The Paterno, 440 Riverside
Architect: Schwartz & Gross, 1910
The New York Times (8/15/99) noted that the opposing curves of the Paterno and the Colosseum, form “a gateway as impressive as any publicly built arch or plaza in New York”. One end of 116th street leads to a dramatic view of the Hudson River; the other end leads to the main gate of the Columbia campus. The Paterno at 440 Riverside Drive remains one of the only coop buildings in the neighborhood, as almost all sites are now owned by Columbia University. Home to many of the city’s most notable educational and religious institutions, Morningside Heights came to be known as the “Acropolis of the New World”.
The NYT noted that demand for the neighborhood has always been driven by “the type of people who live there. Traditionally, they have been creative people, writers, artists, actors and musicians…The Drive has always been steeped in the atmosphere of learning and intellect…High society never did come to the Drive, but intellectuals, professional men and business executives did.” (4/8/1962)
One of many Columbia professors to live at the Colosseum was Edward Said, notable advocate of the Palestinian cause in the US. Neighbors recall that Arafat used to stay with Said, and they would gather with the PLO members at a local coffee shop – tables adjacent but not touching, as negotiating was not allowed.