New York Songlines: 46th Street

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HUDSON RIVER



U.S.S. Intrepid

This aircraft carrier, now a museum, played a key role in the Pacific during World War II, later assisted with recovery of NASA missions, then served as a platform for attacks on Vietnam.


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618: Pacha, part of an international chain of dance clubs. The space, from 1996 until 2004, was the second incarnation of Sound Factory.







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Landmark Tavern

Corner (626 11th Avenue): A dark Irish restaurant that has changed little since 1868.

536: Salvation Army Thrift Store, built as the Acker, Merrall & Condit Company c. 1910.

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452-458 (corner): The Piano Factory was built for the Wessell, Nickel & Gross Company --which made piano innards-- in 1888, and converted to apartments in 1979.



May Mathews Playground

The mid-block playground here has Mexican-inspired murals by Arnold Belkin that go back to 1973, and mosaics from 1974 by Philip Danzig. The park saw the beginnings the Capeman Murders incident in 1959-- see across the street.

420: Clinton Court is a partially hidden courtyard.


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449: Robert Young, a local youth, died here after being stabbed in the playground here on August 29, 1959, by a gang that called itself The Vampires, in an incident that came to be known as the Capeman Murders --later inspiring a musical by Paul Simon.

445-447: Anthony Krzesinski, another victim of the Capeman Murders, died here after being taken upstairs.

423: In 1870, the Faith Chapel of the West Presbyterian Church was built here, a Gothic design by Edward D. Lindsey. It later became St. Cornelius Church, then St. Clement's, both Epicopalian. It was repurposed as the American Place Theatre, aka Playhouse 46, now known as Theater at St. Clement's.


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352: The Lyric, 6-story apartment building designed c. 1904 by George F. Pelham, was originally called the Lansdown.

Restaurant Row

The many restaurants on this block cater to a pre-theater crowd.

346: Grand Sea Palace features Danny's Skylight Room

340: Le Rivage, one of the more affordable places on Restaurant Row

334: O'Flaherty's Ale House, Irish food and drink

332: Rhoda's apartment in the TV show Rhoda

Joe Allen

326: Long-time theater hangout

322: Orso, opened in 1983, noted for Broadway stars

320: B. Smith's New York, "global eclectic"

300: Kyma, Greek

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365: Firebird, opulent Russian

361: Lattenzi, Rome-style Italian, has the best food on Restaurant Row, says Zagat.

355: Becco, one of the more affordable Italians on Restaurant Row

Don't Tell Mama

343: One of the leading venues for cabaret music in New York City.









Barbetta

321: A restaurant described as "well-established" in 1939, and as "one of the better moderate-priced Italian places" in 1940. Featured in Woody Allen movies Alice and Celebrity.

313: La Rivista


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The eastern boundary of Hell's Kitchen

South:

264: Broadway Inn









Richard Rodgers Theater

226: This 1924 design by Herbert J. Krapp was originally Chanin's Forty-Sixth Street Theater. Guys and Dolls debuted here.

224: Was The Grotto, post-war Italian.



216: Was Dinty Moore's, a famous lunchroom which became a brand name for packaged stew. Described in 1940 as having "perfect American food at high prices." The place was made famous by the comic strip Bringing Up Father, where it was the title character's favorite eatery. Crusty owner Jim "Dinty" Moore once kicked playwright George S. Kaufman out for ordering a hamburger without onions, exclaiming, "I don't tell you how to write your goddamned plays and you don't tell me how to cook my hamburgers!"

210: Address of the old Helen Hayes Theatre, built in 1911 as the Folies-Bergere and later the Fulton, where Bela Lugosi played Dracula and Audrey Hepburn played Gigi.

New York Marriott Marquis

dsc01681 by Adam Comerford, on Flickr

Corner (1535 Broadway): When this glitzy mammoth was built in 1981-85--the first major new hotel in Times Square in 75 years--it destroyed five classic theaters: the Astor, Bijou, Gaiety, Morosco and the old Helen Hayes. (The Marriott did add one new theater--The Marquis.) This wanton destruction led to a wave of landmarking in the Theater District. The design is by John Portman, noted for similar hotels around the country.

