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Eight blocks from Madison Square, where the
original version was located, this 20,000-seat arena,
the home of the New York Knicks, Rangers and
Liberty, is the fourth building and the third location
to bear the name. Joe Frazier defeated Mohammed Ali here March 8,
1971; Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect 10 here March 28,
Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra,
Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Pope John Paul II have
all performed here; the Grateful Dead played here
52 times, a record broken by Elton John in 2001.
John Lennon's last performance was here, as a
surprise guest at an Elton John concert, in 1974. The
Democratic conventions of 1976, 1980 and 1992 were
Many people think of Madison Square Garden, however,
as one of New York City's greatest architectural crimes--
because it was built by tearing down the old
Station, a glorious 1910 structure modeled on the
Roman Baths of Caracalla, considered to be architect
Charles McKim's greatest masterpiece. (Ironically,
McKim partner Stanford White's greatest work was
the second Madison Square Garden, demolished
in 1925.) Protests by architects and preservationists
did not prevent the station's 1963 destruction--though
the loss did help spark landmark laws to protect other
treasures. Statues of eagles from the station can be
seen on the east side of the Garden; there used to be 22
of them, all of them by sculptor Adolph A. Weinman,
who also carved statues representing Night and Day that
accompanied a 7-foot-wide clock at the station's
32nd Street entrance.
In the basement of the Garden is the new Penn Station,
one of Manhattan's two major rail terminals--along with
a 48-lane bowling alley. Architect
Louis I. Kahn died of
a heart attack at the station in 1974--his unidentified
body remaining in the morgue for several days.
The Garden's office tower is the location
of Disney/ABC radio flagship
WABC--this is where
Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, among other
right-wing broadcasters, do their shows.
WPLJ radio is based here too.
On July 15, 1863, during the Draft Riots, two cannons
were fired repeatedly from this intersection into a crowd of some
144: St Francis of Asissi Church;
National Shrine of St Anthony of Padua.
Though Francis is associated with nature,
he told his followers to go into the cities,
since that's where help was needed the most.
138: Arome Cafe
134: Willoughby's, photography store
132: Harp Bar & Restaurant
was the Cottage Restaurant from
1926 to the early 1970s. The building also housed
G. Schoepfer Glass Eyes--serving opticians and taxidermists alike.
126: Rosa's Pizza
116: Weber Designer and Brand Name Closeouts;
connects to mall via skyway; built in 1925,
it was designed by the same company that
did the Empire State Building.
110: Jack's 99 Cent Stores, "the Bloomingdale
of Dollar Stores." Nice building, impressive sign.
108: Was the address of the Cremorne, a
basement dance hall of the Tenderloin era
that was "one of the most abandoned dives
of the period" (Gangs of New York).
Next door was another
establishment of the same name, which
was not a saloon but a reform mission
run by reformed gambler Jerry McAuley,
who tended to lock the doors and preach
at those who wandered in by mistake.
106: Blarney Stone Bar & Restaurant;
Shanghai Food is noted for its fried dumplings.
104: Amsterdam Boutique, factory outlet;
100 (corner): American Burger & Co.
Corner (401 7th Ave): This 1919 hotel , designed by McKim, Mead &
White for the Pennsylvania Railroad, was a favorite
for touring musicians of the big band era--in part
because it, like the bands, was integrated, something few hotels
were in those days--leading to the immortalization
of its phone number in the Glenn Miller song
"Pennsylvania 6-5000." Miller, along with jazz greats
like Duke Ellington, Count Basie and the Dorsey Brothers,
used to play at the Cafe Rouge Ballroom.
Land demonstrated his Polaroid camera here on
February 21, 1947;
Frank Olson, a U.S. Army
biowarfare expert, jumped to his death from the
10th floor after being unwittingly dosed with
LSD as part of the CIA's MKULTRA program.
The hotel has also operated
under the names New York Penta and Statler.
It houses the Penn Plaza Pavilion and a Lindy's--
good for fans of Damon Runyon and overpriced
169: Cafe Pom Pom, on the side of the Hotel Pennsylvania.
149: Odd-Job Trading, discount store named for a James Bond villain.
Corner: Used to be Gimbel's
department store, Macy's chief rival ("Does
Macy's tell Gimbel's?"). Designed by Daniel
Burnham, of Flatiron fame, and built 1908-12;
turned into a glassed-in post-modern mall
in 1987-89. One of the most un-Manhattan spots
Corner (894 6th Ave): Y & J Rainbow Jewelry
Corner (1271 Broadway): Video Camera City;
Tie World; Speedy's restaurant
This triangular square is named for
Horace Greeley, the founder of
the New York Tribune. Though chiefly remembered
as the guy who said "Go west, young man" (which
was not actually his line), Greeley
was actually one of the most influential journalists
in American history. An advocate of social
reform (Karl Marx was a European correspodent),
Greeley supported abolition, worker's rights and
(yes) Western settlement. As a reporter covering
Congress in 1855, he was given a concussion by the
cane of pro-slavery House Speaker Albert Rust.
