In Honor of Othmar Ammann: Architect and Immigrant
Posted on September 20, 2018

Bohemia Blog by Agent Christopher Tefft


After a long hiatus of living in Bergen County of New Jersey, I have triumphantly returned to residing in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. I know how lucky I am, to be living in the greatest city in the world (NO citation needed).

As a Senior Real Estate Agent with Bohemia Realty, I have seen with my own eyes several hundreds of apartments in Upper Manhattan. It’s literally my job. At this point, I could have seen thousands! But who’s counting? One of the very best apartments I have ever seen has unobstructed views of the Hudson River. You’ve got the river breeze, the light glistening off the water, and 180-degree views looking south toward Downtown, west toward NJ, and North at the George Washington Bridge. Talk about quality of life! How can you not be in a good mood, waking up to that?

Did I mention this was my apartment I’m talking about? Where I live? Oh yeah, I grabbed it for myself. One of the perks of being an agent!

When you’re traveling into Manhattan from ANYWHERE West of here- including from NJ where I used to live- you have limited options to choose from. You can drive through one of two underwater tunnels (with views of a concrete wall. Also, terrifying when you think about it), you can take the PATH or NJT trains (also underwater, with more breathtaking views of a concrete wall), OR you can drive over the George Washington Bridge. One of my favorite moments while driving (even if I’m behind the wheel and focused on traffic) is to steal a look at NYC from above: Cliffside cityscapes and bright blue water as far as you can see. The GWB is a major landmark of our city and can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Washington Heights and many parts of western Manhattan.

The busiest motor vehicle bridge in the world connects Upper Manhattan at 179th street to Bergen County, New Jersey. Today, the GWB serves over 108 million vehicles a year. Imagine how much commerce this brings through to Upper Manhattan and New York State at large!

About Othmar Ammann:

Our beloved bridge was designed by Architect Othmar Ammann, a Swiss immigrant. Ammann graduated from one of the most prestigious technical universities in Europe, the Polytechnikum of Switzerland. He became an American naturalized citizen in 1924.

Ammann’s design for the bridge was so well conceived that he was picked over his mentor and supervisor, architect Gustav Lindenthal, to run the project. When the GWB opened in 1931, it was eight months ahead of schedule, and under budget.

You may not know his name yet, but you should. Ammann went on to design the Bayonne, Triborough, Bronx-Whitestone, Throgs Neck, and Verrazano-Narrows Bridges in the New York area. He also worked on the building of the Lincoln Tunnel and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Quite an impressive resume! I will point out one more time that Ammann was an immigrant who made huge contributions to our society. Recognizing both the historical and current accomplishments of immigrants is hugely important in today’s political climate. Without Ammann, you might still be taking a ferry to navigate the Hudson River!

In 1962, a statue bust of Othmar Ammann was placed in the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal, where his quiet visage watched over the commuters on his bridge for many years. The display commemorated his contributions to our city and to the Washington Heights neighborhood.

More about The Ammann and Othmar Ammann:

During the recent major renovations of the GWB Bus Terminal, Othmar Ammann’s bust was apparently removed. I took a trip to the terminal recently, to check out the new stores and sights. The new lobbies are chrome, white, and largely undeveloped, with new vendors vying for important commercial space. The terminal now houses a gym, clothing stores, and a brand new bank. Without explanation and without apology, the statue commemorating the architect of the busiest bridge of the western world is conspicuously missing from this brand new, empty lobby. I hope “they” intend to bring him back, someday. That new lobby could use some decorating.

Ammann was the recipient of several major awards for his contributions to our infrastructure. In 1964, one year before his death, he was honored with the National Medal of Science.

But here at Bohemia, we have one more way to commemorate his genius:

Bohemia Realty Group’s newest condo development at 40 Pinehurst Avenue (RIGHT off the Bridge) has been christened “The Ammann” in honor of Othmar! We are honored to exclusively represent this building, which is the first brand new ground-up development in Hudson Heights. I can think of no greater honor for an architect than to have this gorgeous building bearing your name; showcasing views of the most beautiful bridge you ever designed. Each unit has triple-paned floor to ceiling windows. Some balconies get a view of the Hudson River itself. The building boasts amenities such as the beautiful roof deck, open to all residents, in the shadow of the bridge at sunset.

If you want to be like me, and desire to wake up every day with gorgeous views of the Hudson River and the GWB… give us a call. We’ve got a condo you might like…
Grab this one for yourself. Be sure to head to for more information on The Ammann!

Check out more of Bohemia Realty Group’s Christopher Tefft here!