Schneider and Herter Rowhouses
These four rowhouses along the southeast corner of West End Avenue and W. 102nd Street were designed by the firm Schneider and Herter and built from 1892 to 1893. The three rowhouses facing West End Avenue are at 854, 856, and 858 addresses; the rowhouse behind them, facing W. 102nd St., is at 254. The brownstone-covered brick rowhouses feature a corner turret, inset porches, balconies, and dormers in a combination of Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles. The grouping of four rowhouses was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2021 and have been New York City Landmarks since 1990.
258 West End Ave. (foreground, 102nd St. entrance); 256 & 254 rowhouses adjacent (right) in 2019 (Jay Dobkin)
Detail of a carved stone lion head at the entrance stoop stairs of 254 W. 102nd St. rowhouse in 2019 (Jay Dobkin)
4 Schneider and Herter rowhouses (green oval) on 1894 map (Bromley p. 37)
Backstory and Context
The four rowhouses on the corner of West End Avenue and W. 102nd Street were built as a speculative venture by the firm Schneider & Herter in 1892 to 1893. In 1897, the firm was especially busy and designed the St. Paul's German Evangelical Lutheran Church at 145-149 W. 123rd Street, a six-story brick and terra cotta 100 by 100 ft. tenement for the northeast corner of Columbia and Delancey Streets, six-story brick and stone flats for 531-533 Third Avenue and 102 Sullivan Street, and 4-story brick and stone flats at 249 and 251 Seventh Street. Many of these commissions were for the firm Weil & Mayer. The firm also is known for their 1890 design of Park East Synagogue at 163 E. 67th Street, a New York City Landmark in the Moorish Revival style.
The four rowhouses are the sole surviving example of an architectural pattern used in the Bloomingdale neighborhood in that era in which the corner brownstone was more prominent than its neighboring rowhouses on the same avenue and the street behind. The rowhouses were the only structures on the block (Block 1873) in 1894 except for a lone wooden structure along Broadway. The rowhouses are less than a mile south of Columbia University and Barnard College.
The most elaborate of the four rowhouses, at 858 West End Avenue, features a corner turret, with a narrow frontage of 17 feet along the avenue and 72 feet along the street. The three-story brick building with a brownstone veneer has a basement faced in rusticated brownstone; the cylindrical tower reaches another story and is covered by a bell-shaped roof. A recessed, double-door entrance is accessed by a brownstone stoop along W. 102nd Street. The entrance bay and the bay to its right (west) with an ox-eye window are topped by a second-floor balcony featuring a central door with flanking oval windows and a stone railing. Above the balcony is a pediment below a trio of windows forming a half circle. Above is a carved panel with a lion head motif; the sheet metal cornice of the adjacent, non-tower facade is decorated with a sunflower design. This rowhouse currently contains eight rental residential units configured as studio or one-bedroom, one-bath apartments of about 350 to 700 square feet.
856 West End Avenue is notable for its roofline featuring gables and a chimney; the rowhouse is currently divided into eight studio apartments of around 400 to 500 square feet. It was the first to be sold, and was bought by Lavinia Katz in 1893. 854 West End Avenue is configured into eight studio or one-bedroom apartments in either the front or rear of the building.
The rowhouse at 254 W. 102nd Street is detached from the other survivors and is three decades older than the neighboring rowhouse to its left (east). The 254 rowhouse was renovated in 2017 by Edson Construction Corporation. The rusticated brownstone stoop decorated with winged lion heads and cast iron fencing leads to a recessed entryway with a replacement door in the left bay of the main facade. A stone panel decorated with a flower and leaves motif is below the first floor window in the right bay. The second story features a terrace above the main entryway with a stone balustrade; an adjacent bay window is topped by a third-story balcony. An iron gate to the right of the stoop entrance leads to the basement-level patio. The west side of the building is the underlying red brick and faces a fenced-off narrow gap between 254 W. 102nd and 858 West End Avenue. which widens to a courtyard between 254 and the rear of 854/856. A two-story rear addition to 254 with bay windows faces the shared yard space. A stone archway near the sidewalk connects 254 to 858 above the iron-gated entryway to the shared yard.
Anonymous. "Realty Deals." New York Journal and Advertiser (New York, NY) January 29th 1897. 13-13.
Anonymous. "This Will Be a Big Auction Day." New York Journal and Advertiser (New York, NY) April 22nd 1897. 11-11.
Anonymous. "Money Ready to go into Realty." New York Journal and Advertiser (New York, NY) November 7th 1897. 53-53.
Anonymous. "Realty's Scene of Action Shifts." New York Journal and Advertiser (New York, NY) November 28th 1897. 34-34.
Bradley, Betsy. Urbanelli, Elisa. 254 West 102nd Street, Borough of Manhattan, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission . August 14th 1990. Accessed September 30th 2021. http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1990-254West102Street.pdf.
Bradley, Betsy. Urbanelli, Elisa. 854 West End Avenue, Borough of Manhattan, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission . August 14th 1990. Accessed September 30th 2021. http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1990854WestEndAveHouse.pdf.
Bradley, Betsy. Urbanelli, Elisa. 856 West End Avenue, Borough of Manhattan, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission . August 14th 1990. Accessed September 30th 2021. http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1990856WestEndAveHouse.pdf.
Bradley, Betsy. Urbanelli, Elisa. 858 West End Avenue, Borough of Manhattan, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission . August 14th 1990. Accessed September 30th 2021. http://www.neighborhoodpreservationcenter.org/db/bb_files/1990858WestEndAveHouse.pdf.
New Yorkitecture. Park East Synagogue, Archives: Schneider & Herter. Blog. February 20th 2015. Accessed September 30th 2021. https://www.newyorkitecture.com/tag/schneider-herter/.
StreetEasy. Building: 854 West End Avenue House, StreetEasy. September 1st 2021. Accessed September 30th 2021. https://streeteasy.com/building/854-west-end-avenue-house.
StreetEasy. Building: 856 West End Avenue House, StreetEasy. September 1st 2021. Accessed September 30th 2021. https://streeteasy.com/building/856-west-end-avenue-house.
StreetEasy. Building: 858 West End Avenue House, StreetEasy. September 1st 2021. Accessed September 30th 2021. https://streeteasy.com/building/858-west-end-avenue-house.
Library of Congress (LOC): https://www.loc.gov/item/2010587355/