New York and its environs have a surprising collection of houses from the Colonial period through the era of the early Republic. Looking at houses as diverse as the Dutch and Georgian Wyckoff in Brooklyn and the Greek Revival Bartow-Pell in the Bronx, we will see both the evolution of early American home design and why these earlier eras, in their Yankee simplicity, served as template for the modernisms of our own time.
When Carnegie Hall opened in 1891, New York was still an intensely Victorian commercial city, and rock-hewn neo-Romanesque and arts and crafts Queen Anne were the predominant styles. Elevators were sending buildings to unprecedented heights and middle class people were gingerly trying the brand-new idea of apartment house living. But McKim, Mead & White’s recently completed Villard Houses and their fantastic Madison Square Garden announced to New York that things were about to change.