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Need inspiration? Here are some exquisite fireplace remodeling recommendations that will be sure to transform your St. Nicholas Historic District, NY home.
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David H. King Jr., the developer of what came to be called “Striver’s Row”, had previously been responsible for building the 1870 Equitable Building, the 1889 New York Times Building, the version of Madison Square Garden designed by Stanford White, and the Statue of Liberty’s base. The townhouses in his new project, which were originally called the “King Model Houses”, were intended for upper-middle-class whites, and featured modern amenities, dark woodwork, and views of City College. King’s idea was that the project would be “on such a large scale and with such ample resources as to ‘Create a Neighborhood’ independent of surrounding influences.”
The houses sit back-to-back, which allowed King to specify that they would share rear courtyards. The alleyways between them – a rarity in Manhattan – are gated off; some entrance gates still have signs that read “Walk Your Horses”. At one time, these alleys allowed discreet stabling of horses and delivery of supplies without disrupting activities in the main houses. Today, the back areas are used almost exclusively for parking.
King sold very few houses and the development failed, with Equitable Life Assurance Society, which had financed the project, foreclosing on almost all the units in 1895, during an economic depression. By this time, Harlem was being abandoned by white New Yorkers, yet the company would not sell the King houses to blacks, and so they sat empty until 1919-20, when they were finally made available to African Americans for $8,000 each. Some of the units were turned into rooming houses, but generally they attracted both leaders of the black community and upwardly-mobile professionals, or “strivers”, who gave the district its colloquial name.Learn more about St. Nicholas Historic District.