19. Duke Ellington House (1915)

Duke Ellington Residence

At 935 St. Nicholas Avenue in Washington Heights is the Duke Ellington House, a National Historic Landmark named for the noted African-American composer and jazz pianist who frequently played at the still-active Cotton Club in West Harlem. The Late Gothic Revival style apartment, specifically Apartment 4A, was where Ellington lived from 1939 to 1961, during which time he published the extended jazz work Black, Brown, and Beige.

Ellington was famous for performing Billy Strayhorn’s “Take the ‘A’ Train,” describing a route to Sugar Hill. Other of his noteworthy compositions include “Mood Indigo,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” and “In a Sentimental Mood.” His band included musical talents like saxophonist Johnny Hodges and trombonist Juan Tizol, and his album Such Sweet Thunder was actually based on the works of William Shakespeare.