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Riverside (house) Pictures

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Wikipedia: Riverside was the name of an extravagant private residence on the Upper West Side of New York City that existed in the first half of the 20th century. It was built for steel magnate Charles M. Schwab, and was the grandest and most ambitious house ever built on the island of Manhattan. Considered by many to be the classic example of a white elephant, it was built on the wrong side of Central Park from the viewpoint of the more fashionable Upper East Side. The 75-room mansion between 73rd and 74th Streets was designed by an architect with only a modest reputation, Maurice Hébert, as an eclectic Beaux-Arts mixture of pink granite features that made the Vanderbilt mansions on Fifth Avenue look cramped. It combined details from three French Renaissance châteaux: Chenonceau, the exterior staircase from Blois, and Azay-le-Rideau. The total cost was six million dollars. Schwab's former employer Andrew Carnegie, whose own mansion on upper Fifth Avenue later became the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, once remarked, Have you seen that place of Charley's? It makes mine look like a shack. Schwab was a self-made man who became president of U.S. Steel and later founded Bethlehem Steel Company. Schwab built Riverside after leaving Bethlehem, Pennsylvania for New York. The large property was available because it formed half the site of the former New York Orphan Asylum, one of several charitable institutions in the former Bloomingdale district that gave way to large projects, such as the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and Columbia University's campus on Morningside Heights. The Ansonia Hotel now occupies the orphans' Broadway frontage. The financier Jacob Schiff had bought the parcel, but— ominously for the social future of the Upper West Side— Mrs. Schiff refused to move to the wrong side of Central Park. Schwab was a risk-taker and later went bankrupt in the Stock market crash of 1929. He died comparatively penniless ten years later in 1939, bequeathing the forlorn 'Riverside to the City as a suitably ostentatious official residence for the mayors of New York. It is probable that former mayor Jimmie Walker would have moved into the residence, but, unfortunately for the mansion, Fiorello La Guardia, then the mayor, was reform-minded and turned it down, saying What, me in that? La Guardia's rejection of the mansion sealed its fate, and during World War II, a Victory garden was planted in its once-landscaped grounds. It was later razed and replaced by a comparatively drab brick luxury apartment block, called Schwab House.