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163 East 64th Street, # (Leslie J Garfield & Co Inc) 163 East 64th Street, # (Leslie J Garfield & Co Inc)
While New York City is world-famous for its skyscrapers, it's impossible to walk down certain blocks and not experience admiration for the rows of brownstones and townhouses, some of which date back to the 19th century. One of the most interesting facets of these is how no two are exactly the same; the city's architects drew on a number of influences throughout the decades. Some people are well-versed in different types of architectural styles, while others know what design elements they like even if they can't put a name to its theme.

Fortunately, one does not need a degree in architecture to enjoy the city's townhouses. CityRealty takes a look at different styles that have taken shape. Some remain single-family homes, others have been converted to boutique condominiums, and all are mindful of their buildings' rich architectural history.

Federal Style

Amy Schumer owns this landmarked Federal-style townhouse in Brooklyn Heights Cher's house from 'Moonstruck,' Currently, Amy Schumer owns this landmarked Federal-style townhouse in Brooklyn Heights
In the decades following the Revolutionary War, New York experienced a building boom that led to several new rowhouses. The red brick style was greatly influenced by the English Georgian style, but nods to the classical tradition.

16 Gay Street, #House (Leslie J Garfield & Co Inc)

69 Orange Street, #NA (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

6 East 69th Street, #Building (Nest Seekers LLC)

Greek Revival Style

112-West-13th-Street-01 All images of 112 West 13th Street via Compass
Between the 1830s and the 1850s, Federal-style rowhouses slowly gave way to Greek revival. The red brick facades remained but features like Ionic and Doric columns and ornamental work with Greek motifs made their way in. The typical Greek Revival rowhouse featured a brownstone ground floor and red brick above.

173 Hicks Street, #3D (Compass)

23 Bethune Street, #34R (Compass)

761 Greenwich Street, #2 (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

Gothic Revival Style

18-East-10th-Street-01 All images of 18 East 10th Street via Sotheby's International Realty
As Gothic Revival-style architecture came through in churches on the rise throughout New York before the 1850s (including the historic Trinity Church), it soon inspired residential design as well. While space constraints kept it from truly taking hold with rowhouses, its influence can be seen in details like ironwork in balconies and stoop railings.

130 East 38th Street, #NA (Corcoran Group)

313 West 102nd Street, # (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

455 West 20th Street, #PH (Compass)

Italianate Style

143-Summit-Street-01 All images of 143 Summit Street via Compass
Between the 1850s and 1870s, a new style of architecture took inspiration from Italian palazzi while using local brownstone materials. The result was an elegant style featuring curved lines and delicate ornamentation. Back when the country aspired to be seen as an extension of Europe, brownstone was a preferred facing material since it was thought to make buildings look older.

193 Clinton Street, #3 (Compass)

The Turnure House, #GARDEN (Compass)

436 West 23rd Street, #D (Sothebys International Realty)

Second Empire Style

215-Clermont-Avenue-01 All images of 215 Clermont Avenue via Compass
In the 1860s, Second Empire-style brownstones began to rise throughout New York. The design is similar to Italianate (see above) but tends to feature ornate curved windows and mansard roofs. A beautiful row of these brownstones exists around Fort Greene Park. Unfortunately, none are available currently.

Neo-Grec Style

6-West-83rd-Street-01 All images of 6 West 83rd Street via Leslie J. Garfield
In the mid-1860s and 1870s, Italianate architecture began to fade out in favor of Neo-Grec. This style continued to use brownstone facades but is characterized by more angular details.

265 West 131st Street with a hideous new addition. (Compass)

43 Halsey Street, #1 (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

12 West 131st Street, #Building (Peter Ashe)

52 East 66th Street, #NA (Corcoran Group)

39 East 75th Street, #4E (Sothebys International Realty)

39 Park Place, #1 (Corcoran Group)

Queen Anne Style

130-East-95th-Street-01 All images of 130 East 95th Street via Compass
From the 1870s to the 1890s, Queen Anne-style townhouses began to take shape in New York. These homes tend to feature a variety of materials as well as more ornamentalism in the design.

272 New York Avenue, # (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

136 Manhattan Avenue, #NA (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

51 West 73rd Street, #NA (Corcoran Group)

Romanesque Revival

319-8th-Street-01 All images of 319 8th Street via Compass
The Romanesque Revival Style, prominent in the 1880s to 1890s, is characterized by its robust features, asymmetry, and the use of polychromatic materials, emphasizing a straightforward expression of structure. Tonal and textural juxtapositions abound, incorporating rock-faced brownstone, granite, limestone, elongated red, yellow, and brown brick, along with terra cotta. The style relies on the enduring nature of stone to convey a sense of solidity and includes Byzantine-style carved ornamentation featuring spiny, interlaced vegetal forms, abstract patterns, and grotesque human and animal heads. Massive arches, deeply recessed round-arched door and window openings, multi-paneled wood double doors, elaborate stained-glass transom lights, and Spanish tile roofs are distinctive elements that contribute to the overall aesthetic of this architectural style.

