Claremont Riding Academy
Claremont Riding Academy, April 2008
|Location||173-177 W. 89th St., New York, New York|
|Area||0.2 acres (0.081 ha)|
|Architect||Rooke, Frank A.|
|Architectural style||Romanesque, Flemish|
|NRHP Reference #|||
|Added to NRHP||April 16, 1980|
The Claremont Riding Academy, also known as Claremont Stables, the last riding stable in Manhattan, was located at 175 West 89th Street between Columbus and Amsterdam Avenues in New York City. It was designed by Frank A. Rooke and built in 1892. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. and designated a New York City Landmark in 1990. Now closed, Claremont was the oldest continuously operated equestrian stable in New York City.
The former Claremont Riding Academy stables (1892) on West 89th Street in the Upper West Side was built to designs by architect Frank Rooke in 1892. It originally began as a livery stable and then later was converted to a riding academy. It was the city's last standing public riding stable.
There was an attempt at Urban Renewal in the area in the 1960s that would have destroyed the structure, but it was deflected by preservationists who gave the building borrowed time.
The Academy was dependent on the structural condition of the bridle paths in nearby Central Park, as this was the primary designated area for horseback riding in Manhattan. At some point, the city allowed the bridle paths to be used by pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists and others, and discontinued structural maintenance of the paths. With the overuse of the paths in combination with the city's discontinuance of maintenance, riders were no longer able to canter on the pathways, ending one of the pleasures of horseback riding and deterring new ridership.
Due to declining patronage and increasing cost from renovations and taxes, Claremont closed forever at 5 p.m. April 29, 2007. It was rumored that the building will be converted into condominiums. According to Joanne Meszoly's article in Equus Magazine's July 2007 issue #358. However, the person who bought the building ran out of money partway through construction of the condominiums. By the end of 2011 the building was bought by the Stephen Gaynor School who made it into their performing arts and early learning center.
Claremont was a very sophisticated yet homey environment. It was an unusual multistory barn, its floors connected by ramps, housed its horses in individual stalls in the basement and on the second floor. There was an indoor riding ring, but it was quite small and obstructed by posts.
Claremont gave riding lessons and rented horses to experienced riders to ride on the bridle paths in Central Park. There were jumping, dressage, group and private lessons. There were about 15-20 instructors.
The location of the stable made for an unusual experience in the equestrian world: riding in heavy traffic. The stable was not in Central Park itself, but a block and a half away. Getting to the park required riding a horse on Manhattan streets, mixed in with the regular traffic, and crossing Central Park West.
- Staff (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot; AIA Guide to New York City, 4th Edition; New York Chapter, American Institute of Architects; Crown Publishers/Random House. 2000. ISBN 0-8129-3106-8; ISBN 0-8129-3107-6. p.351.
- Kenneth T. Jackson: The Encyclopedia of New York City: The New York Historical Society; Yale University Press; 1995. P. 238.
- Donald Martin Reynolds (1994). The Architecture of New York City: Histories and Views of Important Structures, Sites, and Symbols. Rev. Ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons. p. 193. ISBN 0-471-36900-4. ISBN 0-471-01439-7.
- Equus magazine, Joanne Meszoly, July 2007 Issue# 358
- Steven M. Bedford, Christopher S. Gray, and Elizabeth Spencer-Ralph (October 1979). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Claremont Riding Academy". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2011-03-25. See also: "Accompanying seven photos".
- Fernandez, Manny (2007-04-30). "A Vestige of the Past Shutters Its Stalls". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-02-26.
- Korda, Michael (2003). Horse People: Scenes from the Riding Life. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-621252-9. Has a detailed chapter about Claremont, its horses, and its people.
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