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Chronicles: Sniffen Court

The_Doors_-_Strange_DaysHidden amongst the high rises of Murray Hill sits a secret courtyard, unknown by even some of the streets neighbors, Sniffen Court. Nestled on E36th St between 3rd Avenue and Lexington Avenue, this courtyard was originally built by architect John Sniffen in 1850 and was used as stables for the surround townhouses. During the 1920s, when keeping horses in Manhattan wasn’t deemed such a necessity, the stables were turned into living spaces for the two legged.
Sniffen Court has been home to artists such as Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, who lived here from 1913-1937, and Malvina Hoffman (a student of Rodin’s who created the Field Museum’s Hall of Man), a resident from 1915 to 1966 who created the plaques of horsemen still in the courtyard. It has also housed The Sniffen Court Dramatic Society, an amateur theater group that performed plays in a theater located in the court and the Murray Hill Comedy Club. Doors fans may also recognized the courtyard from the cover the band’s album Strange Days.

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