21 Jul - 2018
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Spotted Around New York: Pomander Walk

I’m not entirely sure if Pomander Walk is the shortest street in Manhattan, but it’s certainly the most unexpected. This one-block stretch of Tudoresque row houses is tucked between Broadway and West End Avenue, in the middle of the block between 94th and 95th Street, on the Upper West Side. The twenty-seven buildings are only two stories high, and they’re dwarfed by the high-rises all around them. You would never know to peek inside the gates unless you knew to look.

Pomander Walk was built in 1921 by nightclub impresario Thomas J. Healy. He planned to build a hotel on the site, but couldn’t secure enough financing, so he built the houses instead. His plan was to collect rent for several years until he could raze them, and build his hotel at last. He died in 1927, though, so the houses remained.

In 1971, Pomander Walk had fallen into significant disrepair, along with the rest of the city. But faced with a proposal to demolish the houses, the tenants banded together in order to obtain landmark status for the site. A 2009 renovation restored original details to the houses’ facades that had been lost over the years.

 

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