Post 1902: West 105th Street and Riverside Drive
Behold 330 Riverside Drive, The Davis Mansion at West 105th Street (exact photo date unknown) now owned by Opus Dei and undergoing major interior renovations these past many months.
The Daytonian in Manhattan blog has written extensively about 330 Riverside Drive which was built on spec by Joseph Farley in 1902.
Neighbor Dan Wakin in his recent book about the stretch from 330-337 Riverside Drive also tells the story of the eponymous Davis Baking Powder fortune that enabled the Davis family to move into this beaut.
Thanks to this building and the townhouses between Riverside Drive and West End Avenue, W. 105th Street has enjoyed landmark status far longer than most places around here. The landmarking report for the so-called "Riverside-West 105th Street Historic District" dates to Mayor Lindsay's days, compiled over several years. (I was amused to see the name Deborah S. Gardner as a main author of the report; she currently serves as the in-house historian of Hunter's Roosevelt House.)
An interesting aside for lovers of the "Bloomingdale" moniker: the landmarking initiative was originally referred to as the "Bloomingdale Historic District" but later changed to reflect greater specificity.
Landmark status was designated on April 19, 1973 by the Landmarks Commission citing the streetscape's visual harmony and fine preservation of the buildings. By and large, the Beaux Arts buildings in the district -- all built within about three years of each other -- had the good fortune to have housed tenants of long occupancy and, as a consequence, suffered little remodeling, making them ripe for preservationists to rally around. For the report, I've extracted below the case to preserve 330 Riverside Drive and a description of its architectural features.
Also in this gem of a report, there is a fine history of the neighborhood and its development all the way back to the 1660s! It's worth clicking on the link above to read more.
Just a final thought: one must marvel at the date of 1973. Forty six years ago, our city and neighbors saw fit to protect the 30 buildings that sit in the shaded area of the map below, to lock in their existence for us all to enjoy, to ensure the neighborhood's grip on the past. On your next walkabout, make a point of delecting this breathtaking block.