East Village Building Blocks

128 Second Avenue | Block : 449 | Lot #6

  • Building Date : 1899
  • Original Use : Residential/Commercial
  • Original Owner : Julius Dreyfus
  • Original Architect : George Frederick Pelham

Description & Building Alterations

This six-story old-law tenement was built in 1899 to accommodate 22 families and 2 stores. The architect, George Frederick Pelham, designed many similar buildings in East Village.

The present facade features a bracketed cornice with a unique overhanging broken pediment and paneled frieze with an inscription on it. Round-arched window openings are found at the fourth story, pedimented window lintels are found on the side bays at the second and third stories, and decorated beltcourses, carved keystones, and ornate panels are found throughout. Many of the details are made with terra-cotta.

The former street address was No. 126 Second Avenue and in 1868, Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S., opened The Women’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary at this location. At this time, women could not typically gain admission to medical schools. The College closed in 1899, at which point other medical schools had started to accept women. For further information, see the Village Preservation Civil Rights and Social Justice Map HERE.

According to a New-York Daily Tribune article published on April 23rd, 1893, the United Hebrew Charities Building was located at 128 Second Avenue, in the building formerly at this location which had by then changed from No. 126 to No. 128. Like other charities of the time, this one included an employment bureau, an industrial school for girls, and food and lodging resources. It also provided support finding transportation for individuals seeking to live elsewhere. A number of societies were part of this overarching organization: the Benevolent and Orphan Asylum Society, the Benevolent Fuel Society, the Relief Society, the Ladies’ Lying-in Society, the Congregation Darech Amuno Free Burial Fund Society, and the Baron De Hirsch Fund. The temples Emanu-El, Beth-El, Ahawath-Chesed, Shanray Tefila, Israel, and Rodef Scholom were in partnership with the organization as well. According to a New York Times article published Wednesday, April 12th, 1899, the organization distributed 125,000 dollars annually for the purpose of aiding the city’s poor Jewish communities. That same year, which is also when a new building was constructed on this lot, the organization’s offices moved uptown to Second Avenue and 21st Street, to a building created specifically for the United Hebrew Charities Building, gifted by Samuel Loeb.

Block : 449 / Lot : 006 / Building Date : 1899 / Original Owner : Julius Dreyfus / Original Use : Residential/Commercial  / Original Architect : George Frederick Pelham

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