Blocks We Love: 2000 Delancey Street
Walking down the 2000 block of Delancey Street can feel like taking a stroll into the 19th Century. Or maybe a movie set. The stately homes, all built by 1870, have changed very little since their original construction. Perhaps for this reason, the 2000 Block of Delancey Street is the most filmed residential block in the city, boasting scenes from at least six films and one TV show.
The nine unconnected blocks of Delancey Street, named after William Heathcote DeLancey, provost of the University of Pennsylvania from 1828-1834, were all built during the mid 19th Century. The 2000 block of Delancey Street included home styles of the earlier Federal Period (1785–1815), characterized by red brick facades, white marble trim, and semicircular fanlights above the doorways, as well as Second Empire (Victorian) styles. The Victorian style homes were faced in all white marble, including 2019 Delancey, owned by Nobel Laureate Pearl S. Buck in the 1950s and 1960s.
The homes are each four or five stories, but often the top floors are set back with dormers, giving the illusion of more modest 3 story homes, and allowing more sunlight onto the street. This thoughtful architectural decision provides these truly grand homes a sense of intimacy and human scale. And enough sunlight to reach the ornate windowboxes and planters.
Nine of the houses on the 2000 block of Delancey Street are on the National Register of Historic Places. Including the former residence of the rare book collectors, the Rosenbach brothers. Made into a museum in the mid 20th Century, the Rosenbach collection contains the only surviving copy of Benjamin Franklin’s ﬁrst Poor Richard Almanac and the manuscript of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Every year on June 16th, the Rosenbach hosts a “Bloomsday” festival, in honor of the titular character of Ulysses. Hundreds gather to celebrate one of the world’s greatest novels, on what may be one of the city’s greatest blocks. But don’t wait until next June to visit the 2000 block of Delancey Street, the Rosenbach museum is open to visitors six days a week.