Walks in New York and elsewhere

My comments on buildings, shops, restaurants that catch my eye as I wander around New York City and other places.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue

Two other tenants in the Crown Building are Smythson of Bond Street and Bulgari Jewelers.
At 6 West 57th Street is a Club Monaco. Elegant retail establishments are to our backs, now, as confirmed by the presence of a Sharper Image where Henri Bendel used to be (or was Bendel's where Brookstone used to be?) Bendel's may have been in both. Do not confuse the original with the store of the same name now around the corner on Fifth Avenue, altogether a lesser entity.
And try to remember look up occasionally. There are sometimes interesting occupants on the upper floors.

A few steps west and you're in front of Mackenzie-Childs, purveyor of over-the-top accessories and hostess gifts much appreciated by many, I'm told.

24 West 57th Street still has some galleries, as do some of the other buildings on this block. Usually there is a sign stating the names of any galleries inside. Across the street, at 29 W. 57th, is the vaguely gothic Chickering Hall, Cross & Cross, 1924, which is really an office building and never held a concert space. There used to be a showroom for Chickering pianos (no longer manfactured.) At the top of the building is a faded representation of the French Legion d'Honneur medal won by the company in 1867.

Next to Chickering is the quiet and calm Rizzoli bookstore. The interesting building that Rizzoli is in was designed by Randolph H. Almiroty, in 1919. There have been alterations, I'm sure, but without a trip to the Buildings Department (which I'm not going to do for this project) I can't tell exactly what or when. There must have been a truck blocking the building the day I passed by. Here's a picture on the store's website: http://www.rizzoliusa.com/bookstore.html

Here's what remains of a Beaux-Arts style house from the end of the 19th century, rather elegant quarters for the American Health Bar restaurant on the lower floors.

Nearby on the north side of the street is a store (one of many in this neighborhood) selling "antiques." Who buys these? No one whose eye has been trained by the windows of the stores to the east will be fooled by this.

At 40 West 57th, you can use a passageway to walk through to 56th Street, passing the newest incarnation of Nobu and an interesting piece of sculpture on the way. The Marlborough art gallery is in this building, and it is likely that the sculpture was done by one of its artists. It has the look of a Botero, but I didn't see a signature.

There is some elegant tailoring available on this block. Here's Fioravanti and others in one building. Yes, that's a MacDonald's on the ground floor. If that doesn't suit, right across the street there's Mangia, an upscale cafeteria and sandwich bar, with good cookies.

On the southwest corner is the red-awninged brasserie, Rue 57

and a Staples across the street.


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