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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Ansonia - Michael Davis

The Ansonia
Michael Davis - Fine Art Retouching
https://68.media.tumblr.com/7f482779dbeacaf3e204377f86937750/tumblr_op0twqduAM1smcbl0o2_1280.jpg
The Ansonia is a building on the Upper West Side of New York City, located at 2109 Broadway, between West 73rd and West 74th Streets.

It was originally built as a residential hotel by William Earle Dodge Stokes, the Phelps-Dodge copper heir and share holder in the Ansonia Clock Company, and it was named for his grandfather, the industrialist Anson Greene Phelps. In 1899, Stokes commissioned architect Paul E. Duboy (1857–1907) to build the grandest hotel in Manhattan.
(1905)
Stokes would list himself as "architect-in-chief" for the project and hired Duboy, a sculptor who designed and made the ornamental sculptures on the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, to draw up the plans.

In what might be the earliest harbinger of the current developments in urban farming, Stokes established a small farm on the roof of the hotel.

Stokes had a Utopian vision for the Ansonia—that it could be self-sufficient, or at least contribute to its own support—which led to perhaps the strangest New York apartment amenity ever. "The farm on the roof," Weddie Stokes wrote years later, "included about 500 chickens, many ducks, about six goats and a small bear." Every day, a bellhop delivered free fresh eggs to all the tenants, and any surplus was sold cheaply to the public in the basement arcade. Not much about this feature charmed the city fathers, however, and in 1907, the Department of Health shut down the farm in the sky

Erected between 1899 and 1904, it was the first air-conditioned hotel in New York. The building has an eighteen-story steel-frame structure. Upon its completion in 1904 The Ansonia was the largest residential hotel of its day. The exterior is decorated in the Beaux-Art style with a Parisian style mansard roof. 

The building's original, elaborate copper cornices were removed during World War II and melted down for the war effort

By the mid-twentieth-century, the grand apartments had mostly been divided into studios and one-bedroom units, almost all of which retained their original architectural detail.

After a short debate in the 1960s, a proposal to demolish the building was fought off by its many musical and artistic residents.

From 1977 until 1980, The Ansonia Hotel's basement was home to Plato's Retreat, an open door swinger sex club. In 1980, the then Mayor Ed Koch shut the club down due to health concerns for public safety. Prior to Plato's Retreat, the building housed the Continental Baths, a gay bathhouse where Bette Midler provided musical entertainment early in her career, with Barry Manilow as her accompanist It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

In 1992 the Ansonia was converted to a condominium apartment building with 430 apartments. By 2007, most of the rent-controlled tenants had moved out, and the small apartments were sold to buyers who purchased clusters of small apartments and threw them together to recreate the grand apartments of the building's glory days, with carefully restored Beaux-Arts details.

Famous former residents: 
The Ansonia has had many celebrated residents, including
https://68.media.tumblr.com/7f482779dbeacaf3e204377f86937750/tumblr_op0twqduAM1smcbl0o2_1280.jpg

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