Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Calling All Ansonia Buffs: Zabar Thesis Now Available Online

LANDMARK WEST! is proud to announce that LW! Board Member Lori Zabar’s much-requested master’s thesis on W. E. D. Stokes, the original developer of the Ansonia, is now available for purchase through ProQuest Dissertations & Theses. And for a limited time only, you can get this excellent resource for your library and at the same time support ongoing preservation efforts on the Upper West Side. Lori will donate to LANDMARK WEST! any proceeds she receives from ProQuest during the first year of sales. So, please, order your copy today!

To order an unbound copy of the thesis, go to, click on Maps & Building Data and then click on the Ansonia (Individual Landmark #15) where you will find the link to the publisher. Once you are on the ProQuest site, click on “Order a Copy” and then, click on “Dissertation Express.” The order number is 1436503. If for some reason the link to ProQuest is not accessible on your computer or you would like to know the options available in bound publication formats, then call 1-800-521-3042 to order by telephone or email Please be aware, as the thesis is printed by ProQuest on demand from a microfilmed master, some of the illustrations are fuzzy.

The following is a summary of the book:

William Earl Dodge Stokes: Developer of Residential Real Estate on Manhattan’s Upper West Side including the Ansonia Apartment-Hotel

William Earl Dodge Stokes (1852-1926), through his flamboyant career as a real estate developer, influenced the architectural form and urban design of Manhattan’s upper west side. This thesis traces Stokes’s activities, beginning in the 1880s, including the construction of dozens of single-family rowhouses, several tenements, and his magnum opus, the Ansonia Apartment-Hotel, completed in 1904, all built in the neighborhood of 72nd to 87th Streets between Broadway and Riverside Drive. During the last quarter of the 19th century, Stokes, in concert with other developers, transformed the west side from virtual countryside to sophisticated cityscape. The keystone of Stokes’s career was the sumptuous Beaux-arts Style Ansonia, publicized as the “most perfect” and largest apartment-hotel in the world. Although Stokes listed himself as “Architect-in-Chief,” the French architect Paul E. M. Duboy (1857-1907) drafted the plans. Stokes’s development of the legendary Ansonia, boasting the most up-to-date services and amenities, is described in detail.

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