Consulate-General of Russia in New York City

Consulate-General of Russia in New York City
Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in New York City
Генеральное консульство Российской Федерации в Нью-Йорке
Location New York City, New York, United States
Address 9 East 91st Street
Ambassador Sergey Viktorovich Garmonin

The Consulate-General of Russia in New York City is the diplomatic mission of the Russian Federation in New York City. The consulate is located at 9 East 91st Street in New York City in a building that was the former John Henry Hammond House.


History of Hammond House

The purchase of land between 90th and 91st Streets fronting on Fifth Avenue by Andrew Carnegie, and the 1901 building of his mansion (which now houses the Cooper-Hewitt Museum), saw Carnegie purchasing neighbouring building lots in order to protect his investment. The entire north side of 91st Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues was purchased by Carnegie.[1]

Carnegie sold off lots to individuals who agreed to build substantial dwellings, and in 1903 a home was built at 9 East 91st Street by John H. Hammond, a New York City banker. The land, and possibly the house, was a wedding gift to Hammond and his wife, Emily Vanderbilt Sloane, from Sloane's father, William J. Sloane of W. & J. Sloane.[1]

The five-story Renaissance style limestone town house was designed by Carrère and Hastings, who were also responsible for the design of the New York Public Library,[1][2] and is regarded as one of their finest residences.[3] The design of the limestone-clad building, which unusually for a Manhattan town house offers a finished side elevation as well as its street front, is strongly influenced by 16th- and 18th-century Italian palazzo details. The ground floor has pronounced banded rustication, a motif which is taken through the three floors above in the pilaster-like quoining at each corner of the building. The first floor piano nobile is evident by its large casement windows proportionately taller than those below or above. On the principal facade these aedicular windows have segmental pediments supported on the flanking Ionic columns; they are given extra prominence by the small wrought iron balconies supported by limestone corbels. The windows of the second floor clearly denote it as containing secondary accommodation, while the windows of the third and top floor are smaller still, clearly indicating a lower status than those below. The upper floor contains masonry panels and is intended to complement the enriched entablature, frieze and boldly projecting cornice immediately above it.[4]

Interior photos from the early 20th century display a "rich series of Louis XVI-style rooms with elaborate marbles, carving, tapestries and furnishings."[1] The house had two elevators and a regulation size squash court on the fifth floor, which two generations of Hammond children found ideal for roller skating.[5]

The Hammonds lived in the house with their five children and 16 staff. Rachel Hammond Breck noted that her mother's parties never went for long, mainly due to her not serving alcohol.[6] The reception rooms on the second floor - a 33 feet (10 m) by 64 feet (20 m) ballroom,[7] library and music room - routinely sat three hundred guests, at concerts often featuring Emily Vanderbilt Sloane on piano, and John Hammond, Jr. playing violin or viola. Over the 44 years that the Hammonds lived in the house, many greats of jazz played in the house, including Benny Goodman, who would later marry one of the Hammond daughters, Alice.[5][6]

The Hammonds sold the house to noted eye surgeon Ramon Castroviejo in 1946, who slightly modified the interior of the building and began to operate an eye hospital on the top two floors.[1][3] Under Castroviejo's ownership the house became noted for holding lavish parties for celebrities including British actress Hermione Gingold and Spanish Catalan operatic soprano Victoria de los Ángeles.[3] In 1974, over objections from Castroviejo, the Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the building as a landmark as part of the Carnegie Hill Historic District.[1][4][8]

The Government of the Soviet Union purchased the house from Castroviejo in August 1975 for US$1.6 million, and began renovation work on the building.[1][7] The Soviets also spent US$400,000 on the neighbouring townhouse and US$100,000 for half a driveway which was owned by the neighbouring Convent of the Sacred Heart school.[9] William Gleckman, who was responsible for renovations work on the building, noted that Mr Myshkov, the Soviet Consul-designate, admired the building as it reminded him of imperial architecture in Russia. Gleckman installed new electrical wiring, a theatre and air-conditioning.[1] The Soviets also received permission to install a large wrought-iron gate around the mansion and closed-circuit cameras to watch over the street in front of the building. A total of US$500,000 was spent on renovations before the Soviets were ordered to leave in 1980.[9]

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation returned to New York City to find the building in an advanced state of disrepair. In co-operation with Random House, the Russians, including 16 artisans from Moscow, went to work on renovating the building and fixing the many problems which existed; water had seeped from the roof, floorboards squeaked and the plumbing, furnace and elevators no longer worked.[6]

History of the consulate-general


In 1933 the United States extended diplomatic recognition to the Soviet Union, and on 21 April 1934 the Soviets opened a consulate-general in New York City at 7-9 East 61st Street.[10]

On 31 July 1948, Oksana Kasenkina, a Soviet citizen and a teacher to the children of diplomats of the Soviet mission to the United Nations, appealed to the editor of a Russian-language newspaper in New York City for refuge, and arrangements were made to take Kasenkina to Reed Farm in Valley Cottage, which was operated by the White Russian Tolstoy Foundation. Whilst at the Farm, Kasenkina wrote a letter to Soviet Consul-General Yakov Lomakin[citation needed] and on 7 August Lomakin and his forces raided the farm and took Kasenkina back to the consulate [11][12]. On 9 August, Soviet Ambassador to the United States Alexander Panyushkin presented a letter of protest to the United States Department of State, alleging that Kasenkina had been kidnapped and held against her will by members of the Tolstoy Foundation. On 11 August, Vyacheslav Molotov handed a protest note to United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union Walter Bedell Smith, in which the accusations were repeated.[13]

