I was meeting someone in Yorkville a couple of weeks ago and I was a bit early, so I started shuffling about, and decided to investigate these massive edifices between 2nd and 3rd Avenue between East 90th-92nd Streets. They’re very well-designed as high-rises go, in your webmaster’s humble opinion.

According to NYC Architecture,

Ruppert Towers were built as an urban renewal project on the site of the old Ruppert Brewery, which closed in the 1960’s. The complex consists of three 24- to 42-story brick-clad towers set on a landscaped site, unified by a consistent design highlighted by narrow vertical windows and chamfered corners with cantilevers. The buildings’ height, irregular massing, and dynamic design create a visual landmark on the Upper East Side…

Ruppert’s Brewery (which survived Prohibition by bottling and selling near-beer) was perhaps best known for the annual salary battle between Babe Ruth and Yankee owner Ruppert. Located in Yorkville, then a heavily German neighborhood, it took up four blocks (East 90th to East 94th), between Second and Third Avenues, a complex consisting of 35 fortress-like brick buildings. Ruppert’s Knickerbocker label was sold long his after death to Rheingold, in 1965. The complex, which survived 98 years, was bulldozed and replaced by enormous high-rises, one called Ruppert Towers. A sad employee, on the last day of the plant’s operation, poured himself a cold one and groused, “This would never have happened if the Colonel were still alive.”


What also piqued my interest is that I’ve known for several years that the streets bordering these high rises were given a special lamppost design, and these are high-rise lamps, towering over the usual octagonal poles the city uses as a rule. They go back to when the project was built from 1975-1979. They also appear on East 91st, a walkway between the two towers.

The Department of Transportation has placed spare parts like mini-cobra necks on a couple of the posts, as seen here. The original shaft was short and straight and is still on some of the poles. Whatever ones were on 2nd Avenue, if any, have been removed as the avenue continues to be ripped up for the never-ending subway project.


Categorized in: One Shots Street Lamps Tagged with:


  1. Walt Gosden says:

    I know I am a Luddite, but I would have liked to have seen the “35 fortress like brick buildings” of the Ruppert Brewery saved so they could still be around. Granted they would not hold the amount of people that live in what’s there now, but so be it.

  2. John Dereszewski says:

    I had the good fortune to see the old brewery complex shortly after it closed but before its final demise. It was, as I remember it, a really impressive looking relic.

    One point about Knickerbocker beer. Although it had obvious been the brew of the Yankees during the Colonel’s life – he died I believe in 1940 – by the 1950’s it had become the beer of the NY Giants. One distinct memory I have of watching Giant games at the Polo Grounds was the huge picture of Father Knickerbocker hoisting a glass of the beer from the center field club house facade. By the time the Mets moved in, this was the site of an equally huge Rheingold Beer sign.

    • Andy says:

      Absolutely correct. Ballantine Beer became the Yankees sponsor in the late 40s, after Colonel Ruppert’s heirs sold the team to Dan Topping and Del Webb. Definitely remember the Knickerbocker ads on the Giants radiio and TV broadcasts in their last two years in NY, when I was old enough to follow baseball. The ads had a fictional man Mr. Nick R Bocker who was always getting into some kind of minor trouble, but always felt better when poured himself a “Knick.”

  3. Ernest Hisam says:

    In the 1940’s I played stick ball with regularity by the old Brewery and got many hits off the old brewery’s windowless walls on 91 street. Playing outfield you had to watch out for the trolley cars on third ave and the EL ran over head.After the game we would head for the near by beer gardens and brag about our winning,but never our losses Ha! I was living on east 90’th between Lexington and third ave. Presently living in Sebring Fl. retired for thirty one years.For me those were memorable years

  4. Laurie Gross says:

    Lived at Ruppert-Yorkville at its nception in 1975…..loved the entire experience!!

    My apt was #12G West

  5. George O'Hagan says:

    My aunt worked in the brewery office, and lived on E. 90th St. I’ll never forget the smell of the hops coming out of the building on 3rd Ave. And the Tap Room was a masterpiece of oak walls and old world warmth.

  6. E.S says:

    I love hearing the history of the brewery. I grew up in Yorkville towers in the 80’s. My apartment was 2K East and overlooked the loading docks. I wish there more old photos of the brewery. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Hugh says:

    Living on East 90th for 10 years now. I love to hear my older neighbors remember the days of the breweries. Amazing to think they dominated the neighborhood for a century.
    For pics: a few good ones.
    Anyone with any memories of how the the Els, and their removal, affected the breweries?
    thank you all

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.