Upper East Side Building History Detectives

Get ready to be a skyline sleuth! Have you ever wanted to learn more about a building in your neighborhood? When it was built, which architect designed it, and who may have lived there?

Corner of East 73rd Street and Lexington Avenue, looking north. April 1, 1912. Photo: New York Transit Museum

Well, you learned all about the various online tools and resources that we can use to uncover Upper East Side's building's architectural and social history. Now it's your turn to put your new research skills to the test. Join us for a virtual scavenger hunt! Below we have 10 questions about specific buildings and people on the Upper East Side and one bonus question about your own building. All of the answers can be found using the resources mentioned by Susan De Vries (click here to access the resources sheet). Grab your detective hat and magnifying lens computer and let the hunt begin!

Scavenger Hunt

  1. Which two movies made it to the marquee of Lowe’s Theater at 162 East 86th Street in a late 1930s photo?
  2. FRIENDS’ office is located at 966 Lexington Avenue. Today, there is a barbershop in the building. That is not unprecedented. In 1947 the second story of the building was also home to a beauty salon. What was the name of that salon?
  3. The Landmarks Preservation Commission credits Richard Morris Hunt with popularizing this architectural style for Fifth Avenue mansions. Name the style, and any three buildings he designed on the Upper East Side Historic District.
  4. In 1896 a bakery occupied three lots on 75th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenue. Behind that bakery, on 74th Street, there was a church. What denomination was the church, and what materials were used in its construction?
  5. Just west to the church from the last question, there was a small structure. What was it made of? This structure was later demolished and is now part of the church that currently exists at the site. What is the most recent name of this church?
  6. This church was not the only one in the immediate neighborhood in 1896. Just one block west, at 76th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, there was another church. What denomination was that church and what materials were used in its construction?
  7. The later church had a different name in 1916 and it was later demolished. What was its 1916 name and around when was it demolished?
  8. In 1940, John and Julia McHugh lived at 504 East 81st Street. What were the names of their children?
  9. Which Pratt-educated architect designed townhouses at 124 and 130 East 80th Street for Clarence Douglas Dillon and Vincent Astor?
  10. When did Polish Count Wladimir Czaykowski rent an apartment in 823 Park Avenue?
  11. What did your building look like in the 1940s? Can you find a fun fact about it?

Click below to find out the answers!

Honeymoon in Bali
Fast and Furious
Miss Tainer’s Beauty Salon
Francois I
Presbyterian Church
Brick building and tin roof
Jan Hus Presbyterian Church
Methodist Church
Brick and slate roof
Cornell Memorial M.E. Church & Chapel
Maurice, Patricia, and Maureen
Mott B. Schmitt
August 6th, 1942