Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Elegant Emmet Building

Located in Midtown South, East 29th and Madison Avenue, one finds The Emmet Building. 
Height estimate is 211.15 feet, Construction began in 1911 and ended in 1913. 
This historic building actually houses a M and T Bank branch. 
The facade is made of terra-cotta, the facade system is applied masonry and the style is neo-gothic 

Dr. Emmet occupied a succession of houses and offices on the east side of Madison Avenue just south of 29th Street and gradually acquired the row of houses at 89, 91, 93 and 95, at the corner. Later, business invaded what had been a residential area, especially after the Metropolitan Life tower went up at 24th Street in 1909.
In 1912, at the age of 84, Dr. Emmet moved out of 89 Madison Avenue, erected a 16-story loft building on the site of the four houses he demolished and returned to occupy an apartment on the top floor of the new building. Designed by Barney & Colt, the Emmet Building has continuous vertical tiers of terra cotta, superficially neo-Gothic, like the Woolworth Building, but actually early French Renaissance in style.
Spiky dormer windows project above what was originally a red tile roof and the surface is marked by extensive terra-cotta sculpture of grotesque, medieval figures and other elements. A writer in the magazine Brickbuilder praised the building's "exquisite propriety," obviously commercial but also with "the distinction which everyone wants in his own private house."
Dr. Emmet's apartment had a solarium, pergola and roof garden fountain towards the rear. It was common for superintendents to occupy an apartment on the top floor of office buildings, so Emmet's occupancy was rare -- there was tremendous concern in this period about the convention of living in residential sections untainted by commerce.
The 1915 census lists Dr. Emmet, 87, a widower, his son Thomas, 51, Margaret O'Reily, nurse, and Koricki Myamiata, cook.
An aficionado of American political history, a manuscript connoisseur, an Irish patriot, Dr. Emmet had multiple interests that could have served as the basis for an unusual scheme of ornament.
Early sketches for the building show shields with three bulls' heads, an adaptation of the Emmet family crest, but these were not executed. Although there are some bulls' heads at the top floor, most of the decoration is apparently simply generic work.
In 1919, Dr. Emmet died in his apartment and his body was taken to Dublin for burial in the family plot. In 1920, the top-floor apartment was converted to commercial occupancy.***

***information taken from the NY Times article which you can read the full one HERE 

There are so many buildings like this in New York City. So much history and interesting stories are behind many of the buildings you look at when you visit the city. I am really enjoying researching what I see and photograph to bring that information to you. It makes looking at the photos even much more interesting, I think. Hope your Wednesday is a most fabulous one!! Thanx for stopping by today!!

Today's Words of Wisdom: When an architect is asked what his best building is, he usually answers, “The next one.” – Emilio Ambasz

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