The Apartment Building In the Shadow of Yankee Stadium

For the past five months, I’ve been working on a movie shooting exclusively in the Bronx, and almost every day, I’ve driven up Jerome Avenue, passing Gate 2 of Yankee Stadium on the right…

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…and this gorgeous art deco building on the left, located at 1005 Jerome Avenue:

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Built in 1931, the mammoth 8-story, six-bay-wide Park Plaza Apartments building is dripping with all sorts of great detail, but I could never really make out much from my car. On the last day of filming, I finally pulled over to take a closer look.

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The first thing that caught my eye were the beautiful terracotta murals covering the building:

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The motifs alternate between a brilliant sun rising behind an apartment building…

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…and this whimsical fountain, surrounded on both sides by swans:

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Here are some close-ups. The apartment pictured resembles the actual building in a lot of ways, but seems more classical in design – almost like it’s the non-art-deco version of 1005 Jerome Ave:

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But how beautiful is this fountain? I can only imagine how vibrant the colors were back in the 1930s:

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The terracotta murals repeat across the front of the building…

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…wrapping around to the inner wings and abutting the arched balconies:

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Every once in a while, one additional and particularly interesting piece is inserted into the pattern…

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…this great scene of a man making an offering of a skyscraper at an altar topped by the Parthenon – perhaps an architect looking for symbolic approval from the classics of old?

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Also lining the building are dozens of fantastic art deco animal sculptures:

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Among my favorites are the rows of birds…

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…which are each wonderfully haunting in their own jagged way:

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Here’s the third:

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More birds can be found over the main entrance way:

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My favorite is this owl:

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As you move along, even more animals can be found mounted to the brick.

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Here, we have two wolves…

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…flanking a totally awesome deco frog:

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A little further on, the wolves repeat themselves…

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…but this time, the frog has been replaced by a squirrel:

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There are plenty more geometric terracotta designs to be found in just about every corner of the building…

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Also of note are the insane gate designs at the ground level – note the three totally different patterns found in the cast-iron fencing:

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Just inside the gates, you find an ascending pyramid motif…

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Here’s a close-up – definitely can’t help but feel an Egyptian influence:

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You would think the building designers would just repeat the gates for simplicity, but nope – the next one down features a totally different swirling pattern:

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The inner fence design:

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Even the little gate to the back alley has a little bit of design work…

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…including these flattened pyramids:

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The entrance is surrounded by frosted glass blocks…

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…and is flanked on either sides by columns surrounding a terracotta goat:

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Close-up:

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Six-sided lanterns abut either side:

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I ducked into the lobby, which features a sunburst pattern on the ground…

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…and this heavenly alcove in the ceiling:

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But my favorite was the pair of light-framed doors:

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I mean, come on – how great would it be to pass through this doorway on your way home each day?

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A few more bits and pieces can be found…

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The mirrors were once decorated with these great jungle-like scenes (sadly, most seem to have faded).

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Above, the elevator, you’re being watched:

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Finally, a couple of these guys round it all off.

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According to the 1981 NYC Landmarks report, “designer Marvin Fine knew of and consciously synthesized the major elements of the new modernistic skyscraper style being developed in Manhattan by Raymond Hood and William Van Alen and adapted them to the lowrise apartment houses of New York’s residential neighborhoods.”

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Named an Historic Landmark in 1981, 1005 Jerome Avenue recently switched hands and things are looking up for the building as renovations begin.

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Next time you take a trip up to see the Bronx Bombers, it’s worth a quick visit to the other cathedral on Jerome, located just across the street.

-SCOUT

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16 comments

  1. I guess they just don’t make them like they used to. The architect was either a certified genius or an authentic wacko!

  2. Old Yankee Stadium used to have a ring of terracota around the outside of the entire ball park. I wonder if the architect got inspired from that. I first saw this building back in 2007 when I went to see the constucion on New Yankee Stadium. It was/is beautiful.

  3. I grew up in the Bronx. It is an amazing borough. The area around Yankee Stadium was very exclusive when the stadium first open. As a child, I was always amazed by the variety of architecture in the Bronx, especially on the Grand Concourse. At one time that apartment building’s lobby would have had rather nice nice furniture: couches, tables, chairs, etc.

  4. I love this! I would love to time travel back a few decades and feel the atmosphere in this area (not that it’s not cool now) — just that grandeur and those limitless aspirations easily get lost these days.

  5. Wow that is just so extravagant! It reminds me of the vast lobby that makes up the El Dorado – it’s not part of a lost New York but it does harken back to that time. Thank you for all the photos!!

  6. Janice D Stearns

    Scout never disappoints..thanks yet again for a great job of scouting NY! What movie were you shooting up there?

  7. If you liked this building, you should go check out the “fish” building at 1150 Grand Concourse!

  8. Great pix. Nice scouting as usual. Any idea what the rent is or is it a co-op?

  9. Thanks for showcasing this magnificent building. I grew up close by and when I return to the Bronx, (to visit Woodlawn Cemetery) I like to pay her a visit and remind myself of the more halcyon days of the beautiful Bronx.

    In my opinion, this much maligned boro has some of the most magnificent architecture, as well as topograpy in all of New York.

    Even seeing photos, do not do the Park Plaza justice.
    If anyone is even remotely curious about her, don’t hesitate to make a trip up to the Bronx to gaze at her beauty.
    BRING YOUR CAMERA!
    You won’t be disappointed!
    Architecture today cannot compare to the breathtaking magnificence of New York circa 1880’s-1930’s.

    Thanks agaub for these photos.

  10. The Bronx has many gorgeous buildings…. a lot of them just suffered through lack of upkeep.

  11. Frickin’ fabulous Scout! I think you might just have the best job in the world – New York for sure!

  12. The Bronx does indeed have some gems. I lived at another, simpler Art Deco building at 2914 Jerome Ave., near Lehman College. The building has a name: Dornhage! The building next to it (north) is simpler still; it’s name is Edna.

  13. Beautiful light framed doors. Greetings.

  14. Having worked in wrought iron in my past, and being a designer, I can tell you those walk-through gates with the Fleur de Lis on top, are in no way original, but cheaply made replacements. The other ironwork is all hand done and well designed, where as those use off the shelf cast iron components that don’t even match the Art Deco style of the rest. Truly awesome building. As always, thanks for the tour.

  15. Good fun post on the Bronx, although I wondered where the old houses were located…John

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