02 Apr From Wrought Iron to Garbage Dumps: Interesting Architectural Points of the Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is one of the most architecturally appealing locations in all of New York City. The neighborhood is home to some of the city’s most iconic buildings. Moreover, the residents and businesses that populate the UWS are committed to preserving the architectural heritage of the area.
There are a variety of interesting facts and features associated with the architecture of the Upper West Side. Armed with this information, you might want to take a meandering walking your through the neighborhood to take in these fascinating points about the Upper West Side.
Wrought Iron Doors Adorn the Upper West Side
One feature that is common throughout the Upper West Side is found in the wrought iron doors that front buildings of all types in the neighborhood. Wrought iron doors began to make their appearance in large numbers on the Upper West Side in the early 1900s. The stately buildings that rose in the UWS side during this time period not only featured wrought iron doors but also wrought iron fences and gates surrounding elegant courtyards.
It was during the same time period that some of the majestic homes that still stand on the Upper West Side were also constructed. As this construction moved forward apace, these stunning residences nearly always featured wrought iron doors and the same type of wrought iron fence an gate configurations utilized in apartment and commercial buildings constructed during that period.
Churches on the UWS also made generous use of wrought iron in their construction. As with other types of properties, this included awesome wrought iron doors, fencing, and gates.
Early Upper West Side Mansions
The earliest Upper West Side Mansions, including those that rose on Riverside Drive, were first constructed in the latter part of the 19th century and into the 20th century. Although these mansions were magnificent in their appearance, they did not always feature the most attractive of views.
The earliest mansions constructed on Riverside Drive were described at the time as overlooking garbage-strewn gulches and an industrial wasteland. No manner how many accoutrements that were included in these Riverside Drive manses, looked down upon railroad tracks, garbage dumps, and a sludge-filled Hudson River. Only slowly did these eyesores slowly vanish from view.
The Stately Ansonia Hotel
Located on Broadway between West 73rd and 74th streets, the grand Ansonia Hotel opened its stately doors on the Upper West Side in 1904. Although this architectural masterpiece went through a period of decline in the 1960s and 1970s, it has been restored to it full, original splendor. The Ansonia remains an architectural gem, one of the most amazing structures in all of the Big Apple.
When the doors to the Ansonia Hotel opened, it featured a 500 seat restaurant, electric lighting throughout, and air conditioning. As was the case with many of the buildings constructed during in this era, elegant wrought iron was utilized in the entranceways into the Ansonia Hotel.
Early Gentrification in New York City
One of the earliest cases of gentrification involved the Upper West Side and took place in the early 1960s. As residents and visitors to the UWS today realize, Lincoln Center is part of the thriving area that is the Upper West Side.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the area which is now the site of Lincoln Center was known as San Juan Hill. During that time period, the area gained renown for things like street fighting and riots. However, it also was the location of a thriving, rich cultural life. San Juan Hill was the home of some outstanding visual artists and jazz musicians. In addition, the area was home to thousands of low-income families. These people were cramped into rundown and vermin-ridden tenements.
Lincoln Center was billed as a means of bringing a rebirth to the San Juan Hill area. Of course, that did occur. But, it occurred at the expense of the thousands of people who live in the area. Their lives were not bettered with the Lincoln Center project. Their living conditions did not improve. More often than not, the residents of San Juan Hill were displaced to accommodations that were similar or even worse than what they occupied.
Although many benefits are derived from Lincoln Center, the manner in which it was created was not without a downside. The construction of Lincoln Center does represent an early example of gentrification, a process which continues to be repeated not only in the Big Apple, but in cities across the United States.
Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Abby Iron Doors. Abby Iron Doors specialize in designing and manufacturing wrought iron entry doors, wine cellar doors, windows and balconies for residential and commercial customers.