About The Dorilton, 171 West 71st Street
Although the Dorilton has not always been one of the city's most prestigious residential addresses, it is one of the most spectacular architecturally.
It is flamboyant, exuberant, and romantic.
Its boasts the most attractive entrance gate in the city, one that surpasses that of the Frick Collection on Fifth Avenue. Two putti gracefully surmount a very substantial entranceway flanked by very ornate cast-iron fences all joined by globe-topped columns. The sidestreet entrance is particularly impressive because it leads into a courtyard "light-well" that is bridged at the ninth story by an arch.
The building's Beaux-Arts, Parisian grandeur abounds: there are balustraded continuous balconies at the fourth and tenth floors; there are marvelous sculptures supporting other balconies; the limestone base is finely banded, the three-story, copper and slate mansard roofs, that once contained artists' studios, have chateau-style chimneys and pointed roofline accents.
Of course, to some the building's strong personality was a bit much. In his book, "Historic Manhattan Apartment Houses," (Dover Publications, Inc., 1996), Andrew Alpern illustrates the building on his cover and remarks on the building's "overblown ostentation," quoting a cynical review by famed critic Montgomery Schuyler in Architectural Record shortly after the building was completed in 1902:
"Everything shrieks to drown out everything else," Schuyler maintained, bemoaning the "detestable spirit that reigns throughout...[and] sets the sensitive spectator's teeth on edge."
Alpern noted that Schuyler was upset at the "stone balls on the gate posts of the entrance, two feet in diameter, left there for titans to roll at ten pins."