New York Songlines: 10th Avenue

with Amsterdam Avenue

W 59th | W 58th | W 57th | W 56th | W 55th | W 54th | W 53rd | W 52nd | W 51st | W 50th | W 49th | W 48th | W 47th | W 46th | W 45th | W 44th | W 43rd | W 42nd | W 41st | W 40th | W 39th | W 38th | W 37th | W 36th | W 35th | W 34th | W 33rd | W 31st | W 30th | W 29th | W 28th | W 27th | W 26th | W 25th | W 24th | W 23rd | W 22nd | W 21st | W 20th | W 19th | W 18th | W 17th | W 16th | W 15th | W 14th




West:

Concerto Apartments

2 (block): A 35-story building from 1991








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John Jay College

1 (block): CUNY's school of criminal justice, for police and associated professions. It's named for John Jay, president of the Continental Congress and co-author of the Federalist Papers. The college is built on the site of the Sloane Hospital for Women, where Nancy Reagan was born on July 6, 1921.



W <===     WEST 59TH STREET     ===> E

West:

John Jay College

899 (block): This adjunct to the college was completed in 1906 as the DeWitt Clinton High School, named for the New York governor who brought us the Erie Canal; C.B.J. Snyder did the Flemish Renaissance design.




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St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital

Formed by a 1979 merger of Roosevelt Hospital, which was founded in 1871 and located here, with St. Luke's, which dates back to 1846. (St. Luke according to tradition was a doctor.) The building here is a 1990 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill design, a 13-story cube described by the AIA Guide as "grandiosity without grace."



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W <===     WEST 57TH STREET     ===> E

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Interboro Institute

850 (block): A two-year business college founded in 1888.







W <===     WEST 55TH STREET     ===> E

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815 (corner): Parking garage

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W <===     WEST 54TH STREET     ===> E

West:

AT&T

811 (block): A "windowless colossus" (AIA Guide) that houses telephone switching equipment. A 1964 effort by Kahn & Jacobs.





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Sony Music Studios

Corner (460 W 54th): From 1992 until 2007, this was a recording and TV studio for Sony. Some of MTV Unplugged was taped here, including the Nirvana and Bob Dylan episodes. The U.S. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? started here in 1999.

792 (corner): Certified Auto Sales


W <===     WEST 53RD STREET     ===> E

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Corner (440 W 53rd): PS 111 Adolph S. Ochs, a K-8 school named for the publisher of the New York Times from 1896-1935.





766 (corner): J & N Records


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W <===     WEST 51ST STREET     ===> E

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747 (block): Hudsonview Terrace, a 38-story tan brick apartment tower from 1976.











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Columbus Branch NYPL

742: Opened in 1909 in this limestone Renaissance Revival building funded by Andrew Carnegie. The original collection came from the Columbus Catholic Club.

736: Druids Bar & Restaurant was the Sunbrite Bar, where Westies leaders Mickey Featherstone, Jimmy Coonan and Eddy "the Butcher" Cumminsky once showed off the severed genitals of one of their victims in a milk carton.


W <===     WEST 50TH STREET     ===> E

West:

725 (block): Skyline Hotel, formerly a Travelodge. Police dug up the grounds behind this hotel in 1979 in an unsuccessful search for victims of the Westies crime gang.






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W <===     WEST 49TH STREET     ===> E

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692: Perdition, bar with lots of beers on tap










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Block: There's a playground here.










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This was the northwest corner of the Eden Farm, which stretched to what is now 44th Street and 7th Avenue. John Jacob Astor bought the land in 1803 for $25,000; his son William Backhouse Astor developed it with brownstones in 1860, leaving this area with better housing stock than the surrounding tenements of Hell's Kitchen.

