Volume 17, Number 46 | April 8 — 14, 2005

India House, home to Bayards restaurant, and the India House club.

India House restoration to get preservation award

India House, the swanky brownstone located at Hanover Square, recently underwent a complete overhaul of its exterior and now looks so good that it is nominated for a Landmarks Conservancy award.

The 1854 landmark, which once housed the New York Cotton Exchange and today functions as a private club and restaurant, will be recognized at the 14th annual Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards ceremony on April 12. The awards are given by the New York Landmarks Conservancy in honor of the city’s most outstanding examples of historic preservation.

“The restoration of India House was the largest brownstone restoration project in recent years – probably since the restoration of Cooper-Union eight years ago,” said Michael Woloz, a Landmarks Conservancy spokesperson.

The three-story building was restored privately by the India House Club and the Poulakakos family, which owns and operates several restaurants in the area, including Bayard’s in the building. The family ran Harry’s at Hanover Square there until it closed two years ago and also own Ulysses and Financier Patisserie, which are also in the Stone Street Historic District.

The project was nominated for the award by Downtown Alliance. “We were impressed with the work they did and took it upon ourselves to submit India House for the nomination,” said Tom Nardacci, the Alliance’s spokesperson. The Alliance has also been involved with restoration work in the historic district.

This recognition for India House comes at the heels of its 150th anniversary. Originally built for the Hanover Bank, the brownstone structure was designed by architect Richard Carman – it was his interpretation of a Renaissance palazzo, the residential palaces of Italian banking families.

In 1914, the building was converted into a luncheon club, named “India House”, for local businessmen interested in foreign trade. They chose the name India House to symbolize the Indies, which were believed to epitomize the rare and exotic. The name also pays homage to the Dutch West India Company, the first colonizers of Manhattan.

Even today, the India House Club is a gathering place for businessmen in Downtown Manhattan, the club boasts. The entrance fee for the club is $800, and members, depending on their membership class, have to pay annual dues of anywhere between $245 and $1,725.

-- Divya Watal

WWW Downtown Express

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