The Schermerhorn Building

Art & Culture | History

It's almost The Plaza…

The Schermerhorn Building exterior noho

About The Schermerhorn Building

 & why it made the Carpe City list

Ok, so when you’re on the corner of Lafayette and Great Jones, you’re not at The Plaza Hotel… but architect Henry Hardenbergh designed both The Plaza and The Schermerhorn Building you see before you. This building came first! It was built in 1888-89, and The Plaza went up in 1907.

So you probably guessed that Hardenbergh was no slouch… He also designed The Dakota on Central Park West (famous for the movie “Rosemary’s Baby” and John Lennon – Yoko still lives there!)

If you thought this building’s pedigree was all Hardenbergh, it’s actually much more illustrious. This is The Schermerhorn Building, commissioned by William Schermerhorn to replace the family mansion on this site until 1860.

The Schermerhorns were a prominent landowning family in New York and part of the city’s cultural elite. His cousin was Caroline Astor (founder of “The Four Hundred,” a list of New York Society during The Gilded Age.)

William Schermerhorn was a significant patron of the arts and deeply interested in architecture. He commissioned Hardenbergh to design the building, which was landmarked in 1966.

The Brownstone and Terra Cotta building is unusually gorgeous for a manufacturing facility. Check out the column, rosettes, and human faces.

Carpe City Trivia

Fun fact:

There's an actual architectural term for ornamental faces on the buildings! They're called "Mascarons," whose original function was to frighten away evil spirits until, over time, they became simply a decorative flourish.

By: Lucie Levine

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