206 East 7th Street | Block : 389 | Lot #21
Description & Building Alterations
No. 206 East 7th Street, an Old Law Tenement, was constructed in 1900 and designed by architect Michael Bernstein, one year after its architecturally similar neighbor at 204 East 7th Street, by the same architect. Allen Ginsberg lived in the building from 1952 to 1953 after his institutionalization at Columbia Presbyterian Psychiatric Institute. Ginsberg befriended a fellow patient named Carl Solomon, nephew of A. A. Wyn of Ace Books. Solomon helped publish Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict, written by beat generation writer William S. Burroughs as a confessional novel. Ginsberg and Burroughs lived together on the third floor of this building, after Burroughs accidentally shot and killed his wife in Mexico and sought refuge.
The six-story building is four bays wide and clad in buff brick. The windows at the first and fifth floors are arched with decorative keystones and the windows at the second floor have segmental arches also with decorative keystones. The windows at the third and fourth floors are capped by ornate lintels and the entire facade features recessed bands of contrasting red brick. The first floor is three bays with the entry at the center and all of the openings are arched. The metal cornice is intact and It originally housed twenty-four families with stores on the ground floor. The architectural features of the building’s upper stories remain intact, however, the above-ground basement appears to have undergone some changes since its construction.
Block : 389 / Lot : 021 / Building Date : 1900 / Original Owner : Spielberger & Steiner / Original Use : Residential / Original Architect : Michael Bernstein