Another Adam-inspired townhouse, considered by
many to be Schmidt's best New York building, the Astor house stands next to the
similarly composed Dillon-Bigelow house at No. 124 East 80th Street.
One is constructed in French Roche limestone, the other in handmade brick.
Together they can be seen as variations on themes found in Adam's Society for
the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in the Adelphi, of 1772.
Schmidt's design is distinctive among townhouses of its time for its gravity
and classical rigor. Other architects building in austere, stripped classical
modes, such as Walker & Gillette, Delano & Aldrich, and Cross &
Cross, were more inclined to stray from canonical proportions in their search
for modern variants on Georgian, Regency, or French styles.
Vincent Astor (born 1891) was one of the most important real estate men and architectural patrons of his day. He was the only son of John Jacob and Ava Willing Astor, scion of one of America's great fortunes. This was merely one of his many residences, as Schmidt was one of a number of architects he favored. The interiors of the house, unfortunately dissipated during several re-uses of the building, were eclectic--a mix of eighteenth-century English, French and American sources. It is currently used as the headquarters of the Junior League of New York.
New York Times / Streetscapes: 4 Mansions That Made Up a Multimillionaires' Row
Wikipedia: East 80th Street Houses
Daytonian in Manhattan: The Vincent Astor House