Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Alhambra

The Alhambra in 2010 photo by Jim.henderson

The Alhambra in 1890 Architect Montrose W. Morris

One of the most magnificent apartment houses in New York City is The Alhambra. The name Alhambra means literally "the red one" which comes from Morrish Spain. In Spain Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex constructed during the mid 14th century by the Moorish rulers of the Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus, occupying the top of the hill of the Assabica on the southeastern border of the city of Granada in the Autonomous Community of Andalusia. In the old Bedford section of Brooklyn The Alhambra is a grand apartment erected in 1889 by Louis F. Seitz. It faces Nostrand avenue, and has a frontage of two hundred feet and a depth of seventy feet which is on Macon and Halsey Street. Six large octagon towers ornament the edifice; two of them being in the center and one at each of the four corners. According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle the originally ground floor center of the building had a lofty stone arch that welcomed you as you entered a vista of an open court with fountains, gardens, croquet and tennis grounds. Similar arches on Macon and Halsey Street remain today. One of the most noticeable features of the front is a center pavilion of arcade balconies which use to give views of the long gone gardens.
The architect and Bedford resident was twenty-eight year old Montrose Morris who was a big fan of the Romanesque style at the time. Morris brought this style to Bedford Stuyvesant in 1885 with his own house on Hancock Street. Morris use elaborately delicate red Terra-cotta carvings, rock-face Stone and light-colored brick, and is beautified by chimneys, lofty gables, recessed balconies, arched windows and tiled covered roofs. The original building housed 30 families of upper and upper middle class status.

1890's Montrose W. Morris apartment interior

Individually Landmarked in 1986 the once vacant building of the 1980's has come almost full circle. The beautiful jewel fell into complete disrepair including a great fire in 1994. Thanks to developer and preservationist Tom Anderson of Anderson Associates the building was repaired and restored in the late 1990's/2000.

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