Landmarking is added to Allen St. building’s story


By Albert Amateau

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has unanimously approved the landmark designation of a 180-year-old Federal-style row house on the Lower East Side.

The two-and-a-half-story house at 143 Allen St., built as one of a row of six houses in 1830 by George Sutton, a ship captain and merchant, received landmark status at the Feb. 9 meeting of the commission.

“This remarkable, intact house has survived not only the test of time, but also the radical transformation of the Lower East Side into a dense immigrant neighborhood that came to be defined by scores of tenement buildings,” said Robert Tierney, chairperson of the commission. “It’s one of the few buildings remaining from the area’s first major wave of urban development,” Tierney added.

Built when the Lower East Side was a fashionable residential neighborhood, the house, at Rivington St., is in the middle of what was once the 300-acre estate of James Delancey, a French Huguenot immigrant and merchant who served as a colonial judge in the 1730s.

The six row houses were sold in 1837 to Joseph Durbrow, a clerk who later moved to San Francisco, where he became a prosperous banker.

Thomas Haley, a mason and builder, acquired the houses in 1844 and converted them to multiple dwellings. They remained in the Haley family for 80 years as the neighborhood population increased dramatically with German, Irish, Italian and Eastern European immigrants.

Four of the six original houses were demolished at the turn of the 20th century. The Haley family sold the remaining two at 141 and 143 Allen St. in 1920 to Louis Wahrsager, a mattress manufacturer and retailer. In 1980, the Wahrsagers sold the buildings to a group of artists, and No. 141 Allen was subsequently demolished.

The commission also unanimously approved the landmark designation of the Penn Club of New York, formerly the Yale Club, at 30-32 W. 44th St., completed in 1901 as an 11-story building with three more stories added in 1990.