Nestled between Broadway and West End Avenue on West 94th and 95th Streets is a hood within a hood…a secret neighborhood that looks like it was plucked directly from your favorite storybook from when you were a kid (you know, the kind that had brightly painted gingerbread houses and flower boxes filled with blooms on the windowsills?) This pretty section of the Upper West Side is called Pomander Walk, gleaning its name from a romantic-comedy play called Pomander Walk, which was set in London.
The Walk was first built in 1921 by developer Thomas Healy, as a temporary construction until he could build his real brainchild, a luxurious hotel. Lucky for us (and the residents that now live there!), Healy passed before the new construction was ever started, and the quaint village still stands.
In 1982, the street received NYC Landmark status, meaning it looks exactly as it did almost 100 years ago and retains, as the Landmarks Preservation Commission report describes it, the look and feel of “a carefully-planned secluded enclave set apart from the bustling Upper West Side” with “a unique sense of place and lasting appeal”. Filled with 16 Tudor-style homes (most broken into several apartments, making for a total of 27 residences), the intimate neighborhood is private and gated. Old-timey sconces and streetlights line the walkway, adding to the utter charm of the place. “Are we really in Manhattan?”, you’ll probably ask yourself. Well…assuming you can get in for a peeksy, that is. The residents of the Walk apparently don’t take well to gapers.
So how do you sweet talk your way into the Walk? Well, you could always be totally obnoxious and ring all the buzzers until someone lets you in (we’re not advising this;-) Or, you could do it the more civilized way and wait until an apartment goes on the market and attend an open house. And there’s totally no shame in taking a peek through the gate if you find yourself in the area…you’re simply appreciating NYC history, after all!
And if you do find yourself in the hood, be sure to stop by another secret gem in the area…a private community rooftop garden located 20 feet above 97th Street called the Lotus Garden, open to the public on Sundays between 1 and 4pm.
We hoped you enjoyed this month’s edition of Big Apple Dinner Party Discussions! If you have suggestions of NYC topics/places you would like explored, please leave them in the comments below, or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!