Fifth Ave and 46th Street (1902)

Fifth Ave and 46th Street (1902)

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Looking north up Fifth Avenue from 46th Street with the crowds out enjoying a beautiful Sunday. The Windsor Arcade is seen on the far right.
The stunning beaux-arts structure on Fifth Avenue replaced the Windsor Hotel (1873), which burned down in 1899 after a St. Patricks Day parade goer flicked a match towards the building after lighting a cigar, igniting the curtains and quickly the entire seven-story hotel in flames. In 1900 the owner announced plans to build an arcade on the site – a shopping court modeled after ancient bazaars. The Times reported on the plans for the new building, which would have several shops, art and photo galleries and specialty stores including one for chinaware.   

Designed by Charles I. Berg, the three-story arcade featured sixteen 30 foot tall Corinthian columns, a mansard roof with skylights and a large two-story portico topped with a statue of a “Winged Genius” surrounded by two lions. The building was covered in terra cotta ornament that included flowers, olive branches, and faces. The arched portico led to a garden in the center of the courtyard, where carriages could enter and drop guests directly inside, making it easy to access the dozens of shops, galleries and clubs. Despite the attention to detail and extravagant ornamentation, the building's owner intended for the Windsor to only cover the expenses of the property until something more profitable could be built on the site. In 1911, only ten years after opening, the Windsor was demolished and replaced with an office building. 

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