The facade of the hotel features a huge electronic sign for Bank of America, and an enormous ad for Kodak.

In the movie True Lies, Arnold Schwarzenegger rides a horse on this building and almost falls off the edge.

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Paramount Hotel

235: This 1928 Thomas W. Lamb hotel was given a stylish makeover in the 1980s by Philippe Starck. In the 1930s there was a nightclub here called the Diamond Horseshoe, noted in the WPA Guide for its "elaborate show." Now it's home to the Whiskey bar.

Church of Scientology

227: The religion started by sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard is housed in what was once the National Vaudeville Artists Club, where Cary Grant (then Archie Leach) lived while he tried to break into show biz in the 1920s. In the 1970s, the Seventh Day Adventists had their New York headquarters here.

225: Was Bal Tabarin, a nightclub noted in the WPA Guide for its "Montmartre atmosphere."

221: Sofia's

219: The Hotel Edison Cafe is noted for its Magic Table, where professional illusions gather to amaze one another.

Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

205: A Rococo palazzo built in 1909-10 by Carrere & Hastings as the Globe Theater. The Sound of Music had its first long run here. Sarah Bernhardt, Fred Astaire, Fanny Brice and namesake Lynn Fontanne have all played this stage.

201: Gaiety Male Burlesk was classic Times Square sleaze--seems to be closed now. It was also known as the Orpheum Dance Palace and the Kings Theater.

Howard Johnson's

Howard Johnson's Times Square by Adry Long, on Flickr

Corner: This was not only the last HoJo's in New York--it was one of the last in the entire country. Missed for its cocktails and Americana. It was once a Child's.

Upstairs was the Gaiety, a gay burlesque house. Earlier it was the New Paris, with live sex shows; before that, from 1917-64, it was the Orpheum Dance Palace, New York's most famous dime-a-dance joint. Here in 1923, when it was known as Wilson's Dancing Studio, novelist Henry Miller met his second wife, June Mansfield.

Rheba Brown, the Salvation Army's "Angel of Broadway" who was the inspiration for Guys and Dolls' Sarah Brown, used to hold her street rallies at this corner.


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The traffic island in Times Square between 46th and 45th Street is the site of Times Square, a sound installation by Max Neuhaus.

This is the intersection where Giselle emerges from the manhole in the movie Enchanted.



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Duffy Square

NYC: Duffy Square - Father Duffy Statue by wallyg, on Flickr

This triangular traffic island is named in honor of Father Francis P. Duffy, who after serving as chaplain to the "Fighting 69th" Division in World War I helped to clean up Hell's Kitchen. He was also Broadway's spiritual advisor, which is why his statue can be found here, next to a Celtic cross. Give my regards to Broadway by Jeff Tabaco, on Flickr

Also here is George M. Cohan, forever giving his regards to Broadway.

In 1909, a 50-foot statue of Purity was erected here. It lasted two months.

At the north end of the island is the TKTS booth, offering half-priced tickets to selected plays on the day of the show. See images.


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150: Le Marais, French steakhouse

146: Was the address of Xochitl, Mexican. A 1940 restaurant guide exclaimed, "The food is as good as the name is unpronounceable!"

130: The Muse Hotel houses District, New American

Fame School

120: The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School for International Careers was built in 1894-95 as PS 67 (designed by C.B.J. Snyder), but its best rememembered for its time as the High School for the Performing Arts, setting of the movie and TV show Fame. The school's many notable real-life alumni include Al Pacino, Eartha Kitt, Liza Minelli, Wesley Snipes and Freddie Prinze.

Corner (1177 6th Ave): Americas Tower, a 50-story post-modern office building with an Art Deco style, was started in 1988 but not completed until 1994--the delay in part caused by litigation around the estate of Ferdinand Marcos, who was one of the project's backers.

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Corner: The I. Miller Building, finished in 1929, features sculptures of leading ladies by A. Stirling Calder: Mary Pickford as Little Lord Fauntleroy, Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia, tap dancer Marilyn Miller as Sunny and opera singer Rosa Ponselle as Norma. The former shoe store also bears the motto, "The Show Folks Shoe Shop Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear." Now it's yet another TGI Friday's.

