Sunday, April 27, 2014

Villa Charlotte Brontë, Spuyten Duyvil, Bronx, New York, New York

Spuyten Duyvil (pronounced SPY-ten DYE-vil) is Dutch for "in spite of the Devil," and is believed to refer to the strong currents that occur where the Hudson and Harlem Rivers meet.  It's best-known residence is the Villa Charlotte Brontë, designed by Robert Gardner in 1926. 

The tiny co-op complex at 2501 Palisade Avenue was the vision of John J. McKelvey, a lawyer, writer and developer.  Earlier, around 1924, he built the Villa Rosa Bonheur at 2395 Palisade Ave.

At the turn of the century, any building named after Rosa Bonheur, a radical French painter of the 19th century, or Charlotte Brontë, the author of “Jane Eyre,” would have been unusual. Two of Mr. McKelvey’s children — Louise McKelvey Holsapple of North White Plains and John J. McKelvey, of Ridgefield Springs, N.Y. — recall that their father had a literary bent, and Mrs. Holsapple said that he particularly appreciated the work of the Brontës.

Christopher Gray (NYT) described as: The two buildings are like a fantasy sand castle for the Amalfi coast designed by M. C. Escher. The exterior is artfully roughened stucco, with irregular brick, odd stones and bulbous roof tile in a tangle of orange, green, blue and red, as if by Antonio Gaudí. Each apartment has at least three exposures through steel casement windows, with a private entrance and a wood-burning fireplace. The Hudson River views range from sliver to sumptuous. The complex is surrounded by a network of walkways threaded through lush planted areas.
M.C. Escher



Henry Hudson Bridge in background

Glyndor Gallery, Wave Hill, Riverdale, Bronx, New York, New York

Wave Hill House, Riverdale, Bronx, New York, New York

This Greek Revival house was built in 1843 by William Lewis Morris.  Purchased two decades later by Appleton, it was turned into a Victorian villa.  It was leased to Teddy Roosevelt and later Mark Twain (1901-1903).    A Gothic style weing was added in 1927, Armor Hall.  Arturo Toscanini lived in the house (1943-1945), which ultimately was deeded to NYC in 1960.

Wave Hill Conservatory, Riverdale, Bronx, New York, New York

910 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York, New York

Designed by Israel Crausman, "910" retains a spectacular mural in the lobby adopted from Joyce Kilmer's poem "Roofs" (see below).  This building not even mentioned in AIA Guide to NYC. 
Kilmer was born in New Brunswick, NJ and attended Rutgers from 1904 to 1906, graduating from Columbia College in 1908. He began his writing career in New York in 1909, contributing freelance articles and poems to a number of publications before he joined the staff of The New York Times. He is most famous for his poem, "Trees," written in 1913, which has been learned by millions of schoolchildren. While stationed in France during World War I, Kilmer wrote for Stars and Stripes, the Army weekly. On July 30, 1918, he was killed in action on the Western Front.



Joyce Kilmer

(For Amelia Josephine Burr)

The road is wide and the stars are out
And the breath of the night is sweet,
And this is the time when wanderlust should seize upon my feet.
But I'm glad to turn from the open road and the starlight on my face,
And to leave the splendour of out-of-doors for a human dwelling place.

I never have seen a vagabond who really liked to roam
All up and down the streets of the world and not to have a home:
The tramp who slept in your barn last night and left at break of day
Will wander only until he finds another place to stay.

A gypsy-man will sleep in his cart with canvas overhead;
Or else he'll go into his tent when it is time for bed.
He'll sit on the grass and take his ease so long as the sun is high,
But when it is dark he wants a roof to keep away the sky.

If you call a gypsy a vagabond, I think you do him wrong,
For he never goes a-travelling but he takes his home along.
And the only reason a road is good, as every wanderer knows,
Is just because of the homes, the homes, the homes to which it goes.

They say that life is a highway and its milestones are the years,
And now and then there's a toll-gate where you buy your way with tears.
It's a rough road and a steep road and it stretches broad and far,
But at last it leads to a golden Town where golden Houses are.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

124 South Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck Plaza, New York


 This amazing English-style (James W. O'Connor architect, Ecole des Beaux Arts) commercial building in Great Neck first occupied by Belgrave Motors, Inc. sold Oldsmobiles.  Now occupied by Tower Ford.  This intricate granite/brick design is common in NYC apartment buildings, especially in West Bronx.

photo Great Neck Public Library

Monday, April 14, 2014

1005 Jerome Ave., Bronx, New York, New York

elevator entrance

174th St. Bridge, Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York, New York

1166 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New York, New York

This art deco offering is in line with "1150" next door, the Fish Building.  Also designed by Horace Ginsbern (1936).

birds, deer, sea horses