New York City has five hundred miles of coastline, yet we tend to forget that the shores along the Hudson River used to be a working waterfront. In the early 20th century, there were many factories, warehouses, and distribution facilities along the Hudson, and battle ships docked on the Upper West Side until the 1950s. Of course, construction of new buildings, including such major architectural landmarks as the future home of the Whitney Museum and the Freedom Tower, will continue well into the future. Last week, we joined Openhousenewyork for an architectural cruise up the Hudson River narrated by Tom Mellins, architectural historian and curator, and Bill Miller, maritime historian and author, where we learned a host of facts and fun stories about notable architecture along the Hudson. Here are thirteen of the most interesting and “untapped” buildings, bridges and landmarks.
The Starrett-Lehigh Building was constructed in 1930-31 as a joint venture of the Starrett real estate interests and Lehigh Valley Railroad. Its alternating stripes of brickwork and steel strip windows gave the building a modern edge at the time, and many European architects looked to it as a model. Originally, the building’s ground floor included a rail yard where trains and trucks could unload cargo. It had manufacturing, storage, packing and distribution facilities. It received landmark status in 1986 and is part of the West Chelsea Historic District.