In a message dated 1/4/2007 5:01:14 AM Eastern Standard Time, DD@ writes:
Mr. Gray (or whoever reads this),I am a fan of your writing and enjoy your many articles on NYC real estate.I am interested in the provenance of the houses on W 73 from #3-#11. Any suggestions as to where I could discover who was the architect and/or developer? I think it was not W. J. Hardenberg.Thanks, Dan Douglas Executive Director
Dan! In our giant, sprawling enterprise, with Vice-Presidents and Vice-Vice-Presidents, it turns out that Whoever is ... me! Yes this is an interesting row, but later than the 1884 Hardenbergh houses down the street, which start at number "15A", which is actually just a superstitious renumbering of 13. The buildings 3-11 are spec houses by William W. and Thomas M. Hall (well known top-end spec builders, I think they did the Duke-Semans house at 82nd and Fifth), designed by their favorite architects Welch, Smith & Provot. They were finished in 1903.
One of them - I forget which - has the peculiar busts - Freud? Marx? Trump? - on the facade, which I was able to date to the 1950s but the exact circumstances of which I never could establish.
It is truly ridiculous that the basic historical information I have given you here - which is all contained in the 15 year old Landmark designation report (which you and I paid for, by the way) - but in the Commission's infinite wisdom they have, essentially, sat on this data (and much else.)
HOWEVER, and your email is timely, the organization Landmark West! is embarking on a program to digitize this information and put it up on the web - so anyone can just dial it up. Although I speak completely without portfolio, I suspect that they do not yet have funding for this project, and it occurs to me that for - absolutely wild guess - $7,000 in digitizing, formatting and web conversion costs, Corcoran could have its name up in (digital) lights.
That's why I am copying this email to Kate Wood, estimable director of LW!, in case you or she want to consider this further. She's at firstname.lastname@example.org.