Endangered Cast-Iron Buildings in NYC - A Project of the Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America  
112 4th Avenue
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Project Summary

New York City has the world’s largest collection of buildings with cast-iron fronts. Many of these buildings have already been designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, either as individual landmarks or as part of historic districts, most notably the SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District.  Even with these designations, there are still a significant number of cast-iron fronts that remain unprotected by any designation.

In 2004, the New York Metropolitan Chapter of the Victorian Society in America commissioned a survey of the cast-iron-fronted buildings in New York City that had not been designated as landmarks or were not located in designated historic districts. Appropriately, this was the first project funded by the chapter’s Margot Gayle Fund for Preservation of Victorian Heritage. Margot was not only a founder of the Victorian Society in America, but she was the person most responsible for recognizing the contribution that America’s cast-iron buildings made to nineteenth-century architecture; she was the founder of the Friends of Cast-Iron Architecture; and she had been the most vocal advocate for the preservation of these buildings.

The chapter selected architectural historian and Director of Columbia University’s Historic Preservation program Andrew Dolkart to conduct the survey of the undesignated cast-iron-fronted buildings.  The survey identified 69 cast-iron fronts (representing 63 entries in the cast iron database); 56 in Manhattan and 13 in Brooklyn. These buildings represent all aspects of the history of cast iron, dating from c. 1857 to 1909 and were executed in the popular styles of the mid to late-nineteenth century, including Italianate, French Second Empire, Neo-Grec, Neo-Renaissance, and Queen Anne. The buildings cover a wide geographic area. The Manhattan buildings identified stretch from Nassau, John, and Fulton Streets in Lower Manhattan, north to West 125th Street, while the Brooklyn buildings extend across the northern portion of that borough, from Fulton Street in Downtown Brooklyn to Williamsburg and Bushwick. 

Each of the 69 buildings identified in the survey are included in this searchable database.  Those buildings that have been designated since the survey are still included, but are marked as now designated.   Two buildings included in the survey were demolished.  The cast-iron fronted building at 871-873 Sixth Avenue was demolished c. 2007-2008, and 24 East 23rd street was demolished c. 2006.  This highlights the ongoing threats to those cast-iron building that have not yet been designated as landmarks.

For more detailed information on the project, visit:
Survey Background
Survey Methodology
Notes on Entries





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