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

Monday, February 20, 2006

From First Avenue to Third Avenue

Near First Avenue on the south side of the street is the beautiful Immaculate Conception Church. It is now Roman Catholic, but was originally Episcopal, a Grace Church Chapel and Dispensary. It is a designated NYC landmark, built in 1894-96, designed by Barney & Chapman, in a vaguely Francois I style, not something you would expect to see on East 14th Street.
Immaculate Conception Church
Town and Village Synagogue is on the next block.
IMG_0744 (Small)(That's Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. (Peter Cooper Village is a development similar to Stuyvesant Town, a bit more upscale, just to the north, also developed by MetLife, but privately.

Nearer Third Avenue is a building, named "Rose Hill"

with an interesting cornice. IMG_0745 (Small)

There is a neighborhood actually named Rose Hill, bounded by 23rd and 32nd streets and Madison and Third avenues, but that is almost 10 blocks away. This building was named for its developer, Rosehill Realty, when it was built in 1905.

Sometimes people wonder if cornices serve a purpose, like keeping excess water off the facade of a building. The answer is, probably not, but there is no question about their aesthetic function. Take a look at this denuded row, on the north side of the block of East 14th Street, between Second and Third avenues, on the uptown side of the street. IMG_0746 (Small)

At 231 E. 14th is a building that used to house the Italian Labor Center. Much of the elaborate carving and other fine stonework one sees in New York was done by Italian immigrant labor, as the ornament on this building suggests. IMG_0750 (Small)

The Union Square Inn is a small hotel almost at Third Avenue, part of a row that does not have a new building permit listed at the buildings department. Sometimes, lack of a new building permit means that the building was constructed before the establishment of the buildings department, in 1865. Other times, it just means that the document has been lost or misfiled. A look at historic city maps may suggest a construction date. IMG_0754 (Small) Guests here are staying near the heart of the East Village. 14th Street in many ways is the dividing line between downtown and uptown, the hip and the square.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

14th Street, east to west

I can't quite call it river to river, because a big Con Ed plant blocks access to the East River, IMG_0726 (Small) so we'll say that our walk starts at Avenue C. IMG_0728 (Small) "Losaida" on the street sign is a phonetic spelling of the Hispanic pronunciation of "Lower East Side." Avenue C and 14th Street is one of the boundaries of the storied location.

On the uptown side of the street, from here to First Avenue, we'll be walking past Stuyvesant Town IMG_0733 (Small) a massive housing project that replaced a area of gas storage tanks and tenements.

The bulky towers IMG_0729 (Small)
have played an interesting role in the social and cultural history of New York. They were built as a public-private partnership between the city and MetLife, immediately after World War II (although planning had begun earlier) and at first housed mostly veterans and their families. It goes without saying that Robert Moses had his hand in the effort. Stuyvesant Town was and is reviled and loved in equal measure.

A population of melanistic squirrels inhabits Stuy Town's grounds. IMG_0735 (Small)

The view opens up at First Avenue. IMG_0742 (Small)