Great Architects of New York: Henry J. Hardenbergh
Western Union Telegraph Building
186 Fifth Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10010
West 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, southwest corner
Flatiron District
July 16, 1883, to Aug. 15, 1884
Queen Anne
Converted to condominium apartments in 2006-2007. Prior to that, offices and stores.
AIA Guide
"A struggling survivor from Hardenbergh's Dakota period, completed that same year. This is one of Fifth Avenue's earliest commercial buildings, from a time when the fashionable were fleeing to residences further north."
Landmark Status
This building is within the Ladies' Mile Historic District, designated in 1989.

It's not struggling any longer. As of September 2006, the building has a snazzy website and newly created unfinished full floor loft apartments in this building are on the market for $2.8 million to $2.9 million. Architecturally, this little gem is overshadowed by the Flatiron Building across the street, yet this building is somehow more picturesque. Note the similarities to, say, 19 West 73rd Street of the same period: the red brick facade, the gabled roof, the dormers, the wide, flat arches, and the friezes on the third and sixth floors.

Hardenbergh had his office in this building at the turn of the century. It was one of two buildings he designed for Western Union. The other one was on Broad Street downtown, but has been demolished.

Western Union Tel Co (Photo by Bob Sheridan.)