Sunday, April 19, 2009

☞ ARCHITECTURE: 159th Street Cottage

In 1937, the famous chronological photographer Berenice Abbott traveled up north to visit 857 West 159th Street and discovered this seaside cottage as it was to be engulfed by 20th century buildings. The "widow's walk" on the roof is the most telling thing about the building's past since the hillside view on the banks of the Hudson would enable a mariner's wife to watch for his ship's return, albeit in sometimes tragic circumstances. Today, the porch has only a small remnant of its past, which can be seen on the left side of the house; the wood siding has been covered by vinyl "faux stone," and the widow's walk is a collapsed heap on the roof. Surprisingly, the rest of West 159th Street has barely changed, but the most fanciful house on the block altered itself so that it is now a stand-out for other reasons. 857 West 159th Street and Riverside Drive. Take the 1 Train to 157th Street.

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