Near the beginning of 1913 a truly modern apartment building opened for business on Broadway across the street from Isham Park.
Located at 5,000 Broadway, Grenville Hall was, at the time, the largest elevator building in northern Manhattan.
Designed by architect George F. Pelham, the apartment house was built to accommodate eighty-four families.
With a striking façade, modern amenities, which included steam heat, electric lighting and refrigerators, nearly every apartment was rented before the project was even completed.
Pelham, a highly respected architect, designed at least seventy Manhattan apartment and office buildings in a career that spanned from the 1890’s through the 1930’s.
The son of architect George Brown Pelham, the younger Pelham’s other projects included the Central Hanover Bank and Trust Company Building (currently the site of JP Morgan Chase), the Chalfonte Hotel on 200 West 70th Street (still standing as a rental building), as well as the Beaux Arts masterpiece “The Riverdale,” located at 67 Riverside Drive on the upper west side.
Locally, Pelham would win an honorable mention award from the American Institute of Architects in 1915 for his work on 682 Academy Street: “A brick building selected for its straightforward and sensible use of inexpensive materials.”
Pelham’s son, George F. Pelham Jr., would carry on the family tradition, erecting such local landmarks as Castle Village and Hudson View Gardens.
What follows is a 1913 description of 5,000 Broadway—likely the easiest address to remember in all Manhattan.
New York Herald
March 30, 1913
Grenville Hall Marks the Progress of House Numbering in Broadway Up to “5,000.”
“An enviable address is that of Grenville Hall, which is known by the street number 5,000 Broadway, a designation it would seem improbable even old King Cole himself in his jolliest mood ever could have forgotten en route, to his haven, perhaps sans purse, sans watch, sans everything else except his unalterable good humor.
Only a few years have elapsed since No. 5,000 Broadway as the designated street number of a new and modern elevator apartment house was little more than an almost incredible dream of the future improvement of the Dyckman tract, for it is on this north Manhattan table land that Grenville Hall is situated, at the northeast corner of 212th Street. George F. Pelham was the architect of the structure, which was erected by the Hazel Real Estate Company, M. Just, president, and G. Hensle, treasurer.
Located almost directly opposite the new Isham Park and within ten minutes’ walk of Van Cortlandt Park and the New York Zoological Park and Botanical Gardens, in the Bronx—also Fort Washington Park, Riverside Drive and the Hudson River, in Manhattan—the new apartments are within easy access of the subway express station at 215th street and Broadway and the Amsterdam avenue surface cars. The 207th street cross-town car line, three blocks to the south, connects with all the local Bronx and Westchester lines. From 212th street to City Hall is forty minutes by subway express service.
The most important provisions made by the builders for comfort of tenants include private letter boxes and a mail chute; also tiled bathrooms with shower baths; a Kewanee steam heating plant, Larsen’s insulated refrigerators, a noiseless electric elevator, local and long distance telephone service in each apartment, garbage closets, “jimmy-proof” dumb waiters and entrance door locks, spacious closet room and uniformed hall attendants. Electric light is furnished under a special arrangement with the owners whereby the tenants receive a discount of ten per cent below the rate usually paid.
Apartments in Grenville Hall are arranged are arranged in suites of two and three rooms with a kitchenette and bath; also three, four and five rooms, exclusive of bath. The property is under ownership management.