Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Sniffen Court

A PROPERTY IN Sniffen Court coming on the market is a rare event, but two up for grabs at the same time must be a first. Like Grove Court, MacDougal Alley, or Washington Mews, this little alleyway is one of the most desirable of those little nooks and crannies that hide amidst the hurly-burly of Manhattan. Tradition holds that Sniffen Court was built as stables by one John Sniffen around the time of the Civil War, but there is no record of any Sniffen ever having owned the properties (some therefore presume he was the architect). They were converted, like many mews around the city, from stables to residences in the 1920s and all have gradually adapted and changed since then.

No. 2 Sniffen Court is currently home to clothing design firm Henry Jacobson.

Further down is No. 9 (above and below), also on the market.

No. 9 has its own rooftop terrace.

This post was published on Sunday, January 20th, 2008 6:32 pm. It has been categorised under Architecture New York.
Meg Q
21 Jan 2008 11:57 am

Who wants one? – Oh, me, me!!!

Let’s see – I think I have a million or so in pocket change lying around . . .

Seriously – I used to live across 36th St and this is the most adorable little mews row. The only problem I can see is the problem all of us on E 36th St had – trucks at all hours of the day and night as that street is a feeder for the Queens-Midtown tunnel. But if one was living in one of those adorable houses, perhaps it would be bearable – it’s a great neighborhood, and Fr. Rutler is your parish priest.

21 Jan 2008 4:18 pm

I would love one of these…I used walk by the mews and peer in the gate and dream…some day..some day

Meg Q – maybe we can go 50-50 on one.


Mrs. Peperium
28 Jan 2008 11:49 am

Dear Andrew,

Your boss just sent me a most kind and gracious email. I must agree with him that you have indeed treated him in a most uncivilized manner.

Mrs. P

The Bovina Bloviator
3 Feb 2008 5:24 pm

I have many fond memories of Sniffen Court having been, some years back, a member of the Amateur Comedy Club which occupies two of the houses. I still have friends and family who are members and enjoy attending the occasional production at that club, a jewel within a jewel in Manhattan.

Fran W.
7 Feb 2008 5:14 pm


I have been reading your blogs for months now and should have told you long before now how much I have enjoyed them. I somehow stumbled across your site when doing research about New York architecture and was hooked. How pleasant to find a 23-year-old with such a fine command of the King’s English. I am in Atlanta but dearly love New York. My paternal grandparents are from Brooklyn, and I have many happy memories of visits there. I also used to travel to the city frequently on business. Unfortunately, I am now going to Cleveland and Las Vegas. Uggghhh . . .

Anyway, keep up the good work!

Fran W.

27 Oct 2008 12:40 pm

My last name was Sniffen. Intill I got married. I dont know my fathers family. Where they came from. But I found out there are alot of Sniffen’s in New York. I seen this website and thought it was pretty cool.

21 Nov 2009 10:50 pm

In response to Michele on 27 October 2008:

My last name was Sniffen. INTILL I got married. I dont know my fathers family. Where they came from. But I found out there are alot of Sniffen’s in New York. I SEEN this website and thought it was pretty cool.

Honey, I think we can all safely assume that you are NOT directly related to one of the “founding father” Sniffen’s.

George Rogers
30 Dec 2009 3:55 am

well my great grandfather was Samuel Sniffen and he raced trotters and built carriages. I believe and will try to prove that he was the person sniffen court was named after or his father also named Samuel 1812 1851 respectivly and a verbal family history that property was taken from the family by N.Y. through eminate domain. Also my grandfather was founding member of Players club and had Edwin Booth statue put there

Terry Sisk
10 Feb 2010 2:12 am

The house at the end was maintained for many years as a salon by Malvina Hoffman (1887-1966), an important American sculptress born in New York City. Flanking the door are her plaques of Greek horsemen in white on a red ground, visible in two of your photographs.

Susan Nye
28 May 2010 9:24 am

My paternal grandmother was a Sniffen”. Her name was Eugenia, born in 1896-98(?), and was one of 6 or 8 (?)children. When I was a child in the 1940’s and ’50’s she told me that her mother was a low level maid in Queen Victoria household who was “compromised” by one of the princes. She was sent to America and married a Sniffen who was an artist in what is now the Sniffen court area. My grandmother said that he used to paint the carriages and the circus wagons there until the early 1900s. Then they moved to Brooklyn.
I wish i knew if this report was true and I also want to know more about the Sniffen family. Any leads, ideas are appreciated.

Elizabeth Edwards
29 Jul 2010 11:16 pm

I love passing this place – reminds me of something out of a Harry Potter movie – love it – so glad that this has been so well preserved.

Angela Elliott
19 Aug 2010 2:27 pm

To Susan Nye
I’m in London. I’d like to help you find out if your Sniffen ancestors story is true. Can you contact me on

Marie & Florence Sniffen
20 Nov 2010 2:48 am

According to my father, his father and grandfather stabled horses in what is now known as Sniffen Court. However, the horses were truck horses used in their moving business.

Benjamin Tredwell Van Nostrand
20 Nov 2010 12:30 pm

This is a message for YOU, Cusack:
We understand your desire to live in delectable Scotland, but, while you are still in New York (which, as this old but delightful entry proves abundantly, has is its own delectations) would you please go back to giving us the occasional story about its not insignificant architectural treasures?
Brooklyn Heights for example? To be more specific, Remsen Street, on which my own magnificent mansion house stands?

K. Dontoh
20 Nov 2010 6:20 pm

I, for one, second that idea!

Penney roberts
22 Dec 2010 5:05 am

Enjoyed several visits to Isabelle bacon at no nine in the 1980’s. She was a delightful person. Made us feel we were a part of new york. What a great place!

8 Nov 2016 2:33 am

This is the scene of the cover of the Doors album “Stange Days”.

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