155: Afghan Kebab House, local mini-chain

145: Church of St. Mary the Virgin, an 1895 design by Napoleon le Brun, is the world's first church with a concealed steel frame.





Corner (1185 6th Ave): The 40-story Stevens Tower is a 1971 work of Emery Roth & Sons. The J.P. Stevens Company, founded in 1813 to make fabric during the War of 1812, is now part of WestPoint Stevens.


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70 (corner): The site of the Columbia Hotel, where poet Delmore Schwartz died from a heart attack on July 11, 1966, at the age of 52.


16: The Museum of Costume Art opened here in 1937.

10: Kosher Deluxe, noted for its shawarma

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29: Irving Berlin lived in this building from 1922-1930, where he wrote "Puttin' on the Ritz," among others.


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The Big Map has a photo tour of 46th Street from here to 1st Avenue.

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Before 5th Avenue was built up, the city's slaughterhouse district lay between 5th and 4th (Park) avenues from 46th to 44th streets.











Corner (366 Madison): Jos. A. Bank clothing store

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Corner: HMV Records; the British chain's name stands for "His Master's Voice." Corner (374 Madison): This was the original site of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which gave us the word "ritzy" and the song "Puttin' on the Ritz" (not to mention Ritz crackers). It opened in 1910, designed by Charles Wetmore and financed by real estate scion Robert Walton Goelet. Featured Castle House, the dance school run by Vernon and Irene Castle. This was the site of lush coming-out parties for "Poor Little Rich Girl" Barbara Hutton, in 1930, and Brenda Frazier, "Glamour Girl No. 1," in 1938. It was home to singer Al Jolson, editor Harold Ross and gambler Arnold Rothstein. Closed in 1951, the hotel was torn down in 1957.


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Hotel Roosevelt

Block (45 E 45th): Opened in 1924, designed by George B. Post & Sons and named for Theodore Roosevelt, who had died five years earlier. Guy Lombardo began his New Year's Eve concerts here in 1929, starting a tradition that moved to the Waldorf-Astoria in 1963. Republican candidate Thomas Dewey had his 1948 election headquarters here, where supporters celebrated his "victory" on election night. Owned by PIA, the Pakistan national airline.

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Corner (383 Madison): Bear Stearns World Headquarters are housed in this 44-floor, octagonal Skidmore, Owings & Merrill tower, completed in 2001.








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New York Central Building

230: The original name of this 1929 Warren & Wetmore building; when it was changed to ''New York General Building,'' only two stone-carved letters needed to be altered. Later renamed the Helmsley Building by the Queen of Mean.

On September 10, 1931, capo de tutti capi Salvatore Maranzano was murdered in his ninth-floor office here by hitmen sent by Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese, ambitious underlings whom Maranzano had hired Vincent ''Mad Dog'' Coll to kill.


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Block (466 Lexington): Park Avenue Atrium, built in 1984 around a huge glassed-in courtyard.




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Block (250 Park): The Postum Building, named for the cereal company, is a 1925 Cross & Cross design whose smallish block (truncated by Vanderbilt Avenue) has saved it from demolition and replacement with a gigantic glass structure--so it gives some idea of the "Terminal City" which once surrounded Grand Central. Now houses the Marine Midland Trust Co.


PARK AVENUE           ===> N

Block (245 Park): This 1967 building is by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, better known for designing the Empire State Building. It houses the Bear Stearns investment bank.

The Lexington corner was the site of the Grand Central Palace, which hosted in April 1917 the First Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists. Dadaist art critic Arthur Cravan was arrested there for shouting obscenities and undressing during a lecture. Later it served as New York City's main induction center for World War II draftees.


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On July 14, 1863, on the second day of the Draft Riots, Superintendent of Police John A. Kennedy got out of his wagon here and was beaten nearly to death by a mob.

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136: This was the address of the title character in the show Love, Sidney, who was arguably the first gay lead character on TV.

