Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

An end-of-the-year look at the northern end of Avenue B


Sept. 7:

Dec. 24:

Previously on EV Grieve:
What's doing on at the northern end of Avenue B?

Gone but not forgotten

The Tower of Toys created by Eddie Boros. Sixth Street and Avenue B. RIP, May 2008.

Forgotten but not gone

Anything related to Sex and the City.

Or fro-yo.

Or bank branches popping up on every corner.

Or greedy landlords.

Or...well, you get the idea...too many things for this list.

Year-end self-serve: Revisiting some popular EV Grieve posts

These were posts that either solicted a few comments...or linkage elsewhere or just seemed to be popular on the hit list:

When the Christodora House became a Greek house

An EV Grieve editorial (aka, this week's sign of the Apocalypse)

Appreciating what's left of the Bowery while it's still there

Dwell95 fiddled after Wall Street burned


Team Bride

Post scribe thinks turmoil in Africa is so trendy in the news right now!

"The neighborhood was desolate, so underpopulated that landlords would give you a month's free rent just for signing a lease"

The Lower East Side: There goes the neighborhood

These are a few of the photos you'll find when you search for "Carrie Bradshaw" on Flickr

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hurry! 2008 is almost over!: Looking at 708 First Ave.

At 708 First Ave. near 40th Street at site of the former Con Edison Waterside power plant. Wasn't there supposed to be a 50-plus-floor office tower going in here...?

Anyway, nice chunk of real estate, as the Times noted in 1999:

"This is probably the most valuable piece of land in New York City today," said August A. DiRenzo, a vice chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, the brokerage and consulting firm that is assisting Con Edison with the sale. He added that most of the major developers in the city were looking at the sites. "I can't tell you who they are, but anyone you can think of has expressed interest," he said.

Probably not

This storefront has been available for some time now on Second Ave at Third Street (the northeast corner).

Someone with a marker has asked a good question:

Subtle ads of the year! (And question: Are all ad people horny guys?)

Hey now. Just a quick year-end look at just a few of the subtle ads that graced the neighborhood in 2008....Mad Men? Hmm...How about: Perv Men? Horny Men? Men Who Think They Can Move Product By Showing a Photo of a Woman's Mouth?

A few places around Manhattan where Jesus will possibly save your sorry ass

A good thing for starting a new year.

On Henry Street in the LES.

On 51st Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenue.

On 11th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B.

New graffiti in the Library restrooms

Uh, the Library bar. Avenue A.

A few things about Woolworths

The City Room had a fun piece the other day on the old Olympic-size swimming pool in the F.H. Woolworth Building on lower Broadway.

An early promotional brochure for the building promised tenants an “immense Swimming Pool and Turkish Bath establishment, open day and night,” equipped with “every modern device making for comfort, safety and sanitation.” This was in addition to the Postkeller restaurant, the barber shop and the Hospital Room “for female stenographers, clerks and others, where they may receive first-aid treatment and simple remedies at the hands of a competent nurse.”

Speaking of Woolworth stores, which closed for good in the city in 2001, here's some footage of the old Woolworth's location in downtown Flushing from 1997:

Which reminds me of eating at the Woolworth's lunch counter on 14th Street...and wasn't there one on Park Avenue South around 23rd Street? The food was pretty awful at times, but it was cheap, of course.

Here's a Woolworth's menu from 1960 (via Mr. Monopoly):

Monday, December 29, 2008

East 10th Street across from Tompkins Square Park seems like a lovely place to live, but...

Between Avenue A and Avenue B. Click on the images to enlarge.

Hotel Reserve now ready for your, uh, reservation

The Hotel Reserve opened earlier this month on Nassau Street at Maiden Lane in the Financial District. It was originally reported that this would be a Wyndham Garden Hotel. But Hotel Reserve has such a more local flavor given that the Federal Reserve is directly across the street.

Pretty spiffy design...The hotel is L-shaped and wraps around three low-rise buildings that sit on the corner of Maiden and Nassau.

So why did they do something seemingly so complicated? According to an article from October 2007 in the Times titled New buildings that embrace the old:

These challenges pale in comparison with the difficulties faced by Gene Kaufman, an architect who designed a 113-room hotel that is being built just a few blocks from Wall Street.

This L-shaped hotel, which will be a Wyndham, will have entrances at 51 Nassau Street — opposite the New York Federal Reserve Building — and 20 Maiden Lane. But its longest street frontage will actually be in a dark, narrow one-block alley called Liberty Place.

The hotel is being built on this odd-shaped lot because it has to encompass three low-rise buildings on the corner of Nassau Street and Maiden Lane that the developer, the McSam Hotel Group, was unable to acquire. These buildings all had commercial tenants with long leases who could not be enticed to leave, Mr. Kaufman said.

These old buildings were in very bad condition, so we had to be careful not to create any vibrations that could damage them,” Mr. Kaufman said. But, he said, that was just the beginning of his headaches.

For one thing, the New York City subway system passes directly beneath this site, and it has ventilation shafts on all three sides of the building. This meant the developer had to dig deeper for the foundation. But as the excavation began, he discovered that the three older buildings had foundations extending into the property lines for the hotel.

“We’ve wrapped around little buildings before; we’ve built against the subway before; we’ve built on narrow sites before,” Mr. Kaufman said. But never all at once. “It was like fitting a diamond into a setting,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Win Won on Liberty Place survived all the construction.

Here's what it looked like in late spring.

Hotel Plaza Athénée is closing for six months

Found ourselves at the swanky ol' Hotel Plaza Athénée on 64th Street near Madison Avenue on Christmas Eve. (Looong story while we were there.) Anyway, on the way out of the Bar Seine there, several staff members offered us holiday greetings and casually mentioned the hotel would be closed for the next six months. As if we were regulars there or something. Whaaa?

So one of the dapper gentlemen went on to say the hotel -- with 114 guestrooms and 35 suites (rooms start at $795 a night) -- would be closing as of Jan. 5 for renovations, including things like upgrading the electrical system. I asked him what he'd be doing during that time. Paraphrasing a bit here, but essentially: "I don't know. I guess I'll have to go on unemployment." He also said he recently sold his house. I'll spare you the rest of his rather sad plight. No mention of the closing on the hotel's Web site. (At least as of Dec. 27.)

In September 1984, the property, formerly called the Alrae, was completely renovated. It reopened as the Plaza Athénée.

P.S. Yes, I know.

Door is no long "bizarrely heavy" -- now the springs are just tight

Dec. 15!

Dec. 27!

Dirt Candy on East Ninth Street between Avenue A and First Avenue.

First Avenue trench filled

On Dec. 17, I did a post on the trench that stretches across First Avenue at Sixth Street. As I mentioned, I know someone who lives in a building adjacent to the trench. "I'm really afraid the constant earthquakes will stress my crappy building enough to make the already warped floors collapse."

Anyway, good news for the resident (and anyone who lives nearby) as well as bicyclists, M15 passengers...the trench was filled in the other day...Nice and smooth now.

Foo shoppers

Another building now for sale on Avenue B

Between 11th Street and 12th Street.

Previously on EV Grieve:
There are more than 20 empty storefronts along Avenue B

Dumpster of the day

First Avenue near Ninth Street.