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

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Grand Street in SoHo

On the northeast corner is the French Culinary Institute, a cooking school headed by Jacques Pepin that has a restaurant on the ground floor where student can practice on the public.

Across the street, and going through the block to Mercer Street, a large new building is going up. If memory serves, it will be a hotel.

A glance downtown on Mercer Street offers a glimpse of the Woolworth Building (with the vaguely triangular roofline) in the background.

Grand Street does not have the most interesting buildings, nor the best stores in SoHo, but it does convey a sense of what the area was like before rampant gentrification took place.

Alterations to any building in an historic district are subject to review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Certain changes may be approved by a staff member. If the work is more extensive, the applicant may need to appear at a public hearing and present the plans to the appointed Commissioners for their approval. Once the plan is determined to be appropriate, a permit will be issued. It must be displayed, along with similar permits from the Buildings Department.

The building at 93 Grand

has a plaque. Not all landmarks have them. This building was one of many in SoHo designed by John B. Snook, who also designed the large brownstone building opposite the old Police Headquarters building. Click on the photo to read more.

At Wooster Street there is a colorful parking lot across the street from a colorful, red brick building with some unusual Tudor-style lintels.

Some buildings have the date of construction emblazoned near the roof, in this case, within the rounded section of the cornice/parapet. Others may have the a metal plate with the name of the foundry, usually near the ground.

Sometimes the cast-iron really looks like stone.

On other buildings the masonry and terra cotta are unmistakable.

At the top of the same building (60 Grand) are two ghosts -- that of an ad for Coca-Cola and the armature for a Rachel Whiteread cast resin sculpture of a water tower that was in itself a "ghost" of the original object.

Nearby is
restaurant, atmospheric, regardless of food.

This is at the boundary of SoHo. The remaining portion of Grand Street is in the South Village. At Thompson Street, there is an odd stucco building, constructed in 1940, Mediterranean in its applied details.

Grand Street ends at Varick.


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