The Grinnell at 100: Celebrating Community, History

In 2010 and 2011, residents of the Grinnell, a land-marked cooperative apartment house at 800 Riverside Drive in Manhattan’s Audubon Park Historic District, celebrated their building’s centennial with a year of activities including the launch of a centennial website, logo and photography competitions, and a birthday celebration for the neighborhood. Grinnell residents have now produced a book commemorating that centennial year, The Grinnell at 100: Celebrating Community, History.

Through a historical essay, numerous personal histories, biographical sketches, and 150 photographs and illustrations, the 94-page, full-color book traces a half-acre triangular block in northern New York City from primordial forest to a 21st-century co-operative apartment house.

Constructed between June 10, 1910 and July 29, 1911, the Grinnell sits on a triangular plot of land in Washington Heights where the family of George Blake Grinnell once pastured a few cows when the surrounding area was known as Audubon Park. “The Park,” a bucolic suburb that grew out of John James Audubon’s farm Minnie’s Land, remained suburban into the 20th Century, but became prime property for real estate development when the subway opened at 157th Street in November 1904. Six years later, when the extended Riverside Drive opened, its path crossing Audubon Park, the Grinnell heirs, led by eldest son George Bird Grinnell, sold their property. Developers quickly snapped it up and between 1909 and 1911 erected a group of Beaux Arts apartment houses. Noting the effects of rapid transit, newspaper commentators dubbed the two-year period Audubon Park’s “rapid transformation.”

Edited by Matthew Spady and designed by Jacqueline Thaw, featuring photographs by Charles Baum and Mo Strom, and contributions from more than 30 Grinnell residents, The Grinnell at 100 is a must-have edition for anyone with an interest in the history of New York City, Washington Heights, or the Audubon Park Historic District – and of course the book will interest Grinnell residents, friends, and admirers, past and present.

The Grinnell at 100: Celebrating Community, History, and an Architectural Gem, available at For information about discounts on purchases of multiple copies, contact [email protected].

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.

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