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The Portsmouth in Greenwich Village: Review and Ratings | CityRealty

71
Carter Horsley
Review by Carter Horsley
Carter Horsley Carter B. Horsley, a former journalist for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Post. Mr. Horsley is also the editorial director of CityRealty.com.
 

This very handsome, mid-block, red-brick apartment building at 38 West 9th Street was erected in 1882 and designed by Ralph S. Townsend in Queen Anne style for Sophia R. C. Furniss.

It has 53 apartments.

Townsend also designed the adjoining Hampshire at 50 West 9th Street the following year, the splendid Kenilworth apartment building at 151 Central Park West in 1908, the Hotel Churchill at 252 West 76th Street in 1903, and the extension in 1905 of the Berkeley Preparatory School at 20 West 44th Street that became the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen.

In “The A.I.A. Guide to New York City Architecture, Fifth Edition,” Norval White, Elliot Willensky and Fran Leadon described the Portsmouth and The Hampshire as “Lusty Victorian flats embellished with rich terra-cotta spandrels and, in the case of The Hampshire, diminished by festoons of fire escapes.”

Bottom Line

The Portsmouth has fireplaces and a very prime central location off Lower Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village and one of the most distinguished entrances to a mid-block building on one of the city’s loveliest blocks.

Description

The Greenwich Village Historic District report notes that this “fashionable brick elevator apartment house…harmonizes remarkably well with its near-twin to the west, ‘The Hampshire,’ and with its town house neighbors.

It “displays, in the spandrel panels between windows, the usual profusion of terra cotta and toothed brickwork,” it continued, adding that “the smooth vertical brick piers between the windows are extremely simple.” 

“The cast iron entrance porches, with door and window creating a note of asymmetry, are typical of this style.  A richly bracketed cornice, with triangular pediment placed directly above the left-hand doorway, provides an effective crowning feature for the front wall.  A wrought iron railing separates the areaway from the sidewalk.  It is attractively designed with a vertical wave line above the horizontal base.  Between the base bars, inverted adjoining loops provide a running design,” it added.

It also noted that “Ida Tarbell, muckraking journalist, magazine editor, biographer, and historian, lived at No. 40 from 1901 to 1908, and the painter Hans Hofmann resided there from 1936 to 1938.”

The building, which has a nice cornice and an elevator, has a four-step-up entrance and its name is emblazed beneath a copper element supported by the three-column portico.  The building also has globular light scones beneath the portico.

Amenities

The building has a concierge and permits pets.

Apartments

Some apartments have more than one fireplace.

Apartment 6J is a two-bedroom unit with a 20-foot-wide living room with sliding doors wot an 14-foot-long, windowed kitchen.  The two bedrooms and a 16-foot-wide office/sitting room have some angled walls with windows.

Apartment 12 is a three-bedroom unit with and angled entry foyer that leads to a 21-foot-wide living room with a fireplace and a long angled hall that leads to a 16-foot-wide dining room with a fireplace next to an angled, windowed and enclosed 16-foot-long kitchen.

 

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