523 East 5th Street | Block : 401 | Lot #52
Description & Building Alterations
Built as a row of 13 speculative tenements developed by William B. Astor in 1859-1860, the last 10 buildings, including No. 523, were constructed using the same plan with only minor alterations as material availability changed. The construction began on the western portion of the block and moved east.
Designed in the Italianate style, No. 523 has had its arched brownstone lintels shaved down. The bricks have been painted, giving the facade more contrast than was originally intended. The pressed-metal cornice is retained. In 1942 the ground-floor shops were converted to apartments and the raised stoop entrance was likely removed at this time.
In 1979 the city, which owned the abandoned and largely gutted building, sold it to seven neighborhood families for $500. The families were able to get low-interest loans and completely rebuild the interior of the building, saving it from demolition.
Block : 401 / Lot : 052 / Building Date : 1859-1860 / Original Owner : William B. Astor / Original Use : Residential/Commercial / Original Architect : Unknown