666: Hell's Kitchen Groom Room, pet care



W <===     WEST 46TH STREET     ===> E

West:










637: 10th Avenue Juke Box

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650: Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Restaurant

644: Saigon New York

642: Xth Avenue Lounge

640: Rosie Too




W <===     WEST 45TH STREET     ===> E

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630: Felix Coffee Shop; Lucky Wok Chinese Restaurant

626: Hallo Berlin, "New York's wurst restaurant"

622: 44 & X Hell's Kitchen, fancy comfort food




W <===     WEST 44TH STREET     ===> E

West:






601: Tovar's Restaurant

597: Gourmet Wok Chinese Restaurant


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598: Claudio Pizzeria

596: Mr. Biggs Bar & Grill


W <===     WEST 43RD STREET     ===> E

West:

Block: Strand Apartments








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Manhattan Plaza

This block-spanning project, built in 1977, was intended to provide housing for performing artists; 70 percent of its 3,000 residents are said to be theater people. Tennessee Williams moved here in 1978, but moved out three years later because he found it too noisy. Helen Hayes and Angela Lansbury have also lived here.



W <===     WEST 42ND STREET     ===> E

West:

Corner (500 W 42nd): One of the New York Fireproof Tenement Association's Model Tenements. Built c. 1900 to demonstrate fire-resistant architecture. Apparently they used to look nicer.






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Block (460 W 42nd): Univision, which controls much of the Spanish-language media in the U.S., used to be atop the former West Side Airlines Terminal. Looks like a UFO landed on the building. Later this was the first home of New York 1, informative local cable news channel, from 1992 until 2002.





W <===     WEST 41ST STREET     ===> E

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W <===     WEST 40TH STREET     ===> E

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Lincoln Tunnel

These on-ramps and off-ramps connect to the busiest vehicular tunnel in the world, handling 120,000 vehicles a day. Opened in 1937, it was the first major tunnel project to be completed without a single worker fatality.




W <===             WEST 39TH STREET             ===> E

West:

Block: Howard Marlboro Group Building










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Lincoln Tunnel











W <===             WEST 38TH STREET             ===> E

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493: Lulu's Parlor, three floors of dancing.


491: Gold Rush, rustic cabin-themed bar in a c. 1930 icehouse



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W <===             WEST 37TH STREET             ===> E

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475 (corner): Covered in creamy terracotta, this was the first McGraw-Hill Building, originally built for the Hill Publishing Company. Houses architects like Richard Meier and Gwathmey Siegel, as well as hotelier Ian Shrager. Past tenants include the Pei Partnership (I.M. Pei's successors) and Massimo Vignelli, who designed the New York subway map of the 1960s. The alternative gallery Exit Art is here.

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W <===             WEST 36TH STREET             ===> E

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W <===             WEST 35TH STREET             ===> E

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W <===             WEST 34TH STREET             ===> E

The boundary of Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen

West:











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410: Detective Mike Hammer lived here in the 1957 TV show of the same name.

406 (block): The Kaufman Building







W <===             WEST 33RD STREET             ===> E

West:

John D. Carmmerer Westside Yard

Train yards for the LIRR and MTA. Named for a New York state senator who headed the transportation committee.

Plans for a new Manhattan sports stadium envision putting it here, with the train yard remaining underneath.











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Mid-Town Mart Building

Block (450 W. 33rd): This building-- built in 1970 as the Westyard Distribution Center-- is home to the New York Daily News, U.S. News & World Report and public TV station WNET. It used to be topped by a skating rink known as Skyrink--now moved to Chelsea Piers.


WEST 31ST ST         E ===>






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Morgan Processing and Distribution Center

Twenty million pieces of mail for Manhattan and the Bronx are processed at this Postal Service facility every day. Built 1933; James A. Wetmore, architect. During the anthrax attacks of 2001, spores were discovered in barcoding machines here; despite a lawsuit from the postal union, the building was never shut down for cleaning.


W <===             WEST 29TH STREET             ===> E

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314 (block): Abandoned-looking building is Morgan South, an annex to the main post office that is used for mail transport and sorting operations. An employee explains that it looks abandoned in part because of "the grafitti-proof paint they used: Spray-paint doesn't stick to it ... and it doesn't stick very well to anything else, i.e. the structure itself."





<===           WEST 28TH STREET           ===>

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299: Bongo, retro oyster bar

297 (corner): Brite Bar, noted for its complicated mixed drinks.

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Chelsea Park










<===           WEST 27TH STREET           ===>

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293: Paul Kasmin Gallery shows Frank Stella, Robert Indiana, etc. This stretch of 10th Avenue runs through the middle of New York's Gallery District, relocated from Soho to Chelsea during the 1990s--though most of the galleries are on the cross streets.

