The Cotton Club at 656 West 125th Street opened in 1978 and is named after a famous Harlem nightclub of the 1930s and 1940s. The Club Deluxe at 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue was opened by boxer Jack Johnson in 1920 but renamed the Cotton Club after being taken over by gangster Owney Madden in 1923. The establishment hired a who's who of black entertainers but catered exclusively to white audiences. The club was a vital part of the Harlem music scene, serving at various times as the musical home for seminal bandleaders Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Cab Calloway and Jimmie Lunceford. In 1936, the club moved to a midtown location at Broadway at 48th Street before closing in 1940.
St. Clair Place is a large apartment complex that appears to have been built in the 1970s at the corner of St. Clair Place and Riverside Drive. In keeping with the style of the times, the building presents a fortress wall against street level and has its back to 125th Street for folks who wanted to have nothing to do with the Harlem neighborhood to the north. St. Clair Place is also a street that is named for St. Claire Pollock a 5-year-old child who died in 1797 and is buried in Riverside Park just to the west.
The Sheffield Dairy Building at 632 West 125th Street was designed by Frank A. Rooke and built in 1911. Although the distinctive white glazed tile exterior (intended to project an image of purity) is intact, the copper windows and trim are long gone, presumably stripped for scrap as some less prosperous time in the city's history. This was one of at least three different dairy buildings in this area, with raw milk shipped in via the Hudson River rail line just to the west. The dairy could process and pasturize 15,000 bottles of milk per hour. Delivery wagons passed through the building in an half-oval (the large doors on the right and left of the building) to pick up loads. In the 1930s, dairies began serving the city from processing facilities outside of Manhattan and this plant was purchased by Columbia University in 1949 as an expansion of their engineering school. The building is not scheduled for demolition as part of the expansion project to the north.
Just to the east, outside the Columbia expansion area is another dairy building that was one of the first two in the area. The French-style McDermott-Bunger Dairy building at 527 West 125th Street was designed by the firm of Sass & Smallheiser and built in 1903.