Sunday, July 31, 2016

Happy Hookers et al. to the Rescue

Part of the facade of 370 Fifth fell onto the sidewalk this afternoon. Fortunately no injuries were reported. The fire department checked out the rest of the masonry.

Bank at 11th?

Unconfirmed news that a bank will be taking over the Golden Mens Wear/Dreamy's space at 480 Fifth, after coffee chain plans fell through.  Well there's excitement for you.  The building has been on and off the market, and the store for lease, several times over the last few years - back in '13 the building was listed for sale at over six million,  and in 2014 the store was advertised for rent for $13,700.
The only meagre upshot of this dreary news is that we might get another (final?) look at the Queen in Bazaar sign  hidden from sight.  It's always been a favorite in our household.

Friday, July 29, 2016

On the Move

One of the smallest of Robert Moses' fifteen "vest-pocket parks" that abut the Prospect Expressway is the playground on 17th Street between Fifth & Sixth.  Along the fence that separates the playground from the canyon of roaring traffic a succession of animals are set on their own journey. Protected or protectors, barred in by a modern world, or simply following a path older and deeper than the one beside them? They're a weather-beaten bunch, pock-marked with corrosion, coated with mismatched paint. A fox has been given a stain of a heart .  An unknown hand has drawn in faces to several of the other animals, setting them ever more alive.  There's magic in the metal creatures.

Nature endures in the least likely settings.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Fronts & Sides

Love It?

The sign has appeared at "hearty & handsome"/ "small and quaint" 540 Fifth Avenue, along with a picture of a toned & sweat-drenched couple.  Looks like a classy joint.  As I walked by I heard the band that practises above G&M Mens Suit Outlet.  I stopped to listen for a bit - they're pretty good.

Across the road from iLoveKickboxing(.com) work at 555 continues in preparation for a Crunch gym, and higher-end retail than the businesses displaced when the building changed hands last year.

Earlier (with links back):
The Fitness Wars
Space Assured for Displaced "Existing Businesses" up for Rent at 555 Fifth


Dim Views

Construction fences now surround the Eagle Provisions conversion site, but there are no "viewing panels" (windows) as yet.  Peering through a gap and a partially open entrance it's possible to see that all that remains of 626-30 are the exterior walls, but hard to get shots.  Here's how the place looked from the street last month.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Permit - What Permit? Rising on 18th Street

There's a partial SWO in effect at 262 18th Street, with all exterior work ordered halted.  The SWO relates to property egress issues at an adjacent building.  Alt 2 permits were approved for 262 in December 2015 for "emergency work to remove non-load-bearing interior walls, clean up the building of debris & garbage, no change in use, egress or occupancy." No asbestos abatement, enlargement, or change in number of stories are indicated on the permit.  The building's height is listed as thirty-five feet.

Let's take a look


262, September 2014 (center, with awning)

262, November 2014 (left, with paint job & awning removed)

262, July 2016, looking distinctly taller and narrower.  Looking like, well, a new building really, or maybe an Alt 1  at least.                  

No violations have been issued for 262 since 2007, though numerous complaints are on record at the DOB site regarding work performed contrary to plans.  The building sold in August, 2014 for $1,289,000, and was promptly re-listed for over two million, but appears not to have sold since then. For an earlier post on 262 18th, read here.

I'd like to say this is an unusual story, but really, it's more of the same.  Any local pols. keeping an eye on this kind of blatant disregard of regulations?


We like all sides of this one. On Third.

Monday, July 25, 2016


Here's a sight to relieve those Heat Dome doldrums.  The garden at Holy Family church (14th) is clearly in green hands, and it includes a corn patch on its street side.  Stop by & enjoy.


Map: Gowanus Canal Properties Poised for Development (DNAinfo)

Developer Turns Former Gowanus Arts Space into Luxury Condo Sales Office (DNAinfo)

"Big Four" ad agency Publicis Groupe heading for Industry City (The Real Deal)

Urban Soccer coming to Madison's Realty Capital's Sunset Park Whale Building (The Real Deal)

NY Methodist bringing outpatient center to Gowanus (Commercial Observer)

A Tribute to Billy Name (Warhol Museum blog)

New mural of Keith Haring on Kenmare Street (Bowery Boogie)

Turnaround: Fixing New York City's Buses (TransitCenter)

New David Attie Photo Exhibit Featuring Truman Capote Opens at Brooklyn Historical Society (Untapped Cities)

Catch up with those young Tompkins Square hawks - they're growing in leaps (and dives) & bounds! (Laura Goggin Photography)

Sunday, July 24, 2016


On a dog day afternoon, the streets are quiet, and a kid has the Ennis ballcourt all to himself.

The Keeper

The New Museum's current exhibition, The Keeper, is well worth a visit, offering a fascinating look at the obsessive borders of creating & collecting. Some, but not all, of the work on view falls into that category termed "outsider art."

"The Keeper is an exhibition dedicated to the act of preserving objects, artworks, and images, and to the passions that inspire this undertaking. A reflection on the impulse to save both the most precious and the apparently valueless, it brings together a variety of imaginary museums, personal collections, and unusual assemblages, revealing the devotion with which artists, collectors, scholars, and hoarders have created sanctuaries for endangered images and artifacts."

The Keeper reminded me of the kinds of exhibitions I've enjoyed so much at London's Wellcome Collection, a museum devoted to the interconnection of art & medicine.

Here are a few pictures from the show.

Arthur Bispo do Rosário (1910 - 1989) - Shelves of Cars

"During five decades of internment in a psychiatric hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Arthur Bispo do Rosário produced over eight-hundred tapestries, sculptures and lavish ceremonial garments in preparation for Judgement Day."

Ydessa Hendeles (born 1948)

Partners (The Teddy Bear Project), (2002)

A letter in the installation, dated 1986, bearing a Blackheath address, and written to a "Dear GrateAunt," includes the following lines:

I must apologize for writing this note myself.  Teddy was very eager to write, but I had to discourage him - the fact is, although he is very bright and intelligent, he is, sadly, almost illiterate, and I feel that a letter written by himself would be almost incomprehensible.

Images of Whitman in a mammoth project by Henrik Oleson (born 1967): Some Gay-Lesbian Artists and/or Artists relevant to Homo-Social Culture Born between c. 1300 - 1870 (2007).

'The Keeper' Reveals the Passion for Collecting (NY Times)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Between the Avenues

I always like side streets. South of 34th, between Broadway and Sixth, the costume jewelry and hat stores, the baldly unromantic business names: Top of the Top Shirts Inc., US Jewelry, Wigs, Hairpieces, 100% Human Hair, Go & Go Trading Inc., Classy Jewlry Inc., Euro SOCAP Hair Extensions.  Traders loitering on the sidewalks, fossilized window displays where smudged and scarred ladies (and sometimes gents) address the passers by with sombre expression, or, with eyes averted, hide under veils or the brim of a hat tipped low across their brows.  The sweet, grubby, leftover charms of a city work their magic.