Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dorilton - Official New York City Landmark

In a comment on my November 8th post about the Dorilton, db noted that a lot of effort was put into saving the great Beaux-Arts Building, the Ansonia. He then asked, what saved the Dorilton.

To my amazement, I found the following minutes from an October 8, 1974 meeting of New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission in which the Dorilton is described at some length. Among other things, the minutes say: "Architecturally the Dorilton is one of the finest Beaux-Arts buildings in Manhattan and displays exceptionally handsome detail. It is twelve stories high, built of brick and limestone....Tall chimneys, flanking the courtyard and at the outer extremities of the building, with their horizontal banding and paired brackets supporting cornices at their tops, lend a note of elegance to the skyline. The most striking feature of the dorilton is its deep entrance courtyard facing 71st Street which is entered through a handsome triple gateway. This side portions of this gateway, with their high iron gates, once served as a U-shaped carriage access drive while the low central gateway was for pedestrians. Adding dramatic character to the entrance courtyard is the flying three-centered arch which connects the wings of the building on either side of it at ninth floor level."

The Commission concluded that the Dorilton should be designated a Landmark and thus given special protection from exterior renovation or demolition owing to the fact that "the Dorilton has a special character, special historical and aesthetic interest and value as part of the development, heritage and cultural charcteristics of New York City."

Hardly the whole story, but definitely an interesting footnote on what made it possible for the Dorilton to survive and once again thrive during a period of great stress and change for the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Long live the Dorilton!

No comments:

Post a Comment