New York New York

Hawes gives the reader an in-depth look at New York City’s “Great Age of Luxury Apartment Building,” a period that spanned six decades of popular appeal. What unfolds is a fascinating survey of the city’s architectural evolution. New York’s luxury apartments represented a shift away from the building of opulent mansions by the wealthy. Hawes presents this acceptance of the luxury apartment house as a social phenomenon that, fortuitously, offered a practical and economic solution to the city’s problematic growth within very real space limitations. She conjectures that the saga of the New York apartment house reflected both economic practicality and the unfettering of traditional values, thus providing the basis for New York City’s successful urbanization.

The author features historical accounts of the architects, builders, financiers, and wealthy patrons that popularized the luxury apartment. Also covered in detail are many of New York’s quintessential multi-unit dwellings—the Stuyvesant, the Osborne, the Dakota, and more. Neighborhoods and anecdotes are revealed against an ever-changing backdrop that first portrays New York as a simple, rural community of rich and poor immigrants, then mirrors its great transformation through the Gilded Age, the Roaring Twenties, and into the Art Deco Thirties. Many fine photos and illustrations punctuate the highly readable text.