photo of astor row New York Architecture Images-Harlem and the Heights

Astor Row


Charles Buek


southern part of West 130th Street between Fifth and Lenox




Renaissance Revival






photo of astor row


In the early 1880s, William Astor built 28, semi-attached row houses on 130th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues in Harlem. Each double building shared a turned-wood porch in the Victorian style. 

Although the buildings were designated as city landmarks in 1981, by 1990, most of the porches were gone or in serious disrepair. In a tour through Upper Manhattan at that time, Brooke Astor came upon Astor Row and commenced a substantial financial commitment to restore and place the porches. In the next few years, the now-dissolved The Vincent Astor Foundation awarded $1.7 million to the Landmarks Conservancy to carry out this endeavor. Currently, all but five of the 28 buildings have been the recipients of new or improved porches; another two buildings will be assisted this year.

Importantly, the Astor Row Porch Project stimulated enormous investment in the block. The Conservancy converted two vacant buildings into an eight-unit, limited-equity cooperative. Other vacant buildings were renovated and became habitable. Two City-owned buildings have moved into private hands, and several owners have upgraded their properties. Community preservation at its finest.
Comprising the southern part of West 130th Street between Fifth and Lenox, Astor Row, built by architect Charles Buek between 1880 and 1883, features an extreme rarity in Manhattan: houses with porches!

Built on land owned by William Astor (great grandson of fur entrepreneur John Jacob Astor and scion of his real estate empire), Astor Row is made up of 28 brick houses, some attached, some not.

Though not all the Astor Row houses are in the terrific shape this one is in, since 1992 great strides have been made toward rehabilitating them. In that year, the NYC Landmarks Convervancy in association with the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Abyssinian Development Corporation began the ongoing project to reverse the deterioration and restore Astor Row.