The Sniffen Court Historic District is one of New York City's smallest historic districts, created on June 21, 1966 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Sniffen Court, named after John Sniffen, a local builder, is a small close-ended mews that runs perpendicularly southwest off of East 36th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. The district encompasses the entire alley, which consists of 10 two-story brick stables built in 1863-1864 in the early Romanesque Revival style.
As the need for carriage houses lessened, the buildings were converted for other uses. In 1918, two of the stables (#1, also known as 150 East 36th Street, and #3) were bought by the Amateur Comedy Club, which has been in existence since 1884, to be their clubhouse and theatre; they remain that today. In the 1920s, the process of conversion continued, and by 1966 one of the buildings was in use as an architect's office, the gabled building at #2 (156 East 36th Street) was the home of a noted architect, while the remainder were small private residences.
Two artists associated with the mews were the sculptors Malvina Hoffman and Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, both of whom had studios in the Court. On the rear of the alley are mounted two sculpted plaques of Greek horseman by Hoffman On November 28, 1973 the Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places.