Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Along the Avenue
A block down from Eagle Provisions, boarded up, but with some of its signs still intact, more indications of change appear. 643 Fifth, which used to house Torres Tattoos (moved up the avenue a while back) & most recently, the short-lived I Want a Breast Pump (nobody did, apparently), is destined for demolition. This side of the block really typifies an older, lower-scale piece of Fifth Avenue retail, but it will be soon broken up by something taller. The building was sold in the spring for $2,250,000. The buyer? 5th AVE CONDO LLC. So at least we know what we're in for.
I wonder what the fate of next-door 645 will be? It sold in 2014, for $1,420,000, and as far as I can tell there's no connection with the buyers of 643. But who knows? The stores at both addresses have been long-shuttered, apart from a bike store's brief run at 645. Brief enough that the Ortiz Botanica awning remained underneath the Tong Lida vinyl sign, and has re-emerged for a last hurrah. Both the vertical signs of Selena's bakery (preceding a psychic) and the botanica have lingered on, too. All traces of the psychic vanished.
Here's a look at the block in 1941, when 643 & 645 still had their cornices & other woodwork details quite intact. And look just beyond the Hutwelker building (at the end of the block) to 657, the old Frost furniture warehouse currently getting The Treatment. It too had ornamental detail once.
November 1941, Percy Loomis Sperr
Seems like some of those Ortiz products would come in handy right now, along with a guy like this.