The walk on the Upper East Side this past Saturday, the one in which I retraced Walker Evans and his photographs of a block on E. 61st in 1938, took me on a longer stroll. Thanks to the picture-perfect weather, I also walked through the small but lovely Treadwell Farm Historic District, a neighborhood of well-preserved row houses and tree-lined streets on East 61st and East 62nd streets between Second and Third Avenues. Many of the houses were originally built in the custom Italianate and neo-Grec styles of the day but were later modified, often by stripping the large front stoops, to give them a neat, flat appearance on the street. The elegance attracted several celebrities, including Montgomery Clift, Tallulah Bankhead, and Eleanor Roosevelt, who chose to live along these blocks.
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I passed through the historic district on my way to the more prosaic block of Walker Evans and then doubled back toward the west on E. 62nd St. Near the intersection of E. 62nd and the cut-through ramp and street off the Queensboro (59th Street) Bridge, I stumbled upon the Karen Horney Clinic. We never forget that snickering moment in college when we learn her name, do we? It wasn't her name by birth, but her married name, to Oskar Horney, upon their marriage in 1909. Of course, Horney was an important psychoanalyst, and snickering aside, this place has long served the community in providing assistance to victims of trauma, including much help for those who survived and witnessed the events at the World Trade Center.
E. 62nd then picks up the aesthetics of the Treadwell district, and it's nice to stop and look at Tallulah's former residence at 230 just to imagine what went on inside. Farther west, check out the cheese shop, Cheese on 62nd, and notice the beautiful-looking fromages, including one called "Barick Obama." I must have looked hungry or curious or both, because I was invited inside to taste some cheese. Delicious samplings, and the folks there enjoy sharing their enthusiasm. Across the street is the famous Tender Buttons, the shop that specializes in buttons. Keep going west, and E. 62nd enters the Upper East Side Historic District. The mansion at 11 E. 62 St., known as the Fabbri House, was originally commissioned by Margaret Louisa Vanderbilt Shepard (eldest daughter of William H. Vanderbilt) as a gift to her daughter and son-on-law. The Beaux-Arts house is pictured here. A touching gift, yes?
Images of E. 62nd Street (between Second Avenue and Third Avenue, looking west) and the facade of 11 E. 62nd St., between Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue), from April 18, 2009.
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