Great Architects of New York: Henry J. Hardenbergh
Grand Street Loft Building
Address
314-320 Grand Street,
67-71 Orchard Street and
72-76 Allen Street
New York, N.Y. 10002
Location
Grand Street from Allen Street to Orchard Street, north side
Neighborhood
Lower East Side / Chinatown
Built
May 19 to Sept. 30, 1890
Style
Neo-Renaissance
Use
Loft manufacturing, Zarin fabric store, clothing store and bank branch.
Landmark Status
Within the National Register of Historic Places' Lower East Side Historic District, designated 2000.

A relatively plain building by Hardenbergh standards, but still, this building is sturdy and useful. This building went up at a brisk pace, built in slightly more than four months between May 19 and Sept. 30, 1890. When it was built, the building had 100 feet of frontage on Grand Street and 87 feet and 10 inches along Orchard Street. But in 1931 and/or 1932, the western 12 feet and 2 inches of the building were shaved off to allow Allen Street to grow from a quaint 50 feet (similar to the parallel north/south streets in this part of the Lower East Side) to its present Interstate width of 138 feet. This ill-conceived street widening forced the demolition of 164 buildings on the east side of Allen Street, struck a blow for homogenizing the Lower East Side's uniquely dense and pedestrian-friendly character and generated a lot of traffic that roars through the neighborhood to this day. But, ahem, I digress.

As far as this loft building is concerned, the widening brought Allen Street right up to the building and created the need for a new facade, which happily was built to be contextual with Hardenbergh's two facades. The building is now more or less 87 feet and 10 inches square, with the southern and eastern facades designed by Hardenbergh and built in 1890 and the western one designed to match them by an unknown architect and built circa 1932. This building is plainer than it was designed. The National Register's Designation Report indicates: "cornice replaced by parapet."

Many thanks to Linda C. Jones of the Historic Districts Council for alerting me to the existence of this building and uncovering its design history.



View from the southeast, showing the Grand and Orchard facades.


A detail of the east facade, facing Orchard Street


View from the southwest, showing the Allen and Grand facades.


Detail over the northeast entrance.