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

Sunday, June 18, 2006

125th Street

125th Street is a major popular shopping and entertainment street in Harlem. It has witnessed some tough times and is now beginning to enjoy a revival. At its eastern end, it is just to the north of East Harlem, an ethnically mixed neighborhood that was once largely Italian. The blocks at the far western end are in Manhattanville, a different neighborhood altogether and one that will soon undergo some very drastic changes in style, use and character that I'll talk about when we get there.

At the eastern end of the street are entrances to the FDR (East River) Drive and the Triborough Bridge.
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This rather distinguished-looking building was constructed in 1896. It's now classified for manufacturing, but was that it's originally use?
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On the downtown side of the street is a salvage store, Demolition Depot, in a nice old loft building. (It's in two buildings, actually.)
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Ghost signs on side of Demolition Depot's building IMG_1939 (Small)

The same people also seem to own this jocularly-named antique/junque shop across the street.
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I'll spare all of us a photo of the newish Pathmark that takes up an entire block at Third Avenue. It's great for the neighborhood, though, as is the boring new building across the street populated by chain stores that I'm sure are also very welcome in a neighborhood that has been underserved for decades.

The wares of the first of many street sellers of perfume oils
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On the northeast corner of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street a Roman brick and brownstone building, almost Romanesque Revival, has some plaques with the dates 1886 and 1894. The buildings department has two new building permits for the building, one dated 1884, the other 1899. It may be safe to say that this is a late 19th century building.
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Apple Bank used to be the Harlem Savings Banks, but changed its name when it wanted to branch out. This classical building is not far from where the bank started, when Haarlem, as it was spelled then, was still in rural village, in 1863.
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Napoleon Le Brun was architect for the NYC Fire Department for 15 years or so, beginning about 1880. This is one of his. (So is that little chateau in Chinatown.)
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At Park Avenue, the Metro North trains run above the street. These are not subways; they are regular commuter trains to NYC suburbs.
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To get to the tracks, you have the aid of a beautiful railing.
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