Wherefore art thou Romeo? (Thursday Doors)

Juliet
balconies they call
them—as if,
at twilight,
two voices linger on a
midsummer night’s dream

247, 248, and 249 Central Park West have a number of Juliet balconies, as the NYC real estate market has labeled any small terrace outside an upper floor window or door on which you can stand. Once there were 6 brownstones on the block between 84th and 85th street.

The entrance to 247 is the simplest. The original six homes were designed in the late 1800s by architect Edward Angell in a variety of styles, each with its own facade. When builder Sam Minskoff proposed demolishing all six in 1925 to build a two-tower apartment building, the owner of 247, architect W. Gedney Beatty, refused to sell. This saved not only his house, but 248 and 249 as well. They were landmarked in 1988, and so can not be demolished for any future development.

248 has a variety of stonework that includes owls on the side and what appear to be griffins over the door. Each side of the door surround is different. This house sold for $26 million in 2022–it has a lap pool, a landscaped rooftop garden, and 4 Juliet balconies.

The front gate is also quite beautiful.

249, the corner house, was divided into apartments in 1957. A lot of the facade ornamentation was removed and the house was painted white. After the Landmarks designation, because of building violations, the owner was forced to strip off the paint and restore the masonry. I wonder if the door guardian in the triangle is a restoration, or remained to be uncovered at that time. I remember the building being worked on for many months.

249 sold for 17.5 million in 2013 and again spent many years being renovated and turned back into a single home.

It too has a lovely front gate.

And beautiful ironwork on the side entrance.

Edward Angell designed many homes on the Upper West Side, and I hope to visit and photograph more of them.

My poem was written for Ingrid at dVerse, who proposed a celebration of Shakespeare. What better than a Juliet balcony?

And, as always, find more doors with host Dan Antion, here.

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About memadtwo

For more madness, follow me on Instagram @h_zimel methodtwomadness is a blog of two friends, Nina and Kerfe kblog is Kerfe's solo branch on the tree

35 responses to “Wherefore art thou Romeo? (Thursday Doors)”

  1. merrildsmith says :

    Your poem is perfect! And such beautiful doorways and gate.

    I wonder when the term “Juliet balcony” was coined? You probably know this, but balcony does not actually appear in the play, and they did not exist in Shakespearean England.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dan Antion says :

    I am so glad W. Gedney Beatty refused to sell his building. As an architect, I guess he understood better than anyone the importance of preserving the history of the neighborhood. I am glad they have been preserved and are now protected. I also really like your poem!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ben Alexander says :

    So lovely, Kerfe 💟

    You make me miss NYC

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Suzette Benjamin says :

    Beautiful poem. I love all the interesting detail you provided with these lovely photos. An enjoyable post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ingrid says :

    Juliet balconies – how lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. poetrybydebi says :

    Glorious pictures and love learning a new thing or two along the read.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Claudia McGill says :

    The Juliet balcony seems to me to be a fancier cousin of the dust porch! I like them both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • memadtwo says :

      Thanks Claudia. I looked up the origin after Merril’s observation, and the originals were just decorative barriers so you wouldn’t fall out when you opened the French doors to the window. Gradually a little “porch” was added. Either way, it’s a good way to bring the outside in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Claudia McGill says :

        That’s interesting to know. I’ve seen a lot of Juliet balconies, then, and did not know it, as it seems apartment buildings being built here now often include this feature (I guess cheaper than a real balcony. I lived in a house with a dust porch at one time and enjoyed the convenience, of course, plus, it was fun to step out on it (that is all the room there was, just to stand) as you passed by.and get a bit of fresh air

        Liked by 1 person

        • memadtwo says :

          I think fresh air is the main intent actually. In the city one might end up with visiting pigeons though. I did have one come in an open window once. It was not easy getting it back out again.

          Like

  8. robertawrites235681907 says :

    Hi Kerfe, Juliette balconies is a lovely name and these houses are beautiful. Such a good thing they were saved. I never understand people’s eagerness to destroy beautiful buildings and replace them with ugly functional ones – of course, it is all about money.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. leah de la cruz says :

    that first gate is lovely! oh to live in New York City ~

    Liked by 1 person

  10. boundlessblessingsblog says :

    Awesome poem, Marta and what interesting historical wonders. I loved the name Juliet doors too. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. D. Wallace Peach says :

    So beautiful, Kerfe. I’m glad they were landmarked and will be preserved for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. slfinnell says :

    I would’ve like to met Mr. Minskoff to shake his hand. 🙂 Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Jill Kuhn says :

    Wow! Such stately buildings! They are beautiful, each one a masterpiece… I wonder what the people who live there are like. I cannot imagine living in such an expensive place.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. judeitakali says :

    a feast for the eyes. I’m jealous.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Manja Maksimovič says :

    Oh my, what a most excellent collection. Please do inform if #248 is ever on sale. The door is okay, the gate is wonderful, but it’s the walls that are extraordinary!! Maybe if all door lovers of the world chip in we can buy it. 😀 And Juliet balconies is the best expression, and your poem is lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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