12. Henry Clay Frick House, 1 E. 70th Street

Magnolias in bloom, The Frick Collection, Fifth Avenue

Today, we know the Henry Clay Frick House as the Frick Collection, a repository of old masters (and a hidden underground bowling alley!). Frick began to amass his art collection while staying at one of the Vanderbilt Triple Palaces. In 1912, he commissioned Thomas Hastings, of the firm Carrère and Hastings, to build his own mansion on 5th Avenue and 7oth Street. The illustrious firm of Carrère and Hastings designed the New York Public Library at Bryant Park.

Fricks instructed Hastings to build him “a small house with plenty of light and air,” one that would be “simple, in good taste, and not ostentatious.” Despite what Frick may have said, he ended up with a palatial, 61-room home embellished with ancient symbolism and decorated inside with Rococo and Renaissance furniture and decorative arts, and of course, his collection of old masters. The Frick mansion recently had a starring role in the HBO Max television show The Undoing. While the mansion is under renovation, the priceless works of art have been moved for the first time in nearly 80 years, into the Met Breuer.