In the decades just before and after World War I, a group of architects, homeowners, and developers pioneered innovative and affordable housing alternatives. They converted the deteriorated and bleak row houses of old New York neighborhoods into modern and stylish dwellings. This movement — an early example of what has become known as “gentrification” — dramatically changed the physical character of these neighborhoods. It also profoundly altered their social makeup as change priced poor and largely immigrant households out of the area.
In The Row House Reborn, Dolkart traces this aesthetic movement from its inception in 1908 with architect Frederick Sterner’s complete redesign of his home near Gramercy Park to a wave of projects for the wealthy on the East Side to the faux artist’s studios for young professionals in Greenwich Village. This significant development in the history of housing and neighborhoods in New York has never before been investigated. The Row House Reborn will interest architectural and urban historians, as well as general readers curious about New York City architecture and neighborhood development.
Due to technical errors, the original video of Andrew Dolkart’s 2010 lecture at The Skyscraper Museum was lost. Fortunately, Andrew delivered a close version of that talk in May 2020 (during the COVID shutdown) as a webinar offered by the Friends of the Upper East Side. We were able to record that lecture beginning about one minute into the talk, so the video starts abruptly, without introduction. We thank Andrew Dolkart and the Friends of the Upper East Side for agreeing to share this post.
Andrew S. Dolkart is the James Marston Fitch Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. He has written extensively about the architecture and development of New York, including the award-winning Morningside Heights: A History of Its Architecture and Development and the Guide to New York City Landmarks. He has curated numerous exhibitions and is well-known for his walking tours of New York City neighborhoods.