Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Kenilworth Upper West Side

I just LOVE this building next to The New York Historical Society and had to check out some research when I got home. “The Kenilworth” was designed by Townsend, Steinle and Haskell in the French Second Empire-style . Built in 1908, this 12-story building has 39 grand apartments consisting of Classic Sevens, Eights and Nine room homes. There are only 3 apartments per floor offering its residents privacy and quietude. With its prominent position on the Gold Coast of Central Park West it offers enchanting park and skyline views from many of the apartments. This full service building has a full time attended elevator. I think if the lottery had my name on it, I could see purchasing one of these apartments! 

As the Kenilworth was under construction, the wildly-popular actor and playwright, George M. Cohan was experiencing marital strife.  Married to Ethel Levey since 1899, he took notice of one of the showgirls, Agnes Nolan, who was a member of one of his musical comedy companies.  George and Ethel were divorced early in 1907 and a few months later, on June 29, the actor married Agnes Nolan.

The couple was now among the first residents of the Kenilworth.  And on September 15, 1910 newspapers announced that a daughter had been born in their apartment the afternoon before.

Another early resident was genealogist and author George Austin Morrison and his family.  Among his works were biographies of Captain Kid and Lafayette, and the History of Saint Andrew’s Society of the State of New York.  His wife was the former Magdalen S. Morrison.  Despite their prominence, it was the Morrisons’ daughter-in-law who was more socially visible.

The confusing schedules of socialites necessitated their announcing when they would be “at home” to receive visitors.  On January 4, 1914 The New York Times society column noted “Mrs. George A. Morrison, Jr….will be at home the four Sunday afternoons of this month after 5 o’clock and the four Tuesday afternoons after 4.”

George Austin Morrison died at the age of 83 on February 26, 1916.  His funeral was held in the Kenilworth apartment three days later.  Morrison’s will directed that his valuable collection of “books, notes, original manuscripts and pedigree charts” go to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society.

Isn't this just a gorgeous piece of architecture? 

Even the interiors have been preserved. Architectural historian Andrew Alpern wrote, “The Kenilworth has three apartments on each floor, two of which are of a modified long-hall variety. While not exceptional in their planning or appointments, these suites have been kept surprisingly intact.” 

Overshadowed by neighboring San Remo apartments, the 12-story Kenilworth was built without the benefit of a steel frame, or the 1929 building code that liberalized residential height restrictions. The structure’s limestone and red brick walls actually hold the building up, they’re not just for appearance.

Speaking of appearance, the heavy contrasting ornamentation and copper-trimmed slate mansard roof give the building presence beyond its mere dozen stories. The two-story columns and dry moat are just icing on the cake. The Kenilworth was converted to a cooperative in 1957.

I just love all the work and detail in this building. Every chance I walk past, I have to stop and admire it's beauty! 

Here is a floor plan to one of the apartments for sale, for $5,995,000, and you can check HERE to see the inside of the apartment. 

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