The Manhattan Avenue Historic District

There’s a little historic district just south of 125th Street that it seems no one knows about – the Manhattan Avenue Historic District. The buildings in it are not landmarked by the City, but the area is on the National Register of Historic Places. What that means is up to about $100,000 in tax credits for owners who renovate shells in the area or up to $50,000 to fix up ones that just need some work but aren’t shells.

Now, the sad part is that Wall Street Journal editor Julia Angwin got a public reaming in the comments on her blog when when she decided to rip out most of the original details in her house (because they were covered in lead paint and she was worried about her kids). It’s sad because I don’t think she even knew she was in the Manhattan Avenue Historic District. The $50K to $100K she could have qualified for would have more than offset the cost of keeping her original details and removing the lead paint. Instead, her house was essentially stripped of its original details.

There is a bit of a question about the actual boundaries of the historic district. According to the National Park Service’s web site the addresses included in the district are:

  • 242 to 262 West 120th Street (numbers seem wrong)
  • 341 to 362 West 121st Street
  • 341 to 362 West 122nd Street
  • 344 to 373 West 123rd Street
  • 481 to 553 Manhattan Avenue (West side)

Problem is the addresses on 120th street don’t make sense. There aren’t really a set of buildings that match those numbers. Mind you, I’d love for the addresses to be correct since I know the people who are in contract for 243 West 120, but something tells me the 120th Street addresses are wrong. At first I thought they probably meant 342 to 362, but those numbers don’t make sense either – they include a modern school building. The numbers that would make sense are 351 to 369 – but those aren’t the numbers.

manhattan avenue historic district mapIn terms of buildings in the historic district that are for sale – there’s not much… 533 Manhattan qualifies, but apparently the contract is out on it.

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