the central townhomes

The Elegance of Brownstone Living: Exploring Upper East Side Townhouses

The Upper East Side comprises architecture going back hundreds of years and spanning a wide variety of styles. Many of the original buildings in the area have been preserved and restored. This has allowed the Upper East Side to remain a haven of historic architecture even as the rest of the city grows taller and smaller. One particularly iconic style in the area is the 19th-century brownstones. Over the years, many of these stone-faced brick homes have evolved from single-family homes to condominiums, but they still maintain their charm. Here is a closer look at Upper East Side’s luxurious brownstone homes.

History of NYC Brownstones

Brownstone townhomes make up a significant percentage of the homes for sale in Upper East Side, with options including single-family units and condos. These homes first entered NYC in the early 19th century and were, for a long time, associated with the growing middle class.

Early brownstones were built with sandstone sourced from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The material was considered beautiful and cheaper than limestone and marble. Despite this, the upper class shunned brownstones until the mid-19th century. The Romantic Movement had just set in, and part of its features was a leaning toward darker materials.

Due to the newfound interest of the affluent NYC community and improvements in mining, stylish brownstones became a staple. By 1860, many considered it the best architectural style for a home. Many of the brownstones built during this era remain today and can be found throughout NYC.

Features of Brownstone Homes

Brownstones are constructions built from brown Triassic-Jurassic sandstone. Typically, these homes are three to four stories high and attached in a city row with the primary street facades covered in sandstone. Earlier brownstones were built from brick, with only the façade being brownstone. However, the more luxurious iterations of the mid-19th century were made entirely of sandstone.

Upper East Side brownstones are almost always row houses – attached homes that immediately adjoin the next building. The idea during construction was to create a uniform street façade. For homes built with brick, the sandstone was attached to the structure with metal ties, like veneers.

Common features of brownstones include upper flows faced with stone or brick and stoops, lintels, door surrounds, and window sills made of sandstone. The stoop is one of the brownstone’s most distinctive features. According to some historians, stoops were intended to keep the homeowners above the smells, sounds, and daily sights of the NYC streets.

Brownstone Vs. Townhouse

Brownstone and townhouses are often used interchangeably in Upper East Side real estate. But while they are connected, they refer to two different homes. Brownstones are a type of townhouse built from sandstone in colors ranging from brown to red. Townhouses, on the other hand, are row houses – properties attached on a street. A townhouse can be built of any material. Essentially, all brownstones are townhouses, but not all townhouses are brownstones.

Discuss Brownstones for Sale with a NYC Realtor

Living in Upper East Side is an excellent way to experience NYC architecture at its best. If you love a good brownstone, you will find many options in this area of the city. Most of these properties have been preserved and remodeled, and they maintain strong traces of their rich history. You can also find a condo or single-unit home, depending on your tastes and budget. Call the Kelly Robinson Team, one of the country’s best NYC Real estate teams, to learn more.