Days Gone By,  Landmarks,  Streetscapes

A Mansion of the Gilded Age

Meandering along Riverside Drive, make sure to stop and take note of the Schinasi Mansion, located between 107th & 108th Streets. describes this building as the “last remaining detached single-family home in Manhattan that continues to be a residence. According to several sources, the 12,000-square-foot mansion was commissioned in 1907 by a Turkish tobacco businessman. The New York Times reported that Morris Schinasi and his brother owned homes on Riverside Drive. They also owned a factory at 120th Street and Broadway, where hundreds were employed packaging their Turkish cigarettes in the early 1900’s.

William Tuthill, the architect responsible for Carnegie Hall, designed the Schinasi Mansion in the neo-French Renaissance style. It was built in 1909.  The lavish interior is said to be opulent throughout. It reportedly contains twelve bedrooms, eleven bathrooms, a marble hall, a sea-green tiled roof, and magnificent moldings. The quarters are rumored to have a Prohibition-era trap door and a twenty- foot tunnel reaching the Hudson River. Naturally, this has invited a certain amount of speculation about its purpose!

In 1974, the Landmarks Preservation Commission noted the mansion’s significance within its Riverside Drive setting, and it was named a New York City Landmark. It was included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. This beautiful home has changed hands several times. In addition to serving as a private home, it has also been a daycare center, a finishing school, and a location for law school gatherings. More recently, it was owned by a Columbia University Law Professor dedicated to its restoration for over thirty years.

The Schinasi Mansion is owned by a Goldman Sachs executive, who bought it in 2014 for about $14.0 million.


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