143 Allen Street looks like a throwback from another time, located between Delancey and Rivington, and it ought to, since it was constructed in 1831. It’s the sole survivor of a group of five brick twin-dormered Federal-style buildings constructed on the same lot by George Sutton, captain of the commercial clipper ship Empress. In 1837, Sutton sold #143 to the Haley family, which rented it out to various and sundry colorful tenants for the next nine decades.
The 2nd Avenue El was constructed in front of the small building in 1880, where it would remain, belching smoke and then screeching elevated cars until 1942. In fact the line’s Rivington Street station was positioned directly above the building. In 1931, Allen Street had gained its present width and center median. One by one, #143’s fellow Federal houses would be razed, with the next door neighbor, #141, hanging on for dear life until it too succumbed in the 1980s. Both buildings can be seen in this 1980s tax photo.
That fate will not happen to #143 because it was granted NYC Landmarks designation in 2010.
More details about #143, and its colorful tenant history, at Daytonian in Manhattan.