-story
limestone base. The canopied, step-down entrance leads to a paneled
lobby and the building enjoys considerable "light-and-air"
because the street to the north is composed of low-rise buildings.
The building permits protruding
air-conditioners and has inconsistent fenestration, no landscaping,
no garage and has fire-escapes on its north facade.
This is one of the most attractive
areas along West End Avenue and is very convenient to Riverside
Park and neighborhood shopping on Broadway.