1. Park Plaza Apartments

Located a few hundred feet north of the left field foul pole in new Yankee Stadium, the Park Plaza Apartments building is an architectural All-Star of the Art Deco era with a stunning array of terra cotta details. The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission’s landmark designation report described it as “one of the handsomest Art Deco buildings in the Bronx.”

The architect of Park Plaza Apartments was Horace Ginsberg (who later changed his surname to Ginsbern) but his associate Marvin Fine is credited with the distinctive facade design. The massive building, 365 feet long and 8 stories tall, was originally even larger. It was intended to be 10 stories tall, but as it was nearing completion in 1929 a major fire destroyed the structure and resulted in changes to the plans.  Following a reconstruction, the slightly shorter building opened in 1931.

Park Plaza Apartments, referred to as “modernistic” by Ginsberg at the time of its design, embodies some of the tensions in architecture at the time. Art Deco architecture, with its “machine age” streamline forms, is often described by as a transitional style, less ornate, and some would add less ostentatious, than styles popular before it, but not as austere as the “form follows function” Modernist architecture that became widely used in New York after World War II.  The Park Plaza Apartments is Modernistic, as Ginsberg and his peers used the term, but with its ornamental terra cotta it was clearly not Modernist. New York’s post-war architecture would eschew the model presented by buildings such as Park Plaza Apartment for a very different aesthetic.

Next, check out 8 architectural gems on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx or ten pre-war apartment houses in Washington Heights.

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