Between Seaman Avenue & Park Terrace West
Designed in 1924 by the architectural team of Springsteen and Goldhammer, Isham Gardens was the brainchild of builder Conrad Glaser. Glaser envisioned an uptown utopia where middle class New Yorkers could live amidst a resort like atmosphere.
And, Springsteen and Goldhammer were up to the task. They designed a romantic Italianate manor with sweeping views of Isham Park.
The consummate salesman, Glaser began a relentless advertising campaign where he espoused the clean air and vacation-like qualities of Isham Gardens.
A 1924 advertisement published in the New York Times promised a doctor, dentist, valet, barber, beauty salon and taxi stand all on premises. In a March 26, 1924 article printed in the New York Evening Post, Glaser also boasted that his 1,500 perspective tenants would also enjoy a ballroom, billiard room, roof garden and even a swimming pool.
Where Glaser intended to find room for all these amenities, which included a band-shell for hosting twice weekly concerts during the summer months, remains a mystery. Glaser’s pitch also included an observation tower so that all residents could take in the majesty of the Hudson River and the Jersey Palisades.
A Times article dated August 16, 1924 described Isham Gardens as it neared completion:
“The Isham Garden Apartments, located in the heart of Isham Park and overlooking the Hudson River and Spuyten Duyvl inlet, is nearing completion and will be ready for occupancy Oct. 1. The first unit of the project will contain 191 apartments with a total of 425 apartments ready by May 1, 1925. The entire group of buildings face along 214th Street and cover the blocks bounded by Park Terrace East, Park Terrace West, Seaman Avenue and Indian Road.
Isham Gardens is but one block from the beautiful Baker Oval, Columbia University’s athletic field, 304 feet from Spuyten Duyvil inlet, immediately adjoining the New York Park Department nurseries, several blocks from Inwood Park, which is to be enlarged by 111 acres of land the city is buying this Fall, and but three streets from Inwood’s shopping centre.
Each apartment of Isham Gardens overlooks a strip of public property. This was made possible by Conrad Glaser, owner of the project, having purchased half of the Isham estate. The Isham famly bought the land over 200 years ago and several years back presented the city with Isham Park and the balance of the land was sold to the present owner.
The apartments contain twin, three, four and five rooms with all the latest improvements. Some of the features of Isham Gardens is the radio equipment installed on the roof for the use of the tenants in hooking up their sets; a large, beautiful ballroom for social activities of the new community, four tennis and handball courts, free to the tenants and their friends, and boating on the Hudson.”
Sadly, Glaser’s utopia did not include elevator service.
An early photo of Isham Gardens shows a gatehouse/rental office and a bus offering free rides up the hill from Broadway.
And while the reality of Isham Gardens modern amenities didn’t last long, Glaser’s skills as a pitchman helped jumpstart a real estate boom in the neighborhood that continues to this day.