289: Club-of-the-moment Marquee.


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<===           WEST 26TH STREET           ===>

West:

259-273: Built c. 1900 for the H. Wolff Book Bindery, this building was one of the first made of concrete poured in place.







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258: Was Joe's Tavern

254: Cabo Rojo, noted for its pig-feet stew

252: From Earth to You cafe






<===           WEST 25TH STREET           ===>

West:

253: Pepe Giallo to Go, affordable Italian





245: Oddly angled stainless-steel clad condo building constructed in 2008-09.

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242-258: The AIA Guide says this row of commercial buildings is straight out of an Edward Hopper painting. No. 246 is Bottino, a hip gallery-area restaurant.


<===           WEST 24TH STREET           ===>

West:

227: Red Cat, hip Meditteranean/American; Zagat says it's one of the best in Chelsea.








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London Terrace Apartments

Block: 1,670 units built 1930. Built over and named for an 1845 strip of Greek Revival houses, aka "Millionaires' Row," designed by Alexander Jackson Davis.





<===           WEST 23RD STREET           ===>

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207: Izakaya Ten, stylish little Japanese, replaced D'or Ahn, French/Korean

205: Tia Pol, tiny tapas joint. Time Out recommends the fried chickpeas.

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214: Don Giovanni brick-oven pizza

Empire Diner

210 (corner): Classic railroad car diner dates back to 1943. Featured in Manhattan as a New York icon--also in Men In Black.


<===           WEST 22ND STREET           ===>

West:



195: Printed Matter Inc., a non-profit that showcases publications made by artists

Church of the Guardian Angel

193 (corner): Built 1930 in Italian Romanesque style. Fascinating stone carvings.

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192: 192 Books is an independent bookstore opened in 2003.



<===           WEST 21ST STREET           ===>

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General Theological Seminary

The oldest seminary of the Episcopal church, GTS was founded in 1817 and built here on land donated in 1822 by local landowner Clement Clarke Moore-- credited with the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas"--who also taught Greek and Bible studies at the seminary.



<===           WEST 20TH STREET           ===>

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156: Cookshop features a flexible greenmarket-based menu and a wood-burning rotisserie.


146 (corner): Moran's Chelsea, classic Irish restaurant in an 1853 building.


<===           WEST 19TH STREET           ===>

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138: Cohan and Leslie gallery


132: Alexander and Bonin gallery

130: La Luncheonette is pretty pricey for a luncheonette. (I guess that's what "La" means.)


<===           WEST 18TH STREET           ===>

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118: The Park, models' hangout. Used to be a taxi garage, and still has the sign.

116A: Earth NYC, Indian street food

Corner (457 W 17th): Red Rock West Saloon, a raucous bar noted for sexy bartenders. Opened in 1996; formerly the East Boondock restaurant.


<===           WEST 17TH STREET           ===>

West:

The High Line

Corner: Bridging the avenue here is a disused elevated railroad that was used to transport freight along the Westside waterfront, replacing the street-level tracks at 10th and 11th avenues that earned those roads the nickname "Death Avenue." Built in 1929 at a cost of $150 million (more than $2 billion in today's dollars), it originally stretched from 35th Street to St. John's Park Terminal, now the Holland Tunnel rotary. Partially torn down in 1960 and abandoned in 1980, it now stretches from Gansevoort almost to 34th--mostly running mid-block, so built to avoid dominating an avenue with an elevated platform. In its abandonment, the High Line became something of a natural wonder, overgrown with weeds and even trees, accessible only to those who risk tresspassing on CSX Railroad property. Plans are underway to turn it into a park, open to the public; it will be a tricky balancing act to add safety and amenities without sacrificing the lost ruin quality that makes it so cool.

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<===           WEST 16TH STREET           ===>

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85: Franks Restaurant




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88: Chelsea Thai





<===           WEST 15TH STREET           ===>

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70: Chelsea Carwash and Lube Center, cheap oil changes.


<===           WEST 14TH STREET           ===>
The boundary between the Village and Chelsea.





Is your favorite Tenth Avenue spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

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