Following the atmosphere in which the New York City press accused the Soviets of holding Kasenkina against her will, on 11 August New York Supreme Court Justice Samuel Dickstein issued a writ of habeas corpus on Consul-General Lomakin, demanding that he present Kasenkina the following day in court. The same day a Soviet consular official stated that Lomakin would not be presenting Kasenkina, and the following morning Ambassador Panyushkin presented the State Department with a note disputing the legalities of the writ under international law. A State Department legal adviser wrote to Governor of New York Thomas E. Dewey, outlining the Soviet complaints and urged Justice Dickstein to take the case under advisement. Shortly afterwards Justice Dickstein reserved decision in the proceedings.[13]

On the day of Dickstein's decision, 12 August, the affair took a different turn when Kasenkina jumped from the third-story window of the East 61st Street consulate. Rescued by two police officers, she was brought to a hospital to be treated for injuries sustained in the fall. Kasenkina made it clear that she wanted to become an American citizen.[11]

The consulate, as well as the San Francisco consulate, was closed on 25 August 1948,[14] and on the basis of reciprocity, the Soviet Union ordered that United States consulate in Vladivostok be closed,[15] and plans for a consulate in Leningrad were shelved.[9] Whilst travelling to Gothenburg on the MS Stockholm, Lomakin stated that he would be advising Moscow against the re-establishment of consular relations with the United States.[16]


In 1974 the United States and Soviet Union came to an agreement to open consulates in cities in their respective countries; the United States in Kiev and the Soviet Union in New York City. The agreement between the two countries meant that no country could open its consulate before the other. The Soviets completed all renovations to the building within a year of purchase, however, the Americans had not completed the building of their consulate in Kiev. In 1978, whilst waiting for the Americans, the Soviets bought the adjacent building at 11 East 91st Street to utilise for housing.[1]

After the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, in January 1980 U.S. President Jimmy Carter put an immediate freeze on the consulate program,[17] by withdrawing seven consular officers from Kiev who had been sent to the Ukrainian SSR in advance of the consulate opening, and ordering the expulsion of 17 Soviet diplomats who were to be attached the Soviet consulate in New York City.[18]


The Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in New York City opened to the public on 26 October 1994, and was officially opened on 31 January 1995.[6] The Consulate covers the consular region of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.[19]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Gray, Christopher (18 March 1990). "STREETSCAPES: 9 East 91st Street; A Soviet Palazzo Off Fifth Ave.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  2. ^ "THE NEW PUBLIC LIBRARY; Carrere & Hastings's Design for a Great Building Adopted by the Trustees.". The New York Times. 12 November 1897. pp. 12. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  3. ^ a b c Reif, Rita (22 July 1975). "Soviet Seeks to Purchase Mansion for a Consulate". The New York Times. pp. 31. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  4. ^ a b "Expanded Carnegie Hill Historic District". New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. 21 December 1993. pp. 165–166. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  5. ^ a b "History". Consulate-General of the Russian Federation in New York City. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  6. ^ a b c d Moonan, Wendy (13 October 1994). "After the Revolution, A Russian Restoration". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  7. ^ a b "Purchase complete". The New York Times. 10 August 1975. pp. 207. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  8. ^ Ennis, Thomas W. (9 October 1966). "City Takes Action to Preserve Its Historic Districts". The New York Times. pp. R1. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  9. ^ a b c Maitland, Leslie (9 January 1980). "Neighbors on E. 91st Street Sorry To See Soviet Consular Aides Go". The New York Times. pp. A6. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 
  10. ^ Glinsky, Albert (2000). "Alarms, Magic Mirrors, and the Ethereal Suspension". Theremin: ether music and espionage. University of Illinois Press. pp. 158. ISBN 0252025822. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  11. ^ a b "Better Dead Than Red Oksana Kasenkina, August 1948". Daily News (New York). 10 October 2000. 
  12. ^ "Milestones, Sep. 1, 1958". Time. 1 September 1958.,9171,863765,00.html. 
  13. ^ a b Preuss, Lawrence (January 1949). "The Kasenkina Case (U.S.-U.S.S.R.)". The American Journal of International Law (American Society of International Law) 43 (1): 37–56. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  14. ^ Chamberlin, William Henry (2007). "Coannihilation?". Russia's Iron Age. Read Books. pp. 405. ISBN 1406768200. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  15. ^ Lall, Vinod K.; Khemchand, Daniel (1997). "Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities". Encyclopaedia of international law. New Delhi: Anmol Publications PVT. LTD.. pp. 48–49. ISBN 8174885773. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  16. ^ Rosenthal, A.M. (3 September 1948). "LOMAKIN, ON SHIP, TALKS OF RETURN; Announces He May Come Back to New York as Expert on U.N. Press Freedom Group". Aboard the liner Stockholm at sea: The New York Times. pp. 4. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  17. ^ Eaton, William J.; Johnston, Oswald (9 January 1980). "U.S. Bars Soviet Consulate in N.Y., Curbs Airline Flights". Los Angeles, California: L.A. Times. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  18. ^ Whitney, Craig R. (9 January 1980). "U.S., in New Reprisal Against Soviet, Delays Opening of Consulates". The New York Times. pp. A1. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  19. ^ "Consular regions". Consulate-General of Russia in New York City. Retrieved 2009-10-11. 

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