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A Tale of Two Tenements: 226 & 228 East 6th Street

226 and 228 East 6th Street

This week we thought we’d take another look at sister tenements – designed by the same architect, built the same year, and located next to each other – in the East Village. Constructed c. 1890 by builder/owner Jobst Hoffman, 226 and 228 East 6th Street are two such buildings.

Designed in the Renaissance Revival style, these old law tenements display some beautiful terra-cotta trim on the upper floors. The next time you walk by take a look at all those details! I also love the brick color of these buildings and how nicely they play off the green of the trees.

Over time, these buildings took slightly different paths. One lost its cornice while the other lost its ground floor. Based on the c. 1940 tax photos, these changes happened after that time.

1983-1988 tax photos. City of New York Dept. of Finance, accessed through Municipal Archives website.

Starting with 226 East 6th Street, everything is pretty much intact above the ground floor. An alteration application we have on file reveals that the ground floor and basement were rebuilt in 1940. Richard B. Thomas was listed as the architect and Metropolitan Savings Bank as the owner. The LPC designation report speculates that the cornice was possibly modified from the original, but that this would have occurred before the tax photo was taken.

Its neighbor at 228 East 6th Street got a buzzcut some time after 1940 (again, based on the tax photo). Its ground floor, though slightly altered, gives you an idea of what the one at no. 226 once looked like. The decorative door surround and stoop are classic features of many 19th century buildings.

I am always struck at the level of ornament that goes into buildings like these that were designed for the poor (of course, the living conditions inside the buildings themselves left a lot to be desired). The different architectural details lend wonderful texture and depth to these facades, and they contribute to the character of the street and neighborhood.

Luckily for those of us who walk by these buildings, their beauty is protected. Nearly two years ago, in the fall of 2012, they became part of the East Village/Lower East Side Historic District. You can read more about them and other buildings in this district by clicking on that link to our Resources page.

See more in our A Tale of Two… series.

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