French Renaissance Revival style buildings housed financiers in area known as “Banker’s Row.” On July 24, 2007, Landmarks unanimously designated both the Frederick & Birdsall Otis Edey Residence and the Henry Seligman Residence as individual City landmarks. Both French Renaissance revival style residences were built off Fifth Avenue at the turn of the century.
Architectural firm Warren & Wetmore designed the Edey residence, as well as several other City landmarks, including Grand Central Terminal and Steinway Hall. The Edey Residence is considered one of the earliest examples of Warren and Wetmore’s use of the Beaux-Arts style. Frederick Edey grew affluent as a stockbroker and financier, while his wife, Birdsall Otis, gained prominence as a leading suffragette and eventual president of Girl Scouts of the USA. Commissioner Christopher Moore supported designation for both the architectural significance and social history of the building, and Commissioner Libby Ryan praised the facade’s reliefs.
C.P.H. Gilbert designed the Seligman Residence for banker Henry Seligman and his wife Adelaide, members of the family known as “the American Rothschilds.” Gilbert also designed several significant, individually-landmarked residences, including the Woolworth Mansion and the De Lamar house, now the Polish Consulate. Before voting to designate, several commissioners identified the building’s facade as a key component of its significance.
After Commissioner Pablo Vengochea called the Seligman Residence “another wonderful building,” Commissioner Joan Gerner seemed to summarize Landmarks’ views, calling the 56th Street neighborhood a “who’s who of architecture.”
LPC: Frederick C. and Birdsall Otis Edey Residence, 10 West 56th Street (LP- 2226); Henry Seligman Residence, 30 West 56th Street (LP-2227) (July 24, 2007).