Wednesday, June 24, 2009

☞ REMEMBER: The O'Reilly Building

Before it became commonly known as the Dwyer Warehouse, the storage facility on St. Nicholas and 123rd Street was the O'Reilly Storage Building for over sixty years. Cornelius O'Reilly, a successful builder and architect, set up the nine-story storage facility in 1892 to service the incoming middle classes attracted to the new Harlem neighborhood. Of course, that early century real estate bubble burst in a big way and, with too many brownstones and not enough buyers, Harlem would decline for much of the 20th century. The building, with its corner tower and bright orange brick mixed in with decorative red brick (last photo), was one of the tallest structures in the neighborhood and would be a fond landmark until its demise in 2005.

The O'Reilly family sold the building in 1959, and it would then become the Dwyer Warehouse. The government became the eventual owner of Dwyer Warehouse because of unpaid back taxes, but after many years of neglect and failed restorations, the building was in such poor condition that it was eventually demolished. The 2nd photo down is its final stand in 2005. However, an adaptive reuse project retained some of the base structure, adopted the original orange brick color and recreated the silhouette of the former warehouse in a modern line. Take the A,B,C,D to 125th Street to see what the new Dwyer Building looks like today. Lower two photos courtesy of

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