33 Riverside Drive is probably best known for its most famous former residents George and Ira Gershwin. The musical brothers occupied adjoining penthouses during the late 1920’s, where they threw parties that were the talk of the town. An oft-quoted account from Ethel Merman relays that the young stenographer and soon-to be star wasn’t sure what to be more excited about when she was invited to 33 Riverside Drive – the chance to audition for a part in a Broadway show by the Gershwins, or getting to see the famed penthouse!
Yet the musical associations attached to the northeast corner of Riverside Drive and West 75th Street stretch back further than the Gershwin’s residence 33 Riverside Drive. Sergei Rachmaninoff, the Russian composer and pianist, occupied a “five-story dwelling” at 33 Riverside Drive during the early 1920’s that played host to a wide variety of musical luminaries and became a home-away-from home for other Russian artists, including Konstantin Stanislavsky and his Moscow Art Theatre during their visit to the City in 1922-23. In fact, it was Rachmaninoff’s decision to sell his home in 1925 that made way for the construction of the apartment building that would become home to the Gershwins, who also happened to have Russian roots…
Read more in Deanna Kory’s “Architectural Histories” series on DeannaKory.com
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