Consulate-General of Russia in New York City
|Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in New York City
Генеральное консульство Российской Федерации в Нью-Йорке
|Location||New York, New York 10128 United States|
|Address||9 East 91st Street|
|Ambassador||Sergey Viktorovich Garmonin|
The Consulate-General of Russia in New York City is the diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation in New York City. Opened in 1994, the consulate is located at 9 East 91st Street in the former John Henry Hammond House. A consulate of the former Soviet Union had previously existed on East 61st Street from 1933 until 1948.
Andrew Carnegie purchased land between 90th and 91st Streets fronting on Fifth Avenue. The 1901 building of his mansion (which now houses the Cooper-Hewitt Museum), saw Carnegie purchasing neighbouring building lots in order to protect his investment. The entire north side of 91st Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues was also purchased by Carnegie. Carnegie sold off lots to individuals who agreed to build substantial dwellings, and in 1903 this home was built at 9 East 91st Street by John H. Hammond, a New York City banker. The land, and possibly the house, was a wedding gift to Hammond and his wife, Emily Vanderbilt Sloane, from Sloane's father, William J. Sloane of W. & J. Sloane.
The five-story Renaissance style limestone town house was designed by Carrère and Hastings, who were also responsible for the design of the New York Public Library, and is regarded as one of their finest residences. The design of the limestone-clad building, which unusually for a Manhattan town house offers a finished side elevation as well as its street front, is strongly influenced by 16th- and 18th-century Italian palazzo details. The ground floor has pronounced banded rustication, a motif which is taken through the three floors above in the pilaster-like quoining at each corner of the building. The first floor piano nobile is evident by its large casement windows proportionately taller than those below or above. On the principal facade these aedicular windows have segmental pediments supported on the flanking Ionic columns; they are given extra prominence by the small wrought iron balconies supported by limestone corbels. The windows of the second floor clearly denote it as containing secondary accommodation, while the windows of the third and top floor are smaller still, clearly indicating a lower status than those below. The upper floor contains masonry panels and is intended to complement the enriched entablature, frieze and boldly projecting cornice immediately above it. Interior photos from the early 20th century display a "rich series of Louis XVI-style rooms with elaborate marbles, carving, tapestries and furnishings." The house had two elevators and a regulation size squash court on the fifth floor, which two generations of Hammond children found ideal for roller skating.
On 31 July 1948, Oksana Kasenkina, a Soviet citizen and a teacher to the children of diplomats of the Soviet mission to the United Nations, appealed to the editor of a Russian-language newspaper in New York City for refuge, and arrangements were made to take Kasenkina to Reed Farm in Valley Cottage, which was operated by the White Russian Tolstoy Foundation. Whilst at the Farm, Kasenkina wrote a letter to Soviet Consul-General Jacob Lomakin ending: "I implore you, I implore you once more, don't let me perish here. I am without willpower." On 7 August Lomakin with vice-consul Chepurnykh arrived at the farm. According to Tolstoy Foundation President Mrs. Alexandra Tolstaya, Kasenkina "at her own free will" went with them to the consulate. On 9 August, Soviet Ambassador to the United States Alexander Panyushkin presented a letter of protest to the United States Department of State, alleging that Kasenkina had been kidnapped and held against her will by members of the Tolstoy Foundation. On 11 August, Vyacheslav Molotov handed a protest note to United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union Walter Bedell Smith, in which the accusations were repeated.
Following the atmosphere in which the New York City press accused the Soviets of holding Kasenkina against her will, on 11 August New York Supreme Court Justice Samuel Dickstein issued a writ of habeas corpus on Consul-General Lomakin, demanding that he present Kasenkina the following day in court. The same day a Soviet consular official stated that Lomakin would not be presenting Kasenkina, and the following morning Ambassador Panyushkin presented the State Department with a note disputing the legalities of the writ under international law. A State Department legal adviser wrote to Governor of New York Thomas E. Dewey, outlining the Soviet complaints and urged Justice Dickstein to take the case under advisement. Shortly afterwards Justice Dickstein reserved decision in the proceedings.
On the day of Dickstein's decision, 12 August, the affair took a different turn when Kasenkina jumped from the third-story window of the East 61st Street consulate. Rescued by two police officers, she was brought to a hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the fall. "Asked by a police detective why she had jumped, some six hours after the event, Kasenkina's reply indicated a stronger desire for deliverance than for asylum. Naturally, Kasenkina's memoir presented her as a heroic freedom seeker."
The consulate, as well as the San Francisco consulate, was closed on 25 August 1948, and on the basis of reciprocity, the Soviet Union ordered that United States consulate in Vladivostok be closed, and plans for a consulate in Leningrad were shelved. Whilst travelling to Gothenburg on the MS Stockholm, Lomakin stated that he would be advising Moscow against the re-establishment of consular relations with the United States.
In 1974 the United States and Soviet Union came to an agreement to open consulates in cities in their respective countries; the United States in Kiev and the Soviet Union in New York City. The agreement between the two countries meant that no country could open its consulate before the other. The Soviets completed all renovations to their building within a year of purchase; however, the Americans had not completed the building of their consulate in Kiev. In 1978, whilst waiting for the Americans, the Soviets bought the adjacent building at 11 East 91st Street to utilise for housing.
After the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, in January 1980 U.S. President Jimmy Carter put an immediate freeze on the consulate program, by withdrawing seven consular officers from Kiev who had been sent to the Ukrainian SSR in advance of the consulate opening, and ordering the expulsion of 17 Soviet diplomats who were to be attached the Soviet consulate in New York City.
The Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in New York City opened to the public on 26 October 1994, and was officially opened on 31 January 1995. The consulate covers the consular region of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
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- (English) (Russian) Consulate-General of Russia in New York City