He helped found the Republican Party and was
instrumental in making Abraham Lincoln the
1860 candidate. Surprisingly, he was the 1872 Democratic
candidate for president; he was trounced by U.S. Grant
and died a month later.
The statue of Greeley in a chair is an 1890 work
by Alexander Doyle. The square was dedicated in 1894.
In the movie Hospitality, made in 1923 but set in 1830, Buster Keaton on a proto-bicycle waits
at this intersection--then a crossing of two country roads--for a buggy to pass. "Gettin' dangerous out
here," a sherriff remarks.
Koreatown, or Little Korea, is a thriving
ethnic enclave which has mostly developed since
1980. 32nd Street is its main drag, where many
of the restaurants are open 24 hours, in part to
accommodate the long hours of the city's Korean
Corner (1250 Broadway: Big glass tower houses Woori America,
a Korean bank. KangSuh, 24-hour Korean BBQ, is in the same building.
(Korean BBQ involves cooking lots of meat on a grill at your table.)
Previously on this lot was the
Imperial Hotel, very fashionable when it
opened in 1890.
40: U.S. Post Office's Greeley Square Station--
the back entrance, which is closed.
38: Commodore Matthew Perry, who forced Japan
to trade with the U.S., lived at this address from 1855 until his death in 1858.
34-36: Cafeteria Super32 Deli; Seoul Garden; Coo Coo Ba-r
32: The Bergdorf Building houses New York Kom Tang Kalbi House,
the oldest Korean (and Japanese) restaurant on the block, established 1979.
This was the address of Bergdorf and Goodman,
a tailor/dressmaking shop that became the famous
30: Sang Choon Chinese & Korean Restaurant;
Kum Ryang Hand Made Noodle House
28: This well-utilized space includes the
West Front Coffee Shop, the Karaoke Box, the
PC Bang Net Zone Internet Cafe, the Forte Restaurant and
22: Sun Plaza; Korean variety store
16-20: Universal Building houses the
a Korean-American lender; previously the Industrial Bank of Korea
was here. Also at this address is the
SALAAM Theatre, a South Asian arts group.
Note beaver carving above the westerly entrance.
12: Woorijip Authentic Korean Food,
a tasty 24-hour buffet
10: Chung Moo Ro barbecue is named
for Korea's Hollywood and has a movie-themed decor; it
replaced Joon & Her BBQ. Upstairs is the all-night Yi Pak Spa,
Hen Yang Spa Men's Massage, Sheri Video-Book and the private
club Bear House.
6: Red Roof Inn houses Pica Pica--formerly Opane--
for Hello Kitty and other Japanese stuff.
2: Pho 32 & Shabu, stylish restaurant,
was formerly Cafe Metro;
Oz Deli is a hole in the wall that sells handmade Kim Bob--a K-Town bargain.
Mandoo Bar features dumplings, which you can watch being
made through the window. Empire Net Cafe and
the Lee Young Hee Museum, displaying traditional
Korean costume, are upstairs.
Corner (318 5th Ave): Includes Ajooma Boutique, a
Korean/Japanese CD store and Ping Xiy, which sells hair geegaws.
53 (corner): Built from 1897-1911 and named for its
owner, William R.H. Martin. Designed
in French Renaissance style by Henry
Hardenbergh, architect of The Plaza and The Dakota. Went
through a bad spell as a forbidding homeless shelter; now
refurbished by the Holiday Inn chain. The restaurant on the
corner, Diner on the Square, has closed.
49: Kum Gang San, another 24-hour BBQ joint,
may be the best on the block.
43: Hotel Stanford also houses the Asian bakery Cafe Muse, formerly
Pari Pari Ko; the Maxim Lounge & Bar, featuring karaoke; and Gahm Mi
Oak, a restaurant whose kimchi and ox-tail soup is said to be a
39: Cici drugstore; Kakaboka hair salon
37: Was Whitey's Hardware & Paint
35: Koryo Books, one of the first pioneers
of Koreatown; also Shine 32, funky jewelry
31: Koryod@ng Bakery, hi-tech pastries
25: Han Ah Reum Asianmart. No tour
to K-Town is complete without a visit to this amazing
Korean supermarket, filled with parallel-universe products.
Upstairs is Juvenex 24-hour spa; Chorus karaoke bar.
23: Won Jo, more 24-hour Korean BBQ.
Grammy Karaoke is upstairs.
17: La Quinta Inn was the 1890s' Hotel Aberdeen,
noted for its awesome neo-Baroque entrance. Includes
the restaurant Dae Dong, which replaced Don Bogam BBQ.
15: Was Migliore
11: Liberty Bank of New York;
9: KunJip Korean restaurant; A Rang sushi buffet replaced
the bar Blue.
7: Koryo Video is well-stocked with
the products of Asia's hottest cinema.
5: K. Moon & Star Inc.
Corner (320 5th Ave): Magid Handbags; since 1901.
Corner (315 5th Ave): GalleriA, European fashions;
Crazy Bananas, frozen yogurt. On the third
floor is the Third Floor Cafe. This was the
Paul Durand-Ruel, an art dealer that provided European
Impressionists for American millionaires.
