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Marymount Manhattan College began in 1936 as a two-year extension of Marymount College, Tarrytown, NY; the school was located on the top floor of a mansion at 1028 5th Avenue, then and now occupied by the Marymount School. In the early years of the college, a Roman Catholic religious order, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, played a significant role. In 1948, the Junior League Clubhouse on 71st St. was purchased, and renovations were made to make it suitable for instruction. The doors opened in the fall of 1949 for what had become a four year extension of Marymount College, Tarrytown. The college attained independence in 1961 as Marymount Manhattan College.
Many features of the original building were destroyed over the years: a meeting room opening on a terrace on the 3rd floor with French windows and hand-painted Persian hunting scene motif became offices; the squash courts became classrooms; and recently the swimming pool was demolished to provide additional space for offices and classrooms. But some things have been preserved: a formal estate room, the Mezzanine on the second floor; a wooden paneled room that served for many years as the history room of the library, but then became the office of the president; the Great Hall with its three floor ceiling; and the original black and white tiled lobby.
Marymount Manhattan College's urban campus is unusual. The "campus" consists of the Main Building; a connected Nugent building on 72nd Street (built in 1972 in a deal with a contractor such that the College owns the land and occupies the basement and six floors, and the contractor has a 99 year lease on 20 stories of apartments); a thirty-one story residence hall (part of a 46 story building on 55th Street, constructed in 2000, where the college has a 2/3 condominium on the building and the developer has a 1/3 condominium on the building comprising 15 stories of luxury rental units); 8 condominium apartments (used for student housing) on 90th St. and 3rd Ave, purchased in 2002; and from time to time various rental units used for student housing.