RPJ’s New York: The 69th Regiment Armory

RPJ’s New York: The 69th Regiment Armory
August 9, 2018 RPJ Law

August 9, 2018

This is the latest in a series of non-legal articles on the city we work in and love.

Looking down from the east-facing offices of RPJ, one can see the distinctively arched roof of one of our more interesting neighbors: the 69th Regiment Armory. A home for the “Fighting 69th” — a title supposedly bestowed on the regiment by an admiring adversary, General Robert E. Lee — the Armory was built between 1904 and 1906. The Beaux Arts building was one of several armories constructed throughout the city in order to train and house militia. It serves as a National Guard recruitment center to this day.

In 1913, the Armory was the site of the International Exhibition of Modern Art, later known as the “Armory Show.” This landmark event is recognized as the first large-scale modern art exhibition in the United States, and introduced the public to works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse and Duchamp (including the painting pictured below). Aside from its national defense function, the Armory has hosted indoor track events, New York Knicks games and Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows. It also once contained the most atmospheric indoor tennis courts in New York City, where one would walk through the military paraphernalia to play on concrete covered by rubbery carpet and lit by strings of light bulbs. The courts are now closed, but the building and its incredible history still enhance the neighborhood.

The 69th Regiment Armory at 68 Lexington Avenue

Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912) – Marcel Duchamp











Written by RPJ Partner Alice K. Jump, who practices in litigation and dispute resolution, employment, real estate and infrastructure law.