THE Landmark now known as Colonnade Row is like a shabby old antique that someone sawed in half and left out in the rain for the garbage truck. But the Sanitation Department does not pick up anything so large as the houses at 428, 430, 432 and 434 Lafayette Street, built in 1833 to make one of the noblest vistas in the city. The current owner of Nos. 428 and 430 says he plans to clean and restore the buildings, but it is not clear if that will really happen — which might be just as well.
Seth Geer, a contractor from Albany, built the nine houses at 418-434 Lafayette Place, the former name, as something far beyond the typical speculative row house group. Each 26-room house was 27 feet wide, with central heating, hot and cold running water, a bathing room and an indoor toilet. According to research by Regina Kellerman, an architectural historian, Mr. Geer also won city permission for 15-foot-deep front yards, which was granted because the Common Council said the houses “will be highly ornamental to our city.