The Otto Kahn Mansion
“In its grand scale, distinguished design and superb construction, the Otto Kahn House is the finest Italian Renaissance style mansion in New York.”
– The Landmarks Commission
Otto Kahn and Adelaide Wolff were married on January 8, 1896. Commissioning renowned architects C.P.H. Gilbert and J. Armstrong Stenhouse to build their private home, they asked that no expense be spared. “It’s a sin to keep money idle….” said Kahn, and so in 1918 their home became one of the largest private houses ever built in Manhattan.
Great simplicity and dignity characterize the exterior which was made of French limestone, imported from St. Quentin. The pilasters decorating the second floor exterior illustrate the beauty implicit in Italian sixteenth century architecture. The interior stair, halls, and entrance are made of caen stone and are done with great care and perspective. The building is modeled after the Papal Chancellery in Rome.
Mr. Kahn was a noted patron of the arts, especially of music, architecture and painting. He frequently invited the public to his home for concerts and exhibitions of his treasures. Otto Kahn had his own music room designed with an Adam’s ceiling, made to enable sound to circulate throughout the room effortlessly. Musicians entertained by Otto Kahn include the likes of George Gershwin and Enrico Caruso.
The Convent of the Sacred Heart purchased the mansion in 1934, shortly after Mr. Kahn’s death. Today it is home of Sacred Heart’s upper and middle school.
The James Burden Mansion
“The finest Beaux Art townhouse in the city” (Landmarks Preservation Commission)
7 East 91st Street was commissioned in 1901 by William Sloane upon the marriage of his daughter Adele to the steele manufacturer James Burden. Designed by Warren and Wetmore, the architects of Grand Central Station, this mansion was designated a historic site in 1974.
A unique design positions the ballroom on the third floor, rather than the traditional first or second floor location. To reach the top, a rotunda showcases the beginning of the grand spiral staircase made of Hauteville marble. The ceiling above reveals a wonderful mural by French Artist Hector d’Espouy surrounding a Tiffany stained-glass skylight.
Adele was known to throw lavish parties in the grandeur of her French inspired rooms. The formal banquet hall has walls made of Campan vert marble and a detailed ceiling depicting floral arrangements. To this day, a painting of an old, Italian garden by Bonanno sits twelve feet tall on the Northern wall.
Modeled after the Galeries des Glaces of Versailles, twelve foot high doors paneled with oblong mirrors surround these ballrooms. Some notable guests to grace these rooms include Mark Twain and Giacomo Puccini.
The Convent of the Sacred Heart purchased the house in 1940, shortly after Mr. Burden’s death. Today, it is the home of Sacred Heart’s lower school.