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Northern Dispensary

On one of the most unique corners in NYC sits one of the most mysterious buildings, previously owned by one of the most eccentric real estate investors: the Northern Dispensary, a triangular Georgian brick building, unoccupied since 1998. Click here for more photos. It is remarkable for having been continuously operated since 1827 as a public clinic – Edgar Allen Poe was treated here at no charge for a cold in 1837. It is also unique in that it has one side on two streets (Grove meets Christopher) and two sides on streets with the same name, where Waverly meets Waverly.

The previous owner, William Gottlieb, drove a beat-up station wagon with broken windows, yet after his death in 1999, his collection of properties was found to have a value of between 100-300 million dollars. He was notorious for acquiring properties and doing nothing with them; his sister, Mollie Bender, continues the Gottlieb tradition, with no apparent plans for the building. A private deed placed on the building stated that the property had to be used to provide medical care to the “worthy poor.” However, since the deed is private, it is not clear whether or not it could be enforced. So its future is very unclear as the building stands eerily empty…

8 Responses to Northern Dispensary

  1. How can two streets with the same name intersect with each other? Only in New York.

    PS–I’ve just discovered this site through the Paris Daily Photo link (so many cities, so little time). Being a NYC resident, I like getting background info on familiar sights that usually remain superficial images as I walk by. So thanks also for the daily research.

  2. Le village est plein d’endroit charger d’histoire comme ce dispensaire. Merci pour cette ballade dans le village ou j’adore me perdre.
    voir Dessin annee 1840-1870

  3. Great story. I love it.

  4. Looking at the image, I couldn’t figure out how a building could have one side facing two streets. I located the satellite image on googles maps. Sure enough; one side faces Grove & Christopher Streets.

  5. what an interesting shape for a building – the inside must be even more impressive!

  6. > Edgar Allen Poe was treated here at no charge for a cold in 1937.

    Are you sure about that? Poe died on October 7, 1849, so I can't imagine that the cold treatment did him any good.

    Blather From Brooklyn

  7. Anonymous says:

    Funny Edgar Allen Poe died in 1849…78 years before 1937.

    I guess you meant 1837 when you wrote that he was treated at the Northern Dispensary!

  8. Brian Dubé says:

    Anonymous – Thanks fro catching the typo. The text has been corrected.

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