302 & 304 East 3rd Street | Block : 372 | Lot #24
Description & Building Alterations
This old-law tenement is composed of two attached structures. The original executor to the owner, who was most likely the daughter of the owner, was Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor. She was born into the Dutch Aristocratic Schermerhorn family, descendant of the original Dutch settlers, in 1830. She married into another prominent family in 1854 with her wedding to William Backhouse Astor Jr. She was famously known as “The Mrs. Astor” or “the Queen of New York Society.” Mrs. Astor and her son, John Jacob Astor IV, were the erectors of the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.
The original architect for this building, George B. Post, is a prominent American architect who was a student of Richard Morris Hunt. The pre-WWII renovation of the apartments and the addition of a garden by J.M. Berlinger are historically significant. Berlinger, according to a 2004 New York Times article by Christopher Gray, was among a small group of depression-era architects who famously introduced “tax-payers.” Gray notes that Berlinger, “worked extensively in tenement alteration.” He also states Berlinger’s importance by writing that he, “designed one of New York’s most unusual taxpayers.” Gray even compares that building to the work of Walter Gropius.
Block : 372 / Lot : 024 / Building Date : 1885 / Original Owner : Caroline Webster Schermerhorn Astor (Executor of the Estate of A.B. Schermerhorn) / Original Use : Residential/Commercial / Original Architect : George B. Post