The Armory was built by New York State’s prestigious Seventh Regiment of the National Guard, the first volunteer militia to respond to President Lincoln’s call for troops in 1861. Members of what was known as the “Silk Stocking” Regiment included New York’s most prominent Gilded Age Families including the Vanderbilts, Van Rensselaers, Roosevelts, Stewarts, Livingstons and Harrimans. Built as both a military facility and a social club, the reception rooms on the first floor and the Company Rooms on the second floor were designed by the most prominent designers and artists of the day including Louis Comfort Tiffany, Stanford White, Herter Brothers and Pottier & Stymus. The Armory’s 55,000 square foot drill hall, reminiscent of the original Grand Central Depot and the great train sheds of Europe, remains one of the largest unobstructed spaces of its kind in New York. A marvel of engineering in its time, it was designed by Regiment veteran and architect Charles W. Clinton, later a partner of Clinton & Russell, architects of the Apthorp Apartments and the famed, now demolished, Astor Hotel.
As part of the Armory’s 2012 Malkin Lecture Series, Military Historian and Park Avenue Armory Chairman Elihu Rose presents an overview of more than 200 years of New York City military history through one hometown regiment.