Villard Houses

Villard Houses

Location 29½ 50th Street, 24—26 East 51st Street, and 451, 453, 455, and 457 Madison Avenue, New York City
Coordinates 40°45′29.22″N 73°58′30.91″W / 40.7581167°N 73.9752528°W / 40.7581167; -73.9752528Coordinates: 40°45′29.22″N 73°58′30.91″W / 40.7581167°N 73.9752528°W / 40.7581167; -73.9752528
Built 1882–84
Architect Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White
Architectural style Renaissance, Other
NRHP Reference # 75001210[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP September 2, 1975
Designated NYCL September 30, 1968
The Villard Houses in 2010

The "Villard Houses" is a historic landmark located at 455 Madison Avenue between 50th and 51st Street in Manhattan, New York City.


The building was constructed in 1884, designed by Stanford White[2] of the architecture firm McKim, Mead and White. It is considered to be a Roman design with specific Renaissance touch points.[3] Among the artists who worked on the building's elaborate interior were sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and painter Maitland Armstrong.[2]

The houses were commissioned by Henry Villard, then president of the Northern Pacific Railway, shortly before his railroad empire began to crumble. Ownership of the building changed through many hands throughout the century. The houses themselves are now owned by the Sultan of Brunei, while the land remains the property of the Archdiocese of New York under a 99-year lease.[4][5]

In 1968, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the complex an historical landmark. A combined restoration/new hotel complex construction project was proposed by real estate developer Harry B. Helmsley who constructed the 51-story New York Palace Hotel tower directly behind the original building.[6] The project was designed by architects Emery Roth & Sons and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer in 1977 and completed in 1980.[1][7]

The original building was restored in 2003 and office space was furnished for city preservation group The Municipal Art Society, as part of an agreement to save the building from demolition.[6] As a part of the renovation of the hotel, part of what is now known as the Villard Mansion is available as an event rental.[4]

In 2014, the residences were available for public viewing when they hosted the annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House program to raise money for the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club.[8]

Exterior shots of the Villard Houses were used on the TV series Gossip Girl as the hotel where the van der Woodsen family lives.

See also



  1. 1 2 National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 Lockhart, Mary (2014) Treasures of New York: Stanford White (TV) WLIW. Broadcast accessed:2014-01-05
  3. Craven, Wayne (2009). Gilded Mansions: Grand Architecture and High Society. W. W. Norton & Company. p. 243. ISBN 0393067548.
  4. 1 2 "Historic New York City Hotel". New York Palace. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  5. Bagli, Charles V. (December 29, 2000) "What's Fair Rent on the Palace? Royalty and the Church Disagree" The New York Times
  6. 1 2 Gray, Christopher (December 21, 2003). "Streetscapes/Madison Avenue Between 50th and 51st Street; A Landmark 6-Home Complex in Dark Brownstone". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  7. Ghigliotty, Damian (January 13, 2014). "From the Vault: New York Palace Hotel, 455 Madison Avenue". Commercial Observer. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
  8. Green, Penelope (April 30, 2014). "Rocking the Palazzo". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2014.

Further reading

Media related to Villard Houses at Wikimedia Commons

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