Description & Building Alterations
One of the oldest buildings in the neighborhood, 143-145 Avenue D has a long history. The building was constructed in 1827 for the New York Dry Dock Company as the Dry Dock Banking House, just a block from the marine railway. Originally a four-story Federal-style structure, its window lintels, brick color, and misaligned brick bond have all been altered.
In 1854, the bank moved to 147 Avenue D, a building that was demolished in 1961 for the 1.5-acre Dry Dock Playground. It is unclear what no. 143-145 Avenue D was used for between then and 1862, when it became the Manhattan Steam Laundry. Beginning in 1870, the building housed The Strangers’ Hospital, started and funded by John H. Keyser, a leader in the notorious Tammany Hall. The hospital functioned as a charity organization, caring for up to 200 patients who were unable to pay for their own treatment or who had an unusual disease needing special treatment. The hospital closed by 1874 with the auspicious end of Tammany Hall power and the subsequent bankruptcy of Keyser…
The fifth floor of this building was added after the hospital closed in 1879 by the Levy Brothers, wholesale clothing dealers, at which point the geometric brick cornice detail was popular. In 1885 the building served as a cigar factory, and in 1888 a cast-iron storefront was added. In 1920, the building was purchased by the F. H. Bennett Biscuit Company, which became Wheatsworth, Inc. in 1927. In 1999 it was converted to a residential building. The ground floor of the 10th Street facade shows evidence of a loading bay that has since been bricked over, signifying the building’s industrial past. The Wheatsworth Bakery is now located next door at 436-446 East 10th Street.
Block : 379 / Lot : 032 / Building Date : 1827 / Original Owner : New York Dry Dock Company / Original Use : Commercial / Original Architect : Unknown