140 (corner): The Gilford, a 15-story neo-Georgian apartment building designed by Emery Roth in 1923, built on the site of the Gilford mansion.

146: Nanni, Northern Italian, gets a high score for food from Zagat.

152: D'Artagnan

160: Patroon, expensive New American with a rooftop cigar terrace. A patroon was a Dutch landowner in New Amsterdam.

Corner (720 3rd Ave): Teachers Insurance Building

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135: The address of Robert Van Wyck, the first mayor (1899-1901) of Greater New York (the consolidated five buroughs), elected with the slogan "To Hell With Reform." He gave a two-sentence inauguration speech and never again spoke in public during his term. Has an expressway named for him.






Corner (750 3rd Ave): A 34-story building completed in 1958, designed by Emery Roth & Sons.

John Gotti and Sammy the Bull Gravano waited on this corner in their Lincoln for their hit on Big Paul Castellano to be carried out. (See below.)


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The western boundary of Turtle Bay

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Corner (733 3rd Ave): Sun America Building. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, founded in 1946, is based here, as is the American Foundation for AIDS Research.

The secret organization U.N.C.L.E. was located on this block (at least in the 1966-67 spinoff, The Girl From U.N.C.L.E.).

Sparks Steakhouse

210: On December 16, 1985, outside of this restaurant, Gambino boss Big Paul Costellano and his bodyguard were murdered on the orders of John Gotti. The killing gave Gotti Costellano's job, making him the modern era's most talked-about crime lord, and later put him in prison for life in 1992.

The steaks are supposed to be pretty good, too.

244: Grifone has the neighborhood's best food, according to Zagat.

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Corner (747 3rd Ave): This was the site of the U.S. Provost Marshal's Office, where on July 11, 1863, a Civil War draft lottery was started. Two days later the building was burnt down, sparking the Draft Riots, the bloodiest unrest in New York's history.

Today it's the site of a 37-story building developed by Mel Kaufman--"the city's greatest pioneer for creating a humane, interesting, surprising public environment" (City Review). This 1972 Emery Roth-designed building--which houses the New York bureau of the Canadian Broadcasting Company and the Australian Broadcasting Company--features an undulating sidewalk, exposed ductwork reminiscent of the film Brazil, and a sculpture of a nude woman that can be glimpsed between the revolving doors.

237: In the TV show Nero Wolfe, Wolfe's assistant Archie Goodwin lived at this address.

225: Executive House, a beige-brick apartment building of the 1960s.


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300 (corner): Envoy Towers; there was an explosion in this apartment highrise in 1974, caused by gas leaking from a neighboring building. Don Veilia is the restaurant on the ground floor; was The Captain's Table.

310: Turtle Bay Towers, a 1929 commercial loft building converted to luxury apartments with glassed-in terraces. Also damaged in the 1974 explosion.

330: Ambassador East, a white-brick building with another diplomatic monicker.

342: Marichu, Basque

Corner (821 1st Ave): The U.N. missions of Turkey and Bangladesh are at this address.

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345: The New York address of the Trilateral Commission, formerly a popular subject of conspiracy theories. Perhaps coincidentally, the shadowy conspirators on The X-Files used to meet at an undisclosed address on East 46th Street.

Corner (823 1st Ave): The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith is in a 1953 building put up for the Carnegie Endowment International Center. Founded in 1913 as a broad-based civil rights group, the ADL increasingly tends to make support for Israel its sole litmus test-- honoring Italy's Silvio Berlusconi despite his praise for Mussolini, for example.


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United Nations Headquarters

This land, formerly used by slaughterhouses, gas works and the like, was going to be developed by William Zeckendorf into a futuristic housing/retail complex called X-City. When that fell through, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. gave the U.N. the money to buy it for its headquarters, to spare New York the embarrassment of having the world organization base itself in Philadelphia instead. The land is now considered international territory, not part of the United States.

Construction began in 1947, following the design of an international architectural committee, with Switzerland's Le Corbusier probably the most famous and influential member.





Is your favorite 46th Street spot missing? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

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