Stand at 59th Street and Lexington Avenue and look up at the Art
Deco main entrance of
As you take in the enormity of this low-rise, black and gray
department store, you might think it consists of one uniform
building extending all the way to Third Avenue.
Here is a stretch of cream-colored rowhouses with fanciful
details and the kind of mansard roofs that were all the rage in the
Gilded Age city.
These rowhouses, once known as 162-170 East 60th Street, were
built in 1868 and actually predate the Bloomingdale’s store by 18
“The five buildings, a picturesque side-street surprise that
has escaped demolition at least once, were developed as a tide of
post-Civil-War rowhouses swept up the East Side,” wrote
Christopher Gray in the New York Times in 1990.
The rowhouses “were
probably like others on the street shown in later views:
high-stooped brownstones in the Italianate style, three windows
wide, with a low fourth floor under a modest mansard roof,” wrote
Bloomingdale’s acquired the rowhouses the way they acquired
the land on the rest of the block from Third to Lexington Avenues
and 59th to 60th Streets—in pieces in the late 19th and early
In the 1880s, three were turned into a store annex, and at some
point they may also have served as a loading dock.
Today, these five former upscale residences sandwiched in the
middle of Bloomingdale’s go unnoticed by most shoppers, even with
the old “Bloomingdale Brothers” sign over the street-level
[Second image: pdxhistory.com]
Source: FS – NYC Real Estate
The 1868 rowhouses built into Bloomingdale’s