Great Architects of New York: Henry J. Hardenbergh
163 & 165 West 81st Street
Location
West 81st Street between Columbus & Amsterdam Avenues, north side
Neighborhood
Upper West Side
Built
May 3, 1884, to Jan. 31, 1885
Use
Residences
Landmark Status
Within the Upper West Side-Central Park West Historic District, designated in 1990.

These two buildings are the remnants of what was once a row of seven rowhouses. The five at Nos. 153 to 161 were demolished in 1949 to make way for the white brick apartment building next door, 155 West 81st Street. I found these in February 2007 by scanning through building permits on microfilm at the Municipal Archives. The brickwork and the roof elements are similar to those at the cluster of buildings at 128th and Lenox, and at the surviving Western Union Telegraph Building. It was definitely very much a red brick and terra cotta period for Hardenbergh.

A note on the photo: It is impossible to photograph these buildings without the shadow being either on one or the other. So this photo is a composite that was photoshopped together. Apologies in advance if anyone is uncomfortable about that, but it is better than the alternative. Thanks to my wife Susan for handling composition. You'd hardly have been able to tell it was a composite if I hadn't mentioned it.