Friday, January 20, 2017
When there was a bank building in the middle of East Houston at Avenue A
EVG reader Steph Romeo was watching "The Naked City" from 1948 when she spotted this...
...and a view from East Houston near Norfolk looking west to Essex and Avenue A... a thin building in what is now the middle of East Houston...
On the left, you can spot the Provident Loan Society Building, which is still there today (not for long, though) on the southwest corner of Houston and Essex...
Steph look further, and found this image from the comprehensive digital collections at the NYPL... here's a shot of the building's front entrance circa 1929 ... showing the Community State Bank (not another bank branch!) and a dental office in the address that is listed as 2-4 Avenue A aka 240 1/2 E. Houston. ...
I didn't have a chance to do any further research to find out when the building was razed ... it's also a good reminder to rewatch "The Naked City" and the subsequent TV series inspired by the film, which has many Lower East Side locations. I've haven't watched any of that in more than 10 years.
Posted by Grieve at 4:30 AM
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Wow, look, you can see the sky...
I want to live in that New York!
Wow, thanks for these pics EVG. Ever since I heard about the widening of Houston (north side from Broadway the East river and south side from Broadway going west to 6th Avenue) I always wondered what we lost in buildings to accommodate Robert Moses ill conceived plan to cross Manhattan with a series of super highways. Fortunately today we have a preservation society, open public discussions with community leaders and feedback before the city and developers go ahead and demolish our city so they can profit. Some things never change.
@8:12 -- the Moses highway would have been farther south, through Soho towards the Williamsburgh Bridge. It actually ended up saving a lot of historic buildings since no one thought it was worth knocking them down and building new ones if a highway was going up soon. The debates over the plans stretched out to years and were finally cancelled by the 70s.
Great neon signage!!!
I have a street map dated 1911, which shows the wedge-shaped plot on which this building stood. It was formed by the fork-shaped junction of Houston Street and First Street, so technically it was not in the middle of Houston Street, but on its north side. First Street conformed to the Manhattan grid, while Houston Street is at a slight northeast-to-southwest diagonal, thus forming the wedge. First Street actually originated at the intersection of Houston and Suffolk. Similarly, Second Street originated at a fork-shaped junction with Houston at the intersection with Avenue D. There was a wedge-shaped plot there too, which housed the 17th Precinct Police Station.
What we lost: in Naked City, as well, images of a beautiful Williamsburg Bridge esplanade that extended over the street. Anyone who is old enough to have walked over it, will know what I mean "beautiful." Compared to the bird cage walkway we have now, ugh.
A big thanks to Andrew Tyndall!
I had trouble envisioning the exact location of this narrow building.
Does anyone know when it was demolished?
(I looked but haven't found any reference.)
Let me just say:
The Naked City is a real treat for nerds who love old school NYC.
Post a Comment