Central Park West Historic District

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Central Park West Historic District
Central Park West buildings over Lake.jpg
The Majestic, Dakota, Langham and San Remo from Bow Bridge in Central Park, 2009
Central Park West Historic District is located in New York City
Central Park West Historic District
Location Central Park West between 61st and 97th Sts., New York, New York
Coordinates 40°47′4″N 73°58′10″W / 40.78444°N 73.96944°W / 40.78444; -73.96944Coordinates: 40°47′4″N 73°58′10″W / 40.78444°N 73.96944°W / 40.78444; -73.96944
Area 40 acres (16 ha)
Built Various
Architect Various
Governing body Private residences and businesses, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission
NRHP Reference # 82001189[1]
Added to NRHP November 9, 1982
This article is about the Federally designated historic district. Upper West Side-Central Park West Historic District (the New York City-designated district) redirects here.

The Central Park West Historic District is located in Manhattan, New York City, United States along historic Central Park West, between 61st and 97th Streets. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 9, 1982. The district encompasses a portion of the Upper West Side-Central Park West Historic District as designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and contains a number of prominent New York City landmarks, including The Dakota Apartments, a National Historic Landmark. The buildings date from the late 19th century to the early 1940s and exhibit a variety of popular architectural styles. The majority of the district's buildings are of neo-Italian Renaissance style, but Art Deco is a popular theme as well.

History[edit]

The Central Park West Historic District was federally recognized on November 9, 1982, when it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. However, the area has a preservation history that predates the 1982 listing by almost ten years. In 1973 the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission (NYLPC) designated a T-shaped area, which included one block of West 76th Street, two adjacent blocks of Central Park West and a short stretch of West 77th Street, as the Central Park West-76th Street Historic District. The local designation and boundaries persisted well past the 1982 National Register listing.[2]

In 1990 the NYLPC formally extended the local boundaries of the Central Park West-76th Street Historic District to include almost all of the area included in the boundaries of the federal historic district. The much larger Upper West Side-Central Park West Historic District includes the area from 96th Street to 62nd Street and Central Park West to Amsterdam Avenue.[2]

Boundaries[edit]

The Central Park West Historic District is a linear historic district including the stretch of Central Park West from 61st to 97th Streets.[1] When the Upper West Side-Central Park West Historic District was designated in 1990 as a local historic district its boundaries closely mirrored those of the 1982 Central Park West Historic District, except the local historic district encompasses land stretching to Amsterdam Avenue.[2] The federal historic district is considerably smaller than the local district.[3][4]

Architecture[edit]

The expanse of Central Park West between 61st and 97th Streets is a mixture of late 19th- and early 20th-century architectural styles. By far the district's most dominant style is Neo-Renaissance, mostly neo-Italian Renaissance though there are German and Flemish Renaissance influences found in some of the structures. Art Deco, Second Empire, Beaux-Arts and Neoclassical architecture are all found in multiple buildings. Gothic and Romanesque Revival influences can be found combined with other styles in some of the buildings as well as on their own. A few Queen Anne, Art Moderne and Italianate buildings dot the streetscape of Central Park West.[3]

Structures[edit]

Of the buildings within the boundaries of the historic district only one was considered a non-contributing property to the historic character of the district when it was nominated to the National Register: the building located at 80 Central Park West, a 1965 modern building. The area within the district is home to nearly 40 high-quality, luxury apartment highrises. Sprinkled within the residential buildings are four Christian churches, one synagogue, several smaller-scale, multi-family houses, the New York Society for Ethical Culture, the New York Historical Society and the American Museum of Natural History.[3]

American Museum of Natural History[edit]

The American Museum of Natural History was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 24, 1976, it is also listed as a contributing property to the Central Park West Historic District.[1][3] The building was constructed from 1874 to 1877 and designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould.[3]

The Century[edit]

The Century is a 1931 Art Deco structure. It was constructed at a cost of $6.5 million and designed by the firm owned by Irwin S. Chanin.[5] The Century apartment building is located on the former site of the Century Theater, which was demolished in 1930 and 1931 to make way for the apartments.[6] The building is one of three within the boundaries of the historic district that stretch upwards 30 floors, thus tying it for the title of the district's tallest building.[3]

Congregation Shearith Israel[edit]

The building that houses the Congregation Shearith Israel, the oldest American Jewish congregation[7] is the fifth in a line of structures dating back to 1730, though only the current building was located near Central Park West.[7] The structure was built in 1897 and is also known as the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue.[3]

The Dakota[edit]

Main article: The Dakota

The Dakota, is one of the district's most prominent historic structures. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in its own right on April 26, 1972; Dakota Apartments was declared a National Historic Landmark on December 8, 1976.[8]

55 Central Park West[edit]

Main article: 55 Central Park West

The building at 55 Central Park West has been known as the Ghostbusters Building since the 1984 film Ghostbusters shot scenes there.[9] In the film, the building (referred to as "Spook Central") was said to have been designed by mad architect Ivo Shandor, in reality, the Art Deco building was constructed in 1929 and designed by Schwartz & Gross. The 19-floor building was portrayed as taller in the film.[3][10]

Significance[edit]

The Central Park West Historic District is significant, in regards to the National Register, for its architecture and its character as a cohesive residential area. The district is located along one of the city's finest residential streets and consists mostly of apartment buildings which are among some of the earliest in New York.[3]

With the 1990 local boundary increase the NYLPC developed the theme that the strength of the historic district lay in its diversity. The Commission called the buildings in the district brashly "commercial" and "stylistically diverse." The Commission went on to stress the importance of the district's special skyline that challenged the whole of the New York skyline. "The stylistically diverse buildings of Central Park West create a streetscape and a skyline which is exuberant and varied as to scale, height and form," the Commission stated.[2]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d Answers to Questions About the Project - Addendum, New York Historical Society. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Central Park West Historic District, (Java), National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, New York's State and National Registers of Historic Places Document Imaging Project [1], New York State Historic Preservation Office. Retrieved 2 April 2007.
  4. ^ Map of Upper West Side-Central Park Historic District, (PDF), New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  5. ^ "West Side Block in $6,000,000 Deal," The New York Times (1857-Current file); October 30, 1930; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2003), pg. 48. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  6. ^ "$1,250,000 Chanin Bond Executed," The New York Times (1857-Current file); October 26, 1930; ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2003), pg. N20. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  7. ^ a b Congregation Shearith Israel, Building Report, International Survey of Jewish Monuments. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  8. ^ "The Dakota, NHL Database, National Historic Landmarks Program. Retrieved 3 April 2007.
  9. ^ Gaines, Steven. "One Apartment, 75 Years," New York Magazine, 7 November 2005. Retrieved 31 March 2007.
  10. ^ Aykroyd, Dan and Ramis, Harold. Reitman, Ivan, Director. Ghostbusters (Film). New York City: Columbia Pictures. , 8 June 1984.