One of the great things about visiting other blogs are the stuff that you learn about. Yesterday I was reading a post over at Harlem Bespoke about Astor Row in Harlem. I was intrigued and decided to look for some photos and learn a little more about Astor Row.
What is Astor Row? It is 130th Street between Lenox avenue and Fifth avenue in Harlem. It refers to the row of 28 semi-detached town homes on the south side of the block that were built by William Backhouse Astor between 1880 and 1803. The land that the town homes were built on was purchased by John Jacob Astor for $10,000 in 1844. What sets these town homes apart from the larger brownstones on the other side of the street are the front lawns and wood porches very similar to the homes in the South. These row of town homes remained in the Astor family until 1911 when they were sold to a real estate developed name Max Marx. Marx then traded them in to the Brown Realty Company. Brown Realty defaulted on their loans and ownership was passed to the New York Savings Bank.
These row houses originally rented for $1,100.00 per year. Today in NYC a lot of people pay more than that per month to rent a tiny apartment. The Astor Row town houses began to fall into decay after 1930. Over time all of the wooden porches fell off. In 1981 the entire row of town houses were declared a landmark by New York City. Fund raising began for the restoration of the homes. The Astor family was just one of many groups who came together to fund and oversee restoration. The wood porches were rebuilt and the homes heating, plumbing and electrical systems were updated.