Adlon History

Adlon

The Adlon, at 200 West 54th Street, is a cooperative apartment house comprised of two adjacent ca. 1912 buildings designed by the creative and legendary George and Edward Blum. Trained at the Ecole de Beaux Arts, their inspired style incorporated Arts & Crafts, Celtic, Art Nouveau and Secessionist elements. The Blum Bros. shunned off-theshelf ornamentation, and thus The Adlon’s design elements are unique in the city.

The 128 apartments feature gracious layouts and distinctive interior appointments, true jewel boxes in a dynamic, centrally-located neighborhood.

The Adlon and The Aljomor

The Adlon opened in December 1912, and was designed by noted architects George and Edward Blum. The developers, Alexander Pincus, Joseph Graf, and Morris Goldstone commissioned George and Edward Blum to design a first class fire proof building on the southwest corner of 54th Street and 7th Avenue. The neighborhood was undergoing substantial changes at that time, with large apartment houses taking the place of smaller tenement-style buildings. As the American West expanded, it became popular to name these New York City apartment houses after the newly-created states: the Oregon, the Idaho and Wyoming are nearby examples. New York Times columnist Christopher Gray, writing in his April 18, 1999 Streetscapes article, points out that The Adlon was festooned with fashionable Secessionist and Arts & Crafts details and bucked that trend. Thus we were named after the renowned Hotel Adlon in Berlin.

The developers acquired the site for South building while still in the planning stages of the North building. They hired the Blums to design an Arts + Crafts companion building and dubbed it The Aljomor – a compilation of Al, Joe and Morris. Christopher Gray writes that the name for the south building was a blending of the first names of the developers, Al, Joe, and Morris.

You may learn more about the building and its architects in Andrew S. Dolkart’s and Susan Tunick’s book George & Edward Blum: Texture and Design in New York Apartment House Architecture. The book is available at Friends of Terra Cotta press.

The Adlon is truly a unique structure. Most residential buildings of the period were of the Beaux Arts style with corbels, wreaths and other catalogue design elements. Not The Adlon and The Aljomor, they speak speak their own distinctive language. And while the marketing materials in 1912 used the shorthand term “Moorish” in fact the exterior is an exuberant display of Arts and Crafts, Celtic, Secession, and Art Nouveau details. There are exaggerated shields, textured brick, Gruby tiles and Secession squares throughout.

The apartment interiors are notable for their conservative traditionalism. Heavy wooden door and window casings, elaborate plasterwork and –now lost—decorative fireplaces characterize our rooms.

The building also has a fascinating social history with many luminaries as former residents: Mickey Mantle, Carol Burnett, along with a host of Broadway performers.

The building converted cooperative ownership in 1989. It remains a standout survivor in one of Manhattan’s most dynamic neighborhoods.

 

The Adlon in the news

The New York Times. July 16, 1912. “THE REAL ESTATE FIELD; Seventh Avenue Sale for Apartment Near 54th Street — $250,000 Manhattan and Bronx Trade — Tearing Down of Equitable Building Revives Rumors — Orienta Point Deal.”

The New York Times. October 27, 1912. “Builders Active in the Borough of Queens.”

The New York Times.

February 12, 1915. “Topics Discussed By The Canners.”

The New York Times.

July 6, 1919. “Improved Realty Market Conditions Shown By Active Buying Throughout Manhattan.”

The New York Times. September 12, 1930. “SEVENTH AV. CORNER SOLD.; United Cigar Stores Co. to Spend $100,000 Renovating the Adlon.”

New York Times. Christopher Gay. April 18, 1999. “Streetscapes/The Adlon and the Aljomor, at 54th Street and Seventh Avenue; A 1912 Trove of Design and Show-Business History.” The New York Times

 

Historical Photos

adlon-aljomor
adlon-owl
adlon_sheet
aljomor-sheet
broadway-times-square
1/5 
start stop bwd fwd

Copyright 2013 | All rights reserved | 200 West 54th Street Corporation | 200 West 54th Street, New York, NY 10019 | phone 212-245-9518 | Credits