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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Saturday, September 23, 2017

Considering the fact that New York was a horse-and-carriage town for so many centuries, it is surprising that there are so few stable converted homes remaining. By the 1950s most everything was torn down or converted making room for office buildings and modern residences. Most remnants of the city’s colonial days are long gone, but a few rare gems still stand. Often hidden behind their modest, original facades, a few of these converted carriage homes contain architectural wonders within.

Washington Mews is one such example. Just north of Washington Square Park, it was first developed in the 1830s as a mews (or row of stables) that serviced horses for the prominent homes who could afford house drawn carriages in the area. Today the mews is still paved with Belgian blocks and lined with charming cottages. It is a Greenwich Village street so urban that it seems it might as well be in a quaint European town. Washington Mews apartments rarely come on the market, though 64 Washington Mews, formerly the residence of opera singer John Charles Thomas, was available for rent last year, asking $29,995 per month. 

To the west of Washington Mews is MacDougal Alley, another street of stables that became quarters for artists, including Jackson Pollock. As per a recent article in the NY Post, many stables were converted into artists’ studios, including those of Paul Manship, who sculpted the Rockefeller Center fountain’s golden ‘Prometheus’,  and Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the museum that bears her name. Other remaining mews include Grace Court Alley and College Place in Brooklyn Heights.

There is a West Village Carriage house at 23 Cornelia St., owned by investor David Aldea. The renovated 5,500-square-foot residence still has the exterior arched carriage doorways, hinting at their 1912 origin. Upon entry, the garden level is now graced by a 25-foot swimming pool, inside an oversized Murano glass chandelier hangs from double-height ceilings. The home’s modern living room still has “24-inch square windows that would have been for the horses to stick their heads out for ventilation.” Taylor Swift, the pop star, rented the architectural gem in 2016. The home was asking $40,000/month then, and is now on the market with Corcoran asking $24.5 million.

By:  Ellen Cans