Residents Work To Preserve Marx Brothers Building On 93rd Street
December 20, 2007
Development is a fact of life in the city. Old buildings are continually making way for new ones. One group of residents in Manhattan is fighting to put an end to the trend on their block, which once had some famous residents.
NY1’s Roger Clark filed the following report.It may look like just another four-story walk-up, but back in the 1890s a building on East 93rd Street between Third and Lexington Avenues was home to the Marx Brothers, who grew up in the building.
“It was this building, 179, on the fourth floor, that the family lived” said Mark Giller of the 93rd Street Beautification Association. It’s a building some neighbors fear could one day face the same fate as two townhouses that were demolished across the street.
“Unless this block is designated and protected, every one of these houses will be gone” said Susan Hefti of the 93rd Street Beautification Association.
There are no historical markers on the Marx Brothers building or the block. Some residents would like to see that changed. They would like the block designated as “Marx Brothers Place”.
“We have tourists coming here from all over the world on a daily basis, standing in front of the building, with their guidebooks, taking photographs,” said Leslee Browning of the 93rd St. Beautification Association.The group is also working on an application to the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission to have the block included as part of the Carnegie Hill Historic District, to protect it from development.
“They will knock down these buildings and put up the bland boxes that we have all come to get used to, unfortunately,” said preservationist Michael Devonshire.
On the block where residents not only know their neighbors names, but their neighbors dogs names, NY1 couldn’t find anyone who was against preservation.
“These buildings are really precious and every time that they have changed, it has changed the tone and the quality and the nature of the block”, said neighbor Richard Meyerson.
The message to developers is, as Groucho would say, “Go, and never darken my towels again”.
by Roger Clark