Great Architects of New York: Henry J. Hardenbergh
349 Lenox Avenue & 102-106 West 128th Street
Location
West 128th Street and Lenox Avenue (Malcolm X Boulevard), southwest corner
Neighborhood
Harlem
Built
June 21, 1883, to April 29, 1884
Use
Apartments and stores
Landmark Status
Not landmarked

This cluster of buildings is a previously unknown gem I discovered in February 2007 by searching through building permits. The most predominant building is 349 Lenox Avenue at the southwest corner of West 128th Street. Although it now has the appearance of one building, it was built by the estate of one Sylvester Brush as a six-building row consisting of three buildings (349, 351 and 353) that were each 16.5 feet wide, and three buildings (355, 357 and 359) that were 17 feet wide.

Behind this stand three narrow but handsome four-story plus basement rowhouses at 102-106 West 128th Street. Unlike the landmarked row at 1340-1350 Lexington Avenue, which had its stoops removed to allow for more traffic, these houses here have been preserved more or less intact. They were originally part of a row of six buildings, each of which was just 12.5 feet wide. Sadly, as abandonment took hold in Harlem, the New York City Dept. of Buildings deemed Nos. 108-112 unsafe in 1975 and again in 1978, and they were demolished in 1985. The lots probably stood vacant for some time, but recently, lower-density but wider housing has been built as Harlem has experienced revitalization.


349 Lenox Avenue & 102, 104 & 106 West 128th Street, as seen from the northeast.


The eastern facade, facing Lenox Avenue: Six buildings now appear as one.


A detail of the roofline. Holding up two sides of a V is enough to make a man angry.


A detail of the brickwork and terra cotta paneling.


A row of six has become a row of three on West 128th Street.


A closer view of the three that remain.