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Once a home to the Vanderbilt family, this building was one of the last great Gilded Age mansions and sadly fell prey to skyscrapers. It was nicknamed “The Triple Palace” and housed generations of the well-heeled railroading family. Often, grand parties were thrown with the city’s best and brightest. Fancy a guess as to what is there now?
Purveyor of girlish essentials, velour tracksuits and all things pink, Juicy Couture now occupies the Vanderbilt lot. Sure, it’s a bit of a different vibe but there’s still a grand staircase and plenty of excess.
Another Vanderbilt Mansion
Traveling up a bit, we have another home of the Vanderbilt family. Built for Cornelius Vanderbilt II, it was also famous for hosting some of the city’s most distinguished residents. Pretty fancy, huh? You don’t see many places like this in the city anymore...actually, you don’t see any.
Bergdorf Goodman
Well, if there was any store suited to stand in the place of this mansion, Bergdorf Goodman is it. That’s right, Bergdorf Goodman, arguably the most famous department store in the world, nay, the universe, rose from the ashes of this stately home...and it still attracts some of the city’s most distinguished citizens.
Uptown French
Moseying down a bit, we find a French Neo-Renaissance style building on the corner. Note the mansard roof— very characteristic of Parisian streets—and the ornate dormer windows. You can see in the distance that slowly but surely, its neighbors were starting to edge it out. Keep in mind, it’s French...any guesses? Bueller?
Louis Vuitton
In the wake of this traditional French structure comes an undeniably new building—the ultra-modern and sleek Louis Vuitton flagship. We think the architects of the original structure would rest easy knowing that some of France’s finest art is still displayed there.
Midtown Jewel
We weren’t able to track down exactly what this building was—it could’ve been another Fifth Ave. mansion, a bank or private club. Regardless, it’s no longer there...anybody fancy a guess as to what it is now? Sometimes people have breakfast there.
Tiffany & Co.
Yes, only a few people ever actually eat breakfast there, but the rest of the time they buy diamonds. Say hello to Tiffany & Co., home of the little blue box.
The Kids Love It
Here we have a nice little Neo-Renaissance number—check the Corinthian columns, the arches and dentals on the roofline. You can see on the right that this building didn’t have much time before industry crept up. As time wore on and the streets filled with cars, it became harder and harder to maintain the once white facades. Such a shame.
Abercrombie & Fitch
Can you smell that? It’s the undeniable scent of Abercrombie & Fitch wafting down fifth avenue. Can you see that? It’s the ever-present line of tourists waiting outside. This corner is now home to everybody’s teen-favorite, which is situated in the ground floor of what is now and office building.
Most Changed Since the 1890's
This site would win the “Most Changed Since the 1890s” award. As it stood back then, it was St. Luke’s hospital, founded by William August Muhlenberg (shout-out to my alma mater, Muhlenberg College) and had extensive grounds. In 1896, the hospital moved uptown to 114th Street and several buildings have stood in it’s place since then.
Diesel
Of course if you walk up to 54th st. and 5th avenue now, you’ll be greeted by your friendly neighborhood Diesel store. Jeans, anyone?
Yet Another Vanderbilt Mansion
One last Vanderbilt home to visit on ye olde Fifth Avenue, this one perhaps the most famous of all. Although the other two had there share of parties, this was the residence of Alva Vanderbilt, one of the most famous socilaites ever. Her life wasn’t just about parties though, she was a major player in women’s suffrage, fiercely opinionated and smart as a whip. Still, her costume parties were pretty riotous.
Zara, Hollister and Uniqlo
Taking the place of this once proud mansion is the 666 building. Home to Hollister, an almost built Zara and an almost built Uniqlo. They may not host the same kinds of parties that Alva Vanderbilt was known for, but we assure you they still draw the crowds.