Thursday, March 13, 2008

Admiral's Row- further exploration

An addendum to my previous post on Admiral's Row- I'd like to briefly address the controversy surrounding its potential for preservation.

A lot of people on both sides of the debate like to bring on the discussion of "Well, if the Row had been properly taken care of 20 years ago..." Had the Row not been neglected for over 20 years, would the buildings be salvageable? Of course. Do most of the remains of the buildings remain salvageable? To one degree or another- yes. A lot of the wood additions in the back of the buildings have collapsed and need to be demoed. The two buildings on the Western side of the campus seem to have seen the worst wear; a wood addition that once housed a pool table, standing in spring of 2005, documented on the Officer's Row Project, now has collapsed in on itself, crashing into a pile to the ground.

But then again, a gorgeous piece of plasterwork from Quarters I (documented as dangling as early as summer 2006), which I commented to my companion The Kingston Lounge "Must surely have collapsed by now," actually remains steadfast, blowing in the breeze, a beautiful remnant of a past century's aesthetic.

Moulding below stairwells litter the Row, their every detail still crisp beneath flaking paint.

Even more ornate crystal, milk glass and the rare brass doorknobs remain, glimmering in their old fixtures, many floors above a ground level which, if not to the incredible credit of a bygone era's architects, should not be able to hold my weight, nor the weight of my tripod. Compared to many of the other doomed historic structures I spend my time trying to document, these stairs barely creaked.

Top of the grand staircase in Quarters B- plaster and snow

From the burned-out attic level of Quarters D. Still strong, if not charred.

An upward view of the same staircase. Carpet remains on all the stairs.

Bottom banister in Quarters G. All the flourishes in each of the 10 buildings varies.

The banisters and railings in most of these buildings are more intact than those in the brownstone I live in.

Did I mention beautiful flourishes? Sadly I have no photos of the interiors of any of the cedar-lined closets. They're as pristine as though they'd been abandoned yesterday.

Doorknobs receding.

Nouveau faceplate.

One of my favorite tiny details from the Row.

As always, there's always more to be said, more to be done, more to research and more to document. In the meantime, Admirals Row was the hot topic at Gothamist, Brownstoner and Curbed, in no small part thanks to the blog posted by Nathan Kensinger. More to come tomorrow.

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