160 LEXINGTON AVENUE, Kips Bay

I was stopped in my tracks by this arresting building at 160-162 Lexington Avenue at East 30th Street, especially by its massive Ionic columns (actually pilasters, since their backs are attached to the structure), huge peaked pediment…

… and a now-damaged frieze depicting Greek battle scenes that were, I gather, based on the Elgin Marbles¬†at the British Museum in London.

The building went up in 1909 as the New York School of Applied Design for Women, which had been inaugurated in 1892 as a school for women interested in the fields of industrial and architectural ornamentation, a field that was becoming open to women at that time. The school specialized in book illustration, textiles and wallpaper, and interior decoration. Admirably, the school offered affordable tuition for those of modest means. Architect Wiley Corbett was one of the school’s instructors and designed the building to resemble a Greek temple.

In 1944 the school became the NY Phoenix School of Design (which merged with Pratt Institute in the 1970s), and later Touro College. It stood empty for a number of years, but is now occupied by the pricey Dover Street Market, offering haute couture.

8/12/14

 


Categorized in: One Shots Tagged with:

2 Responses to 160 LEXINGTON AVENUE, Kips Bay

  1. Old Skool says:

    Not to be confused with hot couture.

  2. Fred Glazer says:

    Thanks for featuring this building. I’m surprised I’d never noticed it. I happened to be reading my favorite writer of architectural criticism Witold Rybczynski on the day of this post, he reminded me of the difference between a pilaster & an attached column. A pilaster is rectangular, attached columns are half-round or 3/4 round as on this building.
    Also, I’ve always thought of Kips Bay as east of 3rd Ave and this area as a southern extension of Murray Hill. The Murray Hill Post Office is at 24th/25th St between 3rd & Lex.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.