Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue, New York
The re-opening of the elegant Veterans’ Room marks a milestone in the dramatic reclamation of the Park Avenue Armory. The 1861 Armory was built by the National Guard’s Seventh Regiment. Called the “Silk Stocking” regiment, it included prominent New Yorkers such as Vanderbilts, Van Rensselaers, Roosevelts, Livingstons and Harrimans. Built as a military facility and social club, the Armory’s reception rooms were designed by well-known artisans and architects.
Following work on the façade, Drill Hall, and other period rooms, this Award recognizes the totality of this effort and the leadership of Rebecca Robertson and the Thompson family, who carry on the legacy of the late Wade Thompson. Once nearly given up, the Armory is now a revitalized programming and arts space, while still housing a women’s shelter.
The latest revelation is the Veterans’ Room. Tiffany Associated Artists and Stanford White designed the room in 1881. Decorative elements recall the age of chivalry with references to Celtic, Moorish, and Japanese motifs. Heavy iron light fixtures and chainmail decorations are counterbalanced by the glow of turquoise Tiffany tiles at the fireplace, and magnificent leaded-glass window screens. Earlier detrimental interventions have been replaced with treatments that respect the original design intent but recognize the contemporary nature of the room, which has been transformed into a state-of-the-art performance/recital space.