New York Architecture Images-Soho

72 Greene Street.


Isaac Duckworth


72 Greene Street. 




Second Empire Baroque


Cast Iron Facade


Shop Office Warehouse



Originally a warehouse belonging to the dry goods dealer Gardner Colby Company, this impressive structure was known as the "King of Greene Street." Its ornate, three-dimensional facade is considered the finest example of the French Renaissance and Second Empire style in the entire district.

Although composed of two separate buildings, the structure is united by a projecting bay that forms a portico at the ground and rises to a pediment at the roof. At each floor, variegated freestanding columns support the protruding cornices of a central porch. Additional classically-inspired ornamental details are incorporated into the facade. A cartouche bearing the owner's initials is a tribute to Gardner's self-made financial success.

The building at 72 Greene Street, long known as the "King of Greene Street", is looking more regal these days in its fresh coat of ivory paint. Architect Isaac F. Duckworth designed it in 1872. Described as the most complex three-dimensional structure in SoHo, the building is five stories high and 10 bays wide. Rising from the sidewalk to the roof, the two center bays project forward slightly and are defined by free–standing sturdy columns enriched with fluted bases and composite capitals, In contrast, the side bays have austere flat pilasters. At the roof, the center bay has a protruding pediment supported by heavy brackets. The two doorways are unified by an imposing portico under a broken pediment with an urn.

"The King" was built for Gardner Colby to house his enormously successful dry goods business. He endowed the college that bears his name in his hometown of Waterville, Maine.

Like many other SoHo structures, this building endured hard times during the Great Depression of the 1930s. It suffered from a lack of maintenance and was marred by broken windows and rust. Two fire escapes were added to the facade because of city regulations.

For the last fourteen years, the M-13 Gallery, which sells contemporary paintings, has occupied the entire second floor. Alice's Antiques, specializing in ornate cast iron beds, has occupied the south portion of the ground floor for five years and Bennis Fabrics the north section.