Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Millan House

Millan House, 116 East 68th Street. Built in 1931 by John D. Rockefeller, and designed by self-trained architect Andrew J. Thomas, this building is covered in ornamental carvings of various animals. Eagles, owls, rabbits, bats, fish, squirrels, dachshunds, bobcats, monkeys, storks, and more. Some of the building staff came out to watch me draw and had a debate over what the two animals at the top are. The doorman thought they were goats, the maintenance man said impalas. I sort of thought they were water buffalo. Some sort of ungulate.

Here are close up views of those bas relief animal-heads over the windows.

Rockefeller was a social progressive who built a lot of housing for poor and working class people, but this building sure wasn't one of them. In 1930, the area was already high income, and this was built for employees of the Rockefeller Institute, and it became a co-op in 1947. A real estate site says that a studio apartment (with two baths ... how big is this studio?) in this building sold last year for $2,185,000. This same site has the following list of pros and cons for the property, which I find hilarious ... especially that "Close to Hunter College" is a Con.

I couldn't find any reason why Thomas covered this building in animals, or where the name "Millan" comes from.

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