7. Mount Morris Park Apartment Houses

The Gainsborough

At the turn of the twentieth century, the neighborhood around Mount Morris Park in Central Harlem was already developing as an upscale area of brownstones, thanks to the hilly park (now named for Marcus Garvey) and the New York Central’s nearby 125th Street train station (now a MetroNorth stop).

The Cambridge and The Oxford

Remaining plots of land started to be developed with apartment houses instead of brownstones and one of the architects active in the area was George F. Pelham. On the north side of the park Pelham designed The Cambridge and The Oxford at the northwest corner of East 124th Street and Madison Avenue, while across the park he designed The Gainsborough at the southwest corner of West 120th Street and Fifth Avenue. Both were completed in 1901.

As can be seen from these buildings, despite Pelham’s busy workload he avoided a cookie cutter look by varying facade materials and details. His buildings still look distinctive today.