West End Avenue
West End Avenue is a north-south thoroughfare on the West Side of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It originates at West 59th Street; the continuation of the street below 59th Street is called Eleventh Avenue. It runs from 59th Street to its termination where it merges with Broadway at 107th Street, at Straus Park. Traffic is two-way, except for in the northernmost block.
By the 1880s, the Upper West Side was fairly sparsely populated, and was called the "West End" because of its separation from the core of the city. Seeking to distinguish the area from the factories and tenements below 59th Street, a group of real estate developers renamed the northern portions of the West Side's avenues. West End Avenue was originally created in the 1880s as the northern extension of Eleventh Avenue, and was intended to be a commercial street serving the residents of the mansions to be constructed along Riverside Drive.
Portions of West End Avenue were run down in the mid-20th century, with Single Room Occupancy hotels, prostitutes and drug addicts a common sight. The city's economic comeback in the 1980s brought recovery and gentrification.
The street retains stretches of late nineteenth-century town houses and several handsome churches and synagogues, but is almost entirely made up of handsome residential buildings about twelve stories tall built in the first decades of the twentieth century. The near total absence of retail on the street marks its quiet, residential character.
The street is noteworthy for its almost unbroken street wall of handsome apartment buildings punctuated by brief stretches of nineteenth-century townhouses and several handsome churches and synagogues.
Notable architecturally historicist houses of worship include:
- Ansche Chesed, in Byzantine revival style
- Saint Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church in English Gothic revival style
- West End Collegiate Church in Dutch Colonial, a subset of Renaissance revival style
- Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church
Among the more notable apartment buildings are
- The Apthorp
- Cleburne Building at 105th Street
- 520 West End Avenue, the former Leech mansion, which is now landmarked
Two segments of the thoroughfare lie within designated New York City historic districts: both sides of the avenue from West 87th to West 94th Streets can be found in the Riverside-West End Historic District. The west side of the avenue from West 75th Street through mid-block between West 78th and West 79th streets and the east side between West 76th and West 77th streets are contained within the West End-Collegiate Historic District. Concern over building demolition filings coming upon the demolition of three row houses and a six-story elevator apartment building at the southwest corner of West End Avenue and West 86th Streets spurred a grass roots effort to seek historic district designation for the entire stretch north of Lincoln Towers from West 70th to West 107th streets. On March 18, 2009, the West End Avenue Preservation Society formally submitted a request for evaluation to the chair of the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission along with a 260-page survey prepared by Andrew Dolkart.
Points of interest
Points of interest on or within one block of West End Avenue include:
- Abraham Joshua Heschel School (high school division, at 60th Street)
- Collegiate School (between 77th and 78th Streets)
- Lincoln Towers, runs from West 66th Street to West 70th Street, with all buildings having West End Avenue addresses
- Straus Park (between 106th and 107th Streets)
- Calhoun School (between 81st and 80th Streets)
- Riverside Park
- Pomander Walk
Notable current and former residents of West End Avenue include:
- Judy Collins (1939 -), folk singer and song writer resides at 845 West End Avenue. Novelist Herman Wouk lived at this address during his college years.
- Tina Fey, former SNL cast member and creator of NBC's 30 Rock lives on West End Avenue near 80th Street 
- Joseph Heller (1923-1990), wrote Catch-22 while living at 390 West End Avenue.
- Elena Kagan, born April 28, 1960, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, grew up on West End Avenue and 75th Street.
- Economist Ludwig von Mises lived at 777 West End Avenue.
- Jesse L. Lasky (1880-1958), the theatrical and burlesque producer lived at 601 West End Avenue
- Madeleine L'Engle who wrote A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels while living in the Cleburne Building at 924 West End Avenue.
- Sergei Rachmaninoff lived at 505 West End Avenue
- The rural mansion of Isidor Straus and Ida Straus was located between West End and Broadway at 105th on the site of the present Cleburne Building.
- Marilyn Jordan Taylor FAIA, first woman to chair SOM and since October 1, 2008, Dean of the U Penn School of Design, resided at 490 West End Avenue.
In popular culture
- The Prince of West End Avenue, a novel by Alan Isler
- The Mirror Has Two Faces, a film starring and directed by Barbra Streisand was set in an apartment at 505 West End Avenue
- Way Out West (on West End Avenue), a song by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart introduced in the 1937 musical Babes in Arms.
- Gray, Christopher. "How the West Side Was Won", The New York Times, May 13, 2007. Accessed August 4, 2008.
- Jackson, Nancy Beth. "If You're Thinking of Living On/West End Avenue; Quiet, Convenient, Diverse and Involved", The New York Times, February 23, 2003. Accessed August 4, 2008.
- New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Postal, Matthew A. (ed. and text); Dolkart, Andrew S. (text). (2009) Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.) New York:John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1, p.142
- White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot with Leadon, Fran (2010). AIA Guide to New York City (5th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195383867., p. 380-81
- Brockmann, Jorg et al. (2002). One Thousand New York Buildings, p. 350., p. 350, at Google Books
- Gray, Christopher (2008-11-21). "Homage to the Humdrum". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- Dunlap, David W. (1987-04-30). "Panel Declares Landmark Site at Town House". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- Dunlap, David W. (1988-06-15). "Judge Overturns Landmark Status of Town House on Upper West Side". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- "Town House Made A Landmark Again". New York Times. 1988-08-15. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
- Riverside-West End Historic District
- West End-Collegiate Historic District
- WEPS – About
- Dolkart report
- Literary New York: a history and guide,Susan Edmiston, Linda D. Cirino, Houghton Mifflin, 1976p. 268
- http://realestate.yahoo.com/promo/homes-of-most-popular-tv-shows.html Homes of popular TV shows] Yahoo real estate
- Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Katharine Q. Seelye, Lisa W. Foderaro (2010-05-10). "A Climb Marked by Confidence and Canniness". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
- Mises' letter to Ayn Rand on Atlas Shrugged, dated January 23, 1958, contains address 777 West End Avenue. Source: website Mises Institute.
- West End Home of A Wrinkle in Time Author Sells for $4 M, by Lysandra Ohrstrom, March 7, 2008, New York Observer, 
- "Rachmaninoff, Buried in New York, May Return to Russia". The New York Times. April 11, 1992.
- Streetscapes/Straus Park, 106th Street and West End Avenue; A Restored Memorial to 2 Who Died on the Titanic, New York times, Christopher Grey, August 23, 1998