Rhinelander Mansion
The Gertrude Rhinelander Waldo Mansion is a French Renaissance Revival mansion in New York City. Completed in 1898 it was designed by the architecture firm of Kimball & Thompson and has been more specifically credited to Alexander Mackintosh, a British-born architect who worked for Kimball & Thompson from 1893 until 1898. The house is located at 867 Madison Avenue, on the south-east corner of 72nd Street, Manhattan. Gertrude Rhinelander Waldo, the New York heiress who commissioned the mansion, never actually moved in. On its appearance, architecture critic Henry Hope Reed Jr. has observed: "The fortress heritage of the rural, royal residences of the Loire was not lost in the transfer to New York. The roof-line is very fine....The Gothic is found in the high-pitched roof of slate, the high, ornate dormers and the tall chimneys. The enrichment is early Renaissance, especially at the center dormers on both facades of the building, which boast colonnettes, broken entablatures, finials on high bases, finials in relief and volutes. In fact, although the dormers are ebullient, ornamentation is everywhere, even in the diamond-shaped pattern in relief on the chimneys (traceable to Chambord)." The first floor was a large center hall with rooms on each side for reception and servants activities. The second floor housed the main salon, the dining room and the butler's pantry. The third floor was where the master bedroom was located while the fourth floor housed the servants quarters and guest bedrooms. In the 1950s, the entire mansion was leased as the home and studio of the photographer Edgar de Evia, who rented offices in the building to the interior decorators Tate and Hall, among others. The building remained vacant until 1921, at which time the first floor was converted into stores and two apartments were carved out of the upper four floors. The building remained in the possession of de Evia and his companion and business partner, Robert Denning, until it was purchased by a nearby church in the late 1960s. Ralph Lauren obtained the net lease in 1983 and started a massive overhaul of the building to create his Polo Ralph Lauren flagship store. Naomi Leff supervised the rehabilitation of the building. It took around 18 months working in the final months around the clock. Published figures put the cost around $14-15 million. Ownership of the building has changed several times during his lease, from US$ 6.4 million in 1984, five years later in 1989 it sold for US$ 43 million and the most recent sale in 2005 being reported at a record US$80 million.


Building Activity

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