50 years ago, NYC lost one of its grandest mansions

Its destruction led in part to the creation of NYC's landmarks law

The Brakow Mansion
The Brakow Mansion

The Brokaw Mansion once dominated the corner of 79th and Fifth. But exactly 50 years ago, the splendid home met a wrecking ball.

Built by Isaac Vail Brokaw, a clothing merchant, the turreted home was modeled after a 16th-century Loire Valley chateau, according to Curbed.

Completed in 1890, the home was one of many Gilded Age mansions that once lined Fifth Avenue – nicknamed Millionaire’s Row at the time.


Isaac’s son, George Brokaw, inherited the mansion and sold it to the Institute of Radio Engineers, which used it as office space. The building was then sold to a real estate developer, who promptly demolished it to build a high-rise apartment building in 1964.

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The outcry over the mansion, which coninciede with demolition of Penn Station, resulted in New York City’s landmarks law.

The site today

The site today

[Curbed]Christopher Cameron