The building of the Seamen’s Church Institute.
Last year, we took you on a comprehensive, two-part tour of New York’s nautically-themed buildings and structures. For this week’s Featured Foursquare List, we’ve highlighted pieces from our initial roundup of New York’s best examples of nautical architecture. This one’s for all you sailors and seafarers!
The Breakers at Sheepshead Bay (3112 Emmons Ave, Brooklyn, NY): This residential complex is part of the rapidly developing Sheepshead Bay area. Unfortunately, most of the architecture in this neighborhood is inauthentically nautical, designed and built way too quickly just to capitalize on a growing real estate market. The Breakers’ rooftop waves are the least subtle examples of marine architecture that you’ll find on this list.
Child’s Restaurant (2102 Boardwalk, Brooklyn, NY): Although it is now defunct and dilapidated, this former restaurant on Coney Island has its walls decorated with aquatic details like seashells, fish, and Neptune, king of the sea. It was made a New York City Landmark in 2002, but it is soon to be repurposed into a new performance space and restaurant. Make sure to see it before any major changes are made!
Childs Restaurant, fallen into disrepair. Source: The Real Deal
Cunard Building (25 Broadway at Bowling Green, New York, NY): New York’s yachting and cruising communities are well-represented architecturally. Check out the Cunard Building, former home to the Cunard Cruise Line headquarters, which now houses a branch of the U.S. Postal Service. The building’s entrance hall is embellished with marine symbols like starfish, seahorses, and the vessels of Columbus!
The Jane Hotel (113 Jane St at West St, New York, NY): Once the American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailor’s Home and Institute, this building was a hotel for sailors and survivors of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The hotel has since had its name changed (and severely shortened!) while still retaining its nautical touches, such as the cabin-like rooms and ship-like architectural detailing.
Maritime Hotel (363 W 16th St at 9th Ave., New York, NY): Unlike the Jane, this luxury hotel was not always a lodging place. Formerly of the National Maritime Union, the building’s facade of porthole-windows were too memorable and quirky to remove. Thus, the hotel could only design their rooms around these features, resulting in a marine-themed hotel. This building was designed by Albert C. Ledner, who also designed the similarly porthole-covered former St. Vincent’s Medical Center.
Can you see the signature porthole-windows of the Maritime Hotel?
The former St. Vincent’s Medical Center.
New York Yacht Club (37 West 44th St at 5th Ave, New York, NY): Built in 1900, this ornately decorated clubhouse successfully emulates the hobby of its members. Some of its nautical features include “windows that bear the sterns of old ships drooling pendant waves, and worked in among the columns,” according to the AIA Guide to NYC Architecture.
Seamen’s Church Institute (241 Water Street): This building in the South Street Seaport once served as a professional, educational, and spiritual resource for sailors. Although the Institute has since moved, its Water Street home fittingly took the shape of a boat. Now, the building serves the independent Blue School.