5. Il Gattopardo | Rockefeller Town houses
The Rockefeller Townhouses (13-15 West 54th Street), built in 1897 by architect Henry Hardenbergh — the mastermind behind the Dakota Building and Plaza Hotel — houses a Southern Italian comfort food restaurant called Il Gattopardo. Along with other buildings on the block, including the University Club, the Rockefeller Townhouses serve as examples of the distinguished structures that once characterized the West Fifties between Fifth and Sixth Avenues (what was called “Millionaire’s Row“). The twin six-story mansions, designed in the Beaux Arts Renaissance stylen and designated a New York City landmark in 1981, are particularly noted for their distinctive limestone facades, which feature ornamental engravings. Before the space was converted into Il Gattopardo, however, they served as home to John D. Rockefeller and his wife, Laura Spelman for forty years. Today, the restaurant, which now boasts a bar and private event space, is a beloved spot to enjoy seasonal eats from Naples and the surrounding area.