60 East 93rd Street Remembers School Days Past

October 7 2013, 5:12pm

The Marble Room at Carlton Hobbs was once used as The Lycée Français de New York’s library. A certain tranquility is felt walking through the rooms of 60 East 93rd Street today.  It is a feeling that comes rarely in the hub of the city and can only be experienced when in the presence of precious objects from eras long past.  While treasured antiques seem quite comfortable within the walls of our building, not long ago these same rooms were filled with much different and surely noisier occupants – students! Before Carlton Hobbs acquired the building at 60 East 93rd Street, it was owned by The Lycée Français de New York.  Founded in October of 1935, The Lycée Français de New York began with only twenty four students and three classes, which were held at the French Institute on 60th Street in Manhattan. The schools creator, Charles de Ferry De Fontnouvelle, was the Consul General of France in New York and wished to design an educational establishment in New York City that matched the ‘top high school’ in France. The founder of The Lycée Français de New York,  Mr. Charles de Ferry de Fontnouvelle. Image LFNY. The Lycée would follow a rigorous French curriculum and become recognized as a leading private school in New York. By the the 1970′s, the schools size had grown to over 1000 students, creating the need for an expansion. Beginning in 1958, over the course of over three decades the Lycée would acquire multiple Upper East Side townhouses to accommodate school’s growing size. The buildings, mainly constructed in the Beaux Arts style, often boasted grand entrance halls, palatial staircases and marble fireplaces. The Lycée also formally held classes in The Sloan Mansion on East 72nd Street. Image: LFNY. In 1978, the school purchased the Virginia Graham Fair Vanderbilt Mansion here at 60 East 93rd Street, where they would hold classes until 2000.  The Marble Room (Figure 1 above) was used as the ‘Bibliotheque‘; the grand ball room and the reception room were divided to make space for class rooms and locker rooms; Virgina Graham Fair Vanderbilt’s bathroom was converted to the headmasters office and laboratories were installed in the basement. Luckily, all work carried out was done without disturbing the original fabric of the building and could be removed easily.