145 West 80th Street, #3F (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

1006 Bergen Street, #PH (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

The Warwick, #4 (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

307 West 136th Street, # (Corcoran Group)

The Abbey Condominium, #3F (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

329 Vanderbilt Avenue, # (Compass)

41 West 87th Street, #NA (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

Renaissance Revival

162-Washington-Park-01 162 Washington Park via CityRealty
From the 1880s to the 1920s, Renaissance Revival-style architecture took inspiration from an optimistic era. This comes through in lighter-colored facades and ornate details like formal entryways and floral, wreath, and fruit motifs around the windows.

702 Greene Avenue, #1 (Serhant LLC)

563 5th Street, #3 (Compass)

590 6th Street, #4L (Nest Seekers LLC)

973 Fifth Avenue, #House (Modlin Group LLC)


35-East-68th-Street-01 35 East 68th Street via CityRealty
Reflecting a harmonious blend of classical elements, the Beaux-Arts Style stands out for its robust architectural details. Popular in New York from 1890 to 1920, the style originated in influential art schools in France, an nearly the entirety of Paris utilizes this style. With its roots deeply embedded in academic classicism, the style exhibits a distinctive symmetry of design, an ordered and uniform appearance, and characteristics such as a five-story height, steep mansard roof, or flat/low-pitched roof.

Buildings in this style often feature white marble, limestone, or light-colored brick facades adorned with bold, three-dimensional stone carving and ornamentation like cartouches. Entrance doors are typically elevated by one or two steps, while the main floor, often above the entrance, boasts large windows with balconies, incorporating double-hung and casement wood windows. Additionally, curved or three-sided projecting bay windows and sheet metal cornices with embellished console brackets contribute to the overall aesthetic.

29 West 85th Street, #1 (Compass)

337 Riverside Drive, #NA (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

25 Riverside Drive, # (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

Colonial Revival and Neo-Georgian styles

18-West-74th-Street-01 All images of 18 West 74th Street via Sotheby's International Realty
From the 1890s to the 1920s, architects began paying tribute to early design traditions. Sometimes known as "colonial revival," this style returns to stately and symmetrical brick facades but adds elements of other types of architecture.

Weber House, #10 (Compass)

22 Jefferson Avenue, #1 (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

234 West 138th Street, #House (Sothebys International Realty)

263 West 139th Street, # (Compass)

111 Noble Street, #TH (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

163 East 64th Street, # (Leslie J Garfield & Co Inc)

40 West 74th Street, #NA (Corcoran Group)

Eclectic Styles

210-West-122nd-Street-01 All images of 210 West 122nd Street via Compass
Many architects sampled from a variety of classical styles to create their own unique signature. This townhouse dates back to 1880 and combines Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival influences to make a home with a brick facade, brownstone and terra cotta details, and whimsical ornamentation.

Art Deco and Tudor Style

30-18 47th Street Photo from
As the city's population ballooned in the early 20th century, upwardly-mobile immigrant families moved away from the dense central neighborhoods of Manhattan to new areas of the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn where the subway had been expanded to. Tract-builders in these undeveloped areas produced rows of attached and semi-detached blocks of two and three-story houses sometimes with faint Classical and Art Deco brickwork or Tudor-style detailing.

3245 Tibbett Avenue, #House (Bizzarro Agency LLC)

327 Convent Avenue, #House (Sothebys International Realty)

International Style
32-East-74th-Street-01 All images of 32 East 74th Street via Compass
Closely related to modernism, the international style of architecture was developed in the 1920's and 1930's. The style emerged in Europe and is distinguished by an emphasis on volume over mass, a lack of ornamentation, and the use of industrial materials.

217 West 20th Street, # (Sothebys International Realty)

11 Hubert Street, #TH (Compass)

Brutalism and Post-Modernism

241-West-17th-Street-01 All images of 241 West 17th Street via Sotheby's International Realty
In the 1960's, a new style emerged as a reaction to the austerity of modern architecture. Post-modernism called on designers to celebrate existing architecture and reintroduce ornamentation and decorative elements. In the words of Robert Venturi, "Less is a bore."

56 East 1st Street, #House (Leslie J Garfield & Co Inc)

No Style (Crap Architecture)

Don't be deceived by their price tags; these structures are driven solely by the bottom line. Marketed as 'Modern,' they lack a distinct style and contribute little to the city's architectural legacy although they are useful in upholding the urban fabric. With the uptick in housing demand and less discerning consumers, developers can seemingly sell anything with four walls and a roof. However, these buildings, marked by cost-cutting, a lack of creativity, and a dreary appearance after a single winter season, fail to age gracefully like their pre-war counterparts. Instead, their efficient but uninspired construction reveals itself over time. Destined for the wastebin, these will become future development opportunities for the city's growth.

57 Havemeyer Street, #TWNH (Corcoran Group)

Contemporary Classicism

125-King-Street-01 All images of King & Sullivan Townhomes via BLU Real Estate
Many of the new townhouse rows taking shape today have adopted a contemporary historic style using the proportions and subtle elements of classic styles but without the ornamentation. These designs work well paying homage to the surrounding pre-existing architecture while incorporating modern materials, finishes, and building techniques.

145 Reade Street, # (Compass)

Contemporary Modern

In the 21st century, no one style of architecture is dominant. Some designers have embraced high-tech building materials and design techniques, while others feature sculptural, high-concept facades.

76 South 2nd Street, #TH (Corcoran Group)

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