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The Ansonia, New York City

4.5
#1427 of 1,642 in Things to do in New York City
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Landmark
The Ansonia is a building on the Upper West Side of New York City, located at 2109 Broadway, between West 73rd and West 74th Streets. It was originally built as a residential hotel by William Earle Dodge Stokes, the Phelps-Dodge copper heir and shareholder in the Ansonia Clock Company, and it was named for his grandfather, the industrialist Anson Greene Phelps. In 1897, Stokes commissioned French architect Paul Emile Duboy to design the grandest hotel in Manhattan.
Stokes would list himself as "architect-in-chief" for the project and hired Duboy, a sculptor who designed and made the ornamental sculptures on the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, to draw up the plans. New Orleans architect Martin Shepard served as draftsman and assistant superintendent of construction on the project. The assignee of the contractor proceed against Stokes in 1907, suing for $90,000. But Stokes would defend himself, explaining that Duboy was in an insane asylum in Paris, and it was his belief that he was insane when, in 1903, he signed the final certificate on the plans, and should not have been making commitments in Stokes's name concerning the hotel.
In what might be the earliest harbinger of the current developments in urban farming, Stokes established a small farm on the roof of the hotel, where he kept farm animals next to his personal apartment. There was a cattle elevator, which enabled dairy cows to be stabled on the roof.
Stokes had a Utopian vision for the Ansonia—that it could be self-sufficient, or at least contribute to its own support—which led to perhaps the strangest New York apartment amenity ever. "The farm on the roof," Weddie Stokes wrote years later, "included about 500 chickens, many ducks, about six goats and a small bear." Every day, a bellhop delivered free fresh eggs to all the tenants, and any surplus was sold cheaply to the public in the basement arcade. Not much about this feature charmed the city fathers, however, and in 1907, the Department of Health shut down the farm in the sky.
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The Ansonia reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
9 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Lovely, unfortunately one section is covered in scaffolding but old historic buildings need a lot of up keep. So much detail and history they do not make buildings like this anymore. Check it out.  more »
  • The Ansonia is an imposing presence in the Upper West Side. Inside, there is a small exhibit on Babe Ruth, who was a resident here in the 1930's. Unfortunately, there is not much other information...  more »
Google
  • Perfectly located. Friendly staff. Love the roof top!
  • Nice building

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