Sunday, April 21, 2013
☞ DWELL: Historic Astor Row
Back in the 90s, the late Brooke Astor returned to the neighborhood that was named after her family and quickly resolved to be a part of the restoration of these 28 free standing houses built in early 1880. Mrs. Astor, partnering with local government and landmark preservation groups, has help restore this stretch of houses on 130th street between 5th avenue and Lenox Avenue, to their original 19th century glory. The distant relative who founded the block, William Astor, was one of the developers who speculated on the northern reaches of Manhattan. As one can see from the houses themselves, they have front yards with grass lawns and wooden porches.
This reflects a time when the upper middle classes only saw living in a house as the acceptable way to live. Multi family apartments were considered tenements and less desirable. Once the financial crises arrived in the early 20th century, Astor row eventually succumbed to decay until its namesake matron arrived to complete its full circle of life 100 years later.