Monday, October 24, 2005

Slavic diplomatic buildings in New York City

A number of diplomatic missions from Slavic countries occupy landmark buildings in Manhattan. From the AIA Guide to New York City:

The Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN (136 East 67 Street) did not make the cut for the AIA Guide, but the Consulate of the Russian Federation (9 and 11 East 91st Street) did.

Built in 1902-1903 as the John Henry and Emily Vanderbilt Sloane Hammond House and the John B. and Caroline Trevor House, the Soviet Union purchased the building to open a consulate in 1975.

However, when the USSR invaded Afghanistan, President Carter forbade the opening of the Consulate. The building sat vacant from 1979 until 1992, and deteriorated. After extensive rennovation it opened as the Russian Consulate in 1995 (p. 429, and STREETSCAPES: 9 East 91st Street; A Soviet Palazzo Off Fifth Ave).

The Russian Mission also maintains a diplomatic residence in the Bronx (355 West 255th Street at Mosholu Avenue). The 19-storey apartment building was constructed in 1975 (p. 611).

The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Poland to the UN (9 East 66th Street) was built in 1909-1912 as the Charles and Louise Flagg Scribner, Jr. House. The building's architect, Ernest Flagg, was also responsible for many others in the city, including the Singer Building in SoHo and the rectory of St. Mark's in the Bowery Church in the East Village as well as several buildings for Scribner (p. 395).

The Polish Consulate General (233 Madison Avenue at 37th Street) also made the guide. Built in 1905-1906 as the Joseph R. DeLamar House, the building also once housed the National Democratic Club (p. 242-243).

The Permanent Mission of Serbia and Montenegro to the UN (formerly the mission of the SFR Yugoslavia, 854 Fifth Avenue between 66th and 67th Street), was built between 1903 and 1905 as the R. Livingston and Eleanor T. Beckman House (p. 394).

Somehow, the beautiful building of the Permanent Mission of the Czech Republic to the UN (1109-1111 Madison Avenue) did not make it into the AIA Guide...hopefully the ediors will include it in the next edition. The building also houses the Consulate General and the Czech Center.

(Photos: Russian Consulate and Polish Mission, from NY Architecture Images; Czech Mission from

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