Tuesday, November 24, 2009

☞ REVIVE: 92 Morningside Avenue

It's been seven years since a cigarette in an ashtray set off the fire that would burn out the interior of the building at 92 Morningside Avenue. This turn of the century, former luxury apartment building facing Morningside Park at West 122nd Street eventually became a basic rental building once the neighborhood fell into decline in the mid century. The top two photos show the building today with the cornice eventually removed at the roofline when it became unstable a couple of years later and graffiti started slowly appearing at the facade.

The last photo shows the twin sister building at 98 Morningside Avenue, attached at the left half of the block towards 123rd Street. Apparently the fire spared the second building, but the landlord has not been able to finance repairs or offer the former building up for sale. In our opinion, this building could be sold off to the proper developer as a mixed-income condo to help improve the area instead of eventually becoming a safety hazard. It also might be wise to have a "no smoking" clause the next time around. Photos by Ulysses

8 comments:

  1. I think this building was the home of the writer J.A. Rogers author of Man and Superman.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This pair of buildings has - without question - one of the most elaborate facades in the city. It is nothing short of a tragedy that the buildings continue to languish in their derelict condition. If anyone has any information on the history of 92-98 Morningside Avenue, please share it with us! I have been infatuated with these remarkable buildings ever since moving in some months ago, but know little about them. They may have been comissioned by the Ottinger Bros., whom the New York Times lists as having purchased the property in 1895.

    Matthew Marcucci

    ReplyDelete
  3. I've always loved these facades. It is a shame that there is so much energy in new construction and these lovely buildings don't seem to be a good opportunity for renovation.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I live here (am moving out in a week, thank goodness). The buildings are owned by Baruch Singer. The tenants in 98 Morningside have been without heat and hot water for a week. (Hopefully there are no tenants in 92 Morningside, though I have a feeling the building isn't empty). I wouldn't look for any charming restorations to either building facade any time soon. There are way bigger problems.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Marcus Retter, deceased in 2007, signed a power of attorney to Daniel Retter (probably his son) to sell his shares of stock in 92 and 98 Morningside on January 20, 2002 to Barry Singer. I don't know if this was before or after the fire. Retter managed several buildings for his wife and her three sisters. At least 19 of these buildings, mostly on the upper west side, are cited with numerous state and city housing code violations. Learn mor about Baruch Singer via Google.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The FBI raided 92 Morningside Avenue on the morning of April 20, 1980 in search of fugitive Blank Panther Party member Assata Shakur. They broke down doors and rummaged through units and held the whole building up for hours, though didn't find her.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My grandparents & mother lived in this building in the 19teens and 20's. They were Don Carlos & Lucy (Hall) Buell, & daughter Florence. She married my father, R.N. Slawson at Mt Morris Baptist Church (now Mt Moriah) on Dec. 4, 1921, reception at home. My mother described the bldg as "a lovely apt house..w/a doorman, elevator boy and switchboard operator." They "walked the streets and the Park unafraid and happy." Carolyn DeCoster

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yes the FBI was also looking for Joanne Chesimard, a member of the Black Liberation Army, now living in Cuba. She was wanted for the murder of a police officer.

    ReplyDelete