When it comes to architectural survivors amid Manhattan’s eternal churn of destruction and redevelopment, it is hard to top the 211-year-old, four-story brick landmark at 67 Greenwich Street in the financial district. Originally the townhouse of the merchant Robert Dickey, the decorous Federal-style dwelling was built in 1810 near the island’s southern tip, when nearby wharves bustled with trade and lower Greenwich Street was among the city’s poshest addresses.
In the two centuries since, as Lower Manhattan came to be defined not by forests of ship’s masts but by forests of skyscrapers, the house has weathered an astonishing amount of upheaval. The disruption it has survived includes a neighborhood-ravaging fire, a street-widening project that claimed its rear stable, the construction and deconstruction of elevated railways running past both its front and back doors, the digging of subway tunnels on either side of its foundation, the wholesale razing of neighboring post-Revolutionary War houses for the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel and, finally, the 9/11 attacks a few blocks north.
Now the Greenwich Street and Trinity Place facades of the long-deteriorating house have been handsomely restored by its owner, Trinity Place Holdings, the real estate outfit that emerged from the 2011 bankruptcy of the Syms discount clothing chain. The entirely rebuilt interior of the Dickey House will become part of a new home for Public School 150, which will also occupy most of the bottom eight floors of a new 42-story condominium next door at 77 Greenwich Street, where a bunkerlike Syms store previously stood.
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