6: Todai Sushi & Seafood Buffet (formerly Minado) was
earlier Restaurant Empire
12: Hangawi, a temple-like
vegetarian that Zagat calls the best Korean in the city
16: Avalon Hotel, with Avalon Bar & Grill
and the Merlin Room bar.
''Large rooms and old-world charm''--Time Out.
Corner: Remsen Building is in the Gothic style.
Corner (319 5th Ave): The Brooklyn Bagel
Cafe is on the corner; the building also contains
the sci-fi-styled Space 212 Cafe, which seems
to be connected to the Step 'N' Dance
DDR/Pump/Smoothie Bar, combining fruit drinks
with a video workout. Plus there's the Ishihama
9: A modern building was wrapped around
an older apartment house here.
11-13: Handsome 12-story apartment c. 1900
was called Stratford House.
15: Don Bogam BBQ & Wine Bar moved here from
the Hotel Stanford.
21: aAte hair salon
Corner (152 Madison): Safavieh was R. Banilivi Oriental Rugs
Corner (149 Madison): The Steel Building is
mostly brick, oddly enough.
30: Demetrious Coffee & Deli
32: Korean bar that seems to have no
Hotel Grand Union, opened c. 1904 as the Hotel St. Louis. A nice-looking
building--Tony's Burger on the ground floor
has been upgraded to the Captain Cafe.
38: Sam Shamoulian Inc. Rugs
44: Ebisons Harounian Imports (Oriental rugs)
Corner (470 Park Ave S): Workbench Furniture
is in the Schwarzenbach Buildings--named for
Schwarzenbach Looms, makers of Darbrook Silks. Check
out the charming clock on the Park Avenue side--it's surrounded
by bas relief leaves, caterpillars and butterflies,
and is topped by a wizard and a blacksmith. The
Darbrook Silks mosaic above is pretty cool, too.
Corner (153 Madison): Safavieh Carpets
29: Originally the headquarters of the
The Grolier Club, an organization of
book collectors and graphics arts enthusiasts--
named for a Renaissance bibliophile. The building,
built in 1889 to a Charles Romeyn design, is
an official landmark, noted for its dramatic
arches. Now known as The Madison, when I last
checked the building was for sale.
31: K. Asadourian rugs; another
rug company, International Ravissant, was upstairs.
33: Mendez Boxing
Corner (2 Park Avenue): Lewis Mumford called this
Art Deco skyscraper "the boldest and
clearest note among all our recent
achievements in skyscraper architecture."
Built on the site of the fashionable Park Avenue Hotel,
which was originally constructed by retail
tycoon A.T. Stewart as an ultra-strict
Houses the bistro/
fromagerie/wine bar Artisinal--great if you
love cheese, apparently, but expensive--as
well as Lane's Floor Coverings.
475 (corner): This 35-floor
1969 building has a plaza sculpture,
Triad by Irving Marantz, based on the Picasso
painting Three Musicians.
114: Thomsan Office Supply; R.V. Cole Fine
116: Was the address of Engineering Magazine.
120: Cool little building houses
Mainchance, a service agency for the homeless
community around Grand Central--publishes Big News.
128: Listone Giordano Hardwood Flooring
Corner (192 Lexington): Ethan Allen furniture
Corner (1 Park Avenue): This 19-story building was designed in 1926 by
York & Sawyer, who did the Bowery Savings Bank on 42nd Street and Broadway's
Greenwich Savings Bank. The publisher Henry Holt used to have its offices here.
On the ground floor now is India's Bank of Baroda.
When steam locomotives were banned below 42nd Street in 1858, the horses that pulled
the trains from there to the depot at 27th Street were stabled here. Eventually the
railroad built Grand Central Terminal at 42nd Street to avoid the bother.
Corner (200 Lexington): A resource center for interior designers and architects; the
New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects is
based here. Built in 1926 as the New York Furniture Exchange.
Corner (195 Lexington):
Gothic Cabinet Craft;
local handmade furniture chain
150-160: Windsor Court Medical Pavilion;
associated with big apartment complex.
Corner (205 Lexington): Philip Engel; furniture
145: Artemus Interiors
153: The Atrium East apartments, a converted
loft or stable
157: L'Isola Condominium; was the address of
the Daily Racing Form.
165: The Byron apartments, c. 1960
200 (Corner): The Future; high-rise apartments.
This is what the future looked like in 1992: quirky
balconies and a nice little public plaza.
Corner: La Bella's
207: Former Tammany Central Association clubhouse,
built c. 1910, is cute in its attempt to be impressive.
Now is home to
Milton Glaser, Inc., creator of the "I Heart
NY" logo. Bears the motto "Art is Work."
241: Office of Tibet/Tibet Fund
251: Riverview East apartments
Kips Bay Plaza
Block: The two 21-story exposed-concrete slabs
were built 1960-65 to an I.M. Pei design.
There's a strip mall on the 2nd Avenue side
that includes the Loews Kip's Bay multiplex.