Renwick Triangle

Art & Culture | History

Architects, Artists, Movies and More all on this Block Designed by Renwick

Renwick Triangle Stuyvesant Street East Village

About Renwick Triangle

 & why it made the Carpe City list

  • Formed where Stuyvesant and East 10th Streets meet, Renwick Triangle is one of the most beautiful spots in the East Village, filled with an abundance of history.
  • James Renwick Jr. designed this gorgeous row of Renaissance Revival apartment buildings at 114-128 East 10th Street and 23-35 Stuyvesant Street in 1861.
  • If Renwick’s name is familiar, perhaps because he is also the man behind nearby Grace Church, as well as St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Smithsonian Institute Building in Washington, DC.
  • Renwick Triangle has housed many boldface names. In 1853, architect Stanford White was born in #118. Photographer Diane Arbus lived in #120 from 1968-1970. Actress Molly Ringwald lived in #122, as did another famous actress, Karen Allen. If you’re asking yourself who some of these people are, read on!!
  • In the 2005 thriller The Interpreter, actress Nicole Kidman lived at the front of the flatiron-style building of #128.
  •  The tiny garden on the corner of East 10th Street, just before #128, is called Abe Lebewohl Triangle. Yes, this little nugget of green is actually considered a park. Only in NY kids… The “park” is dedicated to the well-loved owner of the Second Avenue Deli. Learn more about Abe in our Jewish Rialto piece.
  • The landmarked Stuyvesant-Fish House, also known as the Hamilton Fish House, can be found at #21 Stuyvesant St. The building bears the last name of historical juggernaut Peter Stuyvesant, whose farm constituted what is now most of the East Village. The Hamilton Fish House is currently owned by Cooper Union and serves as the home of the university’s president.

Carpe City Trivia

More on the Bold Face Names, from the Murder of the Century to the Brat Pack

# 118: Stanford White. Stanford White was born in this apartment on November 9, 1853. White was the preeminent member of legendary Manhattan architecture firm McKim, Mead & White, bringing ornate, elaborate Beaux-Arts architecture to the city. His masterpieces include the Washington Square Arch, the original Pennsylvania Station, the Players Club, and the 5th Avenue mansions for the Astor and the Vanderbilt families. In what was called “the crime of the century,” White was shot and killed by Henry Kendall Thaw, the jealous husband of the showgirl Evelyn Nesbit, with whom White had a (questionably consensual) affair.

#120: Diane Arbus. Photographer Diane Arbus lived here from 1968-70. Arbus encouraged inclusivity in society by producing portraits of marginalized groups. Some describe her photos as off-beat and others as eerie. As a student of another famed Village photographer Bernice Abbot, Arbus went on to become a world-renowned fine art photographer with spreads in popular magazines, Guggenheim fellowships, and major exhibitions at MoMA, the Met, and the Venice Biennale.

Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph: Fortieth-Anniversary Edition on Amazon

Diane Arbus on Amazon

The Last of the Bold Face Names

#122: Actresses Molly Ringwald and Karen Allen. Molly Ringwald defined 1980s movie culture as a member of the Brat Pack – the stars of those high school rom-coms like The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink. Before she was cast in those life-changing roles, Molly got her start as a Mouseketeer on The New Mickey Mouse Club. She lived in the apartment from 2004 until 2016, when she sold the duplex apartment for $1.8 million dollars.

Karen Allen was born in 1951 in Illinois and moved to New York City at 17 to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology. She made her film debut in National Lampoon’s Animal Houseand broke out in a blockbuster playing opposite Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark. Allen is an actor on film, television, and the stage; she’s also a writer and an artist.



Renwick and the Smithsonian (because sometimes you have to get out of New York)

James Renwick Jr. was one of the most successful architects in New York, but he took jobs in many other cities. He’s quite famous for  “The Castle,” also known as the Smithsonian Institution Building in Washington, D.C. For architecture enthusiasts, the Gothic-Romanesque castle is monumental. Built in 1855 and made with Seneca red sandstone, the building is home to a museum, laboratories, a library, lecture halls, a gallery of art, and living quarters for staff and their families. Renwick chose red because of how distinctive it is, standing out from all the other buildings in D.C.

And one last little tidbit for you trivia buffs: Ever wonder why the Smithsonian is called the Smithsonian? It’s named for James Smithson, an English mineralogist and chemist who wrote several scientific journals for the Royal Society. After Smithson died in 1829, he donated his estate (worth $500,000) to the American government to build “an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.” These instructions were quite vague – it took officials ten years to decide on what would be the Castle. The officials ran a competition for designs, which Renwick won.

Smithsonian Castle Renwich
The Smithsonian Institution Building, aka the "Castle," designed by Renwick

By: Ariel Kates & Kelly McDermott

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