Tuesday, September 29, 2009
463 West Street is a 13 building complex located on the block between West Street, Washington Street, Bank Street, and Bethune Street. It was originally the home of Bell Telephone Laboratories between 1898 and 1966. For a time, it was the largest industrial research center in the United States. Many early technological inventions were developed here, including automatic telephone panel switches, the first experimental talking movies (1923), black and white and color TV, radar, the vacuum tube, the transistor, medical equipment, the development of the phonograph record and the first commercial broadcasts including the first broadcast of a baseball game and the New York Philharmonic with Toscanini conducting.
The site was also the home for part of the Manhattan Project during World War II.
After two years of renovations by Richard Meier, the building was reopened in 1970 as Westbeth Artists Community, a haven for low to middle income artists. In addition to affordable artist housing, the complex contains a theatre, an art gallery, and a synagogue. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975.
This old lamp adorns the building facing West Street.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Ottomanelli’s is a classic, one of the last of its kind. When they opened eighty or so years ago on Bleecker near 7th there was a neighborhood butcher in every neighborhood in America — now it’s a rarity in New York, an anomaly in most places. Ottomanelli’s was one of the first butchers to source free‐range poultry and pasture‐raised meats, but the real contribution they make is their practice and maintenance of what has become a severely endangered set of skills, of artistry really, that bridges the wide gap between the animal in the field and the food in the pan. Frank, Peter and Jerry hand‐cut the best fresh meat and poultry in New York for over 35 years, and with all due respect to the creativity of the chefs and the perseverance of the farmers, these guys are the unsung heroes of the Slow Food movement. They are a real treasure.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The term “dive” dates from London in the 19th century, when young men wanted a livelier place in which to spend their afternoons than the gentlemen’s clubs frequented by their fathers. They formed informal clubs, where they gathered to smoke and drink coffee.
The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary indicates that, in the United States in the 1880s, the term referred to an illegal drinking den or other place of ill repute, especially one located in a basement.
The term may also refer to an opium den.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I can find very little history on this old clothier at 154 Stanton except that his "garments can be tested before use," as mentioned in an ad for Hasidim in need of, well, garments. Located in the seriously gentrified Lower East Side, at least they held on to this magnificent sign.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Capt. William Tumbridge, who was born in Cape Town in 1845 and who served in the Union Navy in the Civil War, built the original structure on the north side of Clark Street, between Hicks and Henry Streets, in 1885. The 10-story building, designed by Augustus Hatfield, must have been one of the tallest buildings in Brooklyn Heights.
In 1895, Tumbridge was fined $25 for slapping and punching Ira Morley, a broker, who had no money to pay his hotel bill. And in 1901 Tumbridge was arrested for disorderly conduct after assaulting a policeman in a quarrel on a Gates Avenue trolley car.
Like other hotels before the advent of the better-class apartment building, the St. George offered shelter to both transients and permanent residents. The 1905 census records the family of the prominent chinaware merchant Theodore Ovington, including his daughter Mary White Ovington, 40, a Radcliffe graduate. In 1909 she was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; in 1911 her book ''Half a Man'' cast light on the troubles of African-Americans. Tumbridge died in 1921, and the next year his family sold the St. George to the real estate development group Bing & Bing. In 1928 Bing & Bing added a giant revolving beacon on the roof, visible for 50 miles and meant to serve as a navigation marker for aircraft. The McAlpin and Beacon Hotels in Manhattan also had such beacons, although they were soon discontinued at the request of the government, which felt they might distract pilots.
IN 1974 The Times reported that half of the 2,100 rooms were being closed because of high fuel costs and that 600 permanent guests, who were paying up to $150 a month, were being consolidated into one part of the hotel.
At the same time the many elderly tenants still in the older hotel section were the victims of muggings by drug addicts and derelicts who had access to what had become one of the city's largest problem buildings, with a topless club called Wild Fyre on the ground floor.
The shell of a new building has risen on the Clark Street site. Gerard Vasisko, a partner with Gruzen Samton Architects, said his firm was not involved with the construction but did develop a contextual design for the empty lot for the owner, Moshe Drizen, ''picking up on the elements of the adjacent Clark Street building, with similar brick and window patterns.''