Friday, November 18, 2011

Pomander Walk

Photo by PilotGirl on flickr. 
Our friends over at Curbed published a nice map of New York's mews (mewses?) today, including one of our favorites, Pomander Walk. Though, as Curbed rightly notes, Pomander Walk isn't actually a mews because it never housed stables.

Pomander Walk was built in 1921-22 by Thomas J. Healy, a real estate developer and nightclub owner. When he acquired the lot between 94th and 95th Streets (near West End Avenue), Healy planned to put up a sixteen-story hotel. While waiting to raise the necessary capital for the project, Healy constructed this row of apartments (each house facade was originally designed to conceal two apartments, one upstairs and one downstairs) in a mock-Tudor style. He named it after Pomander Walk, a popular play that had opened on Broadway in 1910 and which was set on a similar, cute London Street. In truth, the Pomander Walk of the play was like many London terraces: every house was identical to its neighbor. To visualize what Pomander Walk probably should have looked like if Healy had been faithful to his source material, visit Washington Square North's "Row" between Fifth Avenue and University Place.

It was never Healy's intention to allow these apartments to stay; they were what's known as a "tax payer" -- properties designed to bring in enough revenue to pay the property taxes. As soon as Healy secured financing, these buildings were to be torn down and his hotel erected in their place. Healy, however, never moved forward with the hotel and charming Pomander Walk remains.


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