Audubon Park Historic District Walking Tour
Architectural Rendering: Riviera
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Architect William L. Rouse...has just been commissioned to prepare plans and specifications for the immediate erection of one of the largest elevator apartment houses so erected on Riverside Drive north of 125th Street.  The structure will face on the east side of Riverside Drive, covering the entire block between 156th and 157th Streets...Excavating is to be started at once, and it is the aim of the owners to have the building completed and ready for occupancy by October, 1910. 
                        Record and Guide
June 5, 1909

The situation is particularly attractive, being right at the curve at the end of the present Riverside Drive extension and which, when continued northward, will turn into the old Lafayette Boulevard at 158th Street...There will be only two larger apartments in the city, the Belnord and the Apthorpe.
New York Times
May 22, 1910

One of the most imposing buildings constructed on the river front, the Riviera, has just been completed, occupying the entire block on the Drive overlooking the Hudson between 156th and 157th Streets...The apartments of 9 and 10 rooms have three baths, while smaller suites are supplied with two baths, and the latest improvements
New York Times
March 26, 1911
Riviera  (790 Riverside Drive)
At the corner of 157th and Riverside Drive, you come to the front entrance of the Riviera, one of the queens of Audubon Park. At thirteen stories and with five wings, this majestic building rules the entire Riverside frontage between 156th and 157th Streets. It sits on the grounds of the Hemlocks, the mansion where the Grinnells lived from the early 1860s until 1910. Though all of the early apartments in Audubon Park are named, the Riviera has its name permanently inscribed in the frieze above the 157th Street doorway.

Designed by Rouse and Goldstone, the Riviera cost $1,700,000 when it was completed in 1911, significantly more than any other building in Audubon Park.  Balconies at the fourth and ninth floors and a cornice at the fourth and eleventh floors momentarily interrupt a brick façade with corner stone section that rises above the three-story limestone base to the eleventh floor.  Magnificent Venetian windows embellish the top floor. A tiled courtyard on Riverside Drive leads to a second entry and a third, less-elaborate entry is on 156th Street.

As early as June 1909, the Record and Guide reported that Rouse and Gold were beginning work on plans and specifications and anticipated that it would be ready by the 1910 renting season. That estimate was off by almost a year. The delay, however, only added to the extensive media coverage that preceded the Riviera’s opening. Advertisements for the new apartment building began appearing in the New York Times and New York Herald in late winter, 1911, one offering a new completion date of May 1, 1911. In addition to the expected amenities, the Riviera would offer “clothes dryers and outlets for small electric stoves or heating irons in every kitchen.” Emphasizing selling-points that had drawn New Yorkers to Audubon Park for decades, the advertisements also highlighted the altitude, views of the river, and fresh air.  Because of the Riviera’s design, with courtyards breaking the façade into five wings, the builders could declare “every room an outside room.”

In 1938, a New York Times article reported that Wood, Dolson Company, which had been managing the Riviera for a decade, was overseeing alterations to two wings of the building. "Fifty-two apartment of seven, eight and nine rooms are being replaced by ninety-two suites of two, three, four and six rooms." 

After you examine the Riviera, turn right and start walking towards the front entrance of the Grinnell, Audubon Park’s other reigning queen.

The Riviera: 790 Riverside Drive
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Riviera Advertisement
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September 10, 1911: Advertisement for Riviera Apartments
Continue your walk . . .
Funded by the Audubon Park Alliance