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Suburban setback in Manhattan

Walking towards Park Avenue on 38th Street, I saw the change in the streetscape before I reached the source.  On an overcast day, the bright, airiness conveyed by a gap in the building line was very noticeable. 152 East 38th Street has a generous setback, a gorgeous pair of gates, and a handsome three-story Federal Revival brick house.  The area was originally part of an estate belonging to a member of President Martin Van Buren's family, wrote Christopher Gray of the New York Times. The house was completed in 1857 by contractor and owner Patrick McCafferty.  Its 60 foot setback was unusual for a house of that period.  The house was landmarked in 1989 by the New York Landmarks Preservation Foundation.  A history of the house's owners and occupants can be read at Daytonian in Manhattan.


  1. Amazing find. Our Landmarks: NY mobile app shows another landmarked building right across the street: the Bowdoin Stables (and several others nearby). Here's a screenshot of a map of the two sites ( plus a detailed view of the Stables ( and 152 E 38th (

  2. sromalewski, I did notice the building across the street and wondered about its history. Thank you for sharing the information.

  3. The history of that building can also be found in Daytonian In Manhattan:

  4. Tom: It seems fitting that the Bowdoin stable eventually housed a fox terrier breeding business given the sculpted bulldog head on the facade. By the way, I enjoy reading your history blog.


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