New York Songlines: 52nd Street

Including Swing Street

12th Ave | 11th Ave | 10th Ave | 9th Ave | 8th Ave | 7th Ave | Broadway | 6th Ave (21 Club) | 5th Ave | Madison | Park Ave (Seagram Building) | Lexington | 3rd Ave | 2nd Ave | 1st Ave


HUDSON RIVER









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DeWitt Clinton Park

This park, opened in 1905, is named for U.S. senator, NYC mayor and New York governor DeWitt Clinton, best remembered as the politician most responsible for the Erie Canal, which connected the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean and ensured New York City's place as the commercial capital of the United States. He was also the first president of the New-York Historical Society.

The park gave its name to the surrounding neighborhood, Clinton, adopted as a euphemism for Hell's Kitchen.

The playground here is the Erie Canal Playground, named for Clinton's greatest accomplishment.

Maria's Perennial Garden features 19th Century flowers as well as those that attract butterflies and bees.

The Clinton War Memorial known as Flanders Fields (for the John McCrae poem inscribed on its pedestal) features a doughboy statue by Burt W. Johnson; it was dedicated in 1929 as a memorial to the neighborhood's World War I dead.


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Corner: Clinton Housing Preservation & Development








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416: Gene Tunney, the first heavyweight boxer to retire as champ, was born here on May 25, 1898--moving to Perry Street at the age of three months.

Corner (415 W 51st St): St. Clare Hospital opened c. 1934, closed in 2007 (after becoming part of St. Vincent's).

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766 (corner): J & N Records










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348: Therapy, happening gay bar

Howard Johnson Plaza

Corner (851 8th Ave): Political activist Angela Davis was arrested here on October 13, 1970, after fleeing charges of murder and kidnapping two months earlier. She was acquitted on all counts in 1972.

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The eastern boundary of Hell's Kitchen

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260 (corner): The Ellington seems to be both a hotel and an apartment building.

256: Russian Samovar, restaurant

Neil Simon Theatre

250: A Herbert J. Krapp theater built in 1927, named the Alvin Theatre after original owners Alex Aarons and Vinton Freedley. Though it was renamed the Neil Simon Theatre in 1983 on the strength of his Brighton Beach Memoirs premiering here (it subsequently was home to his Biloxi Blues and Jake's Women), it's really been more of a house for musicals: Porgy and Bess, Anything Goes, and Annie all took their bows here, as did Steven Sondheim's Company and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. The Gershwins' Funny Face premiered here in 1927 with Fred and Adele Astaire. In the non-musical realm, it housed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Darkness at Noon. Since 2002, Hairspray has been playing here.

240: An earlier incarnation of Ruby Foo's was here in 1940--described as "Chinatown moves uptown, and puts on a dinner jacket."

236: Victor's Cafe, Cuban. Was the address of Forno's, described in a 1940 restaurant guide as "Mexican-Spanish cooking, and of the very best. Much patronized by Mexican and Spanish people."

Gallagher's Steak House

228: Opened as a speakeasy in 1927 by former Ziegfield Girl Helen Gallagher and her husband Jack Solomon; the name seems to have been chosen because her late husband Ed Gallagher, as half of the team Gallagher and Shean, had been one of the biggest stars of vaudeville. With the end of Prohibition in 1933, the restaurant pioneered a less formal approach to fine dining, and claims to have introduced the New York strip steak. It was described in the 1940 restaurant guide as "marvelous" but "not cheap though, the table d'hote dinners beginning at $2.00." Novotel/Little Women by baslow, on Flickr

Corner (1657 Broadway): Novotel New York Times Square is part of a French hotel chain; includes the Broadway Bar. Art Cafe, Broadway Deli are on the ground floor.

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265: Russian Vodka Room, restaurant; Divane, diner



August Wilson Theatre

245-257: Originally known as the Guild Theatre, because it was built by the Theatre Guild in 1925; they premiered Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra and Ah! Wilderness here. It was leased to the WOR Mutual Network as a radio studio in 1943, then bought by the American National Theatre and Academy in 1950, who called it the ANTA Playhouse; A Man for All Seasons debuted here in 1961. It became the Virginia Theatre in 1981; Carrie, one of Broadway's most legendary flops, closed here after five performances in 1988. It was renamed in 2005 for the playwright August Wilson, whose King Hedley II had its Broadway bow here in 2001. Jersey Boys opened here in 2005 and was still playing at least nine years later.

The Roseland Ballroom

239: This space was built in 1922 as Iceland, an ice-skating rink later known as the Gay Blades Ice Rink. (Joseph Crater--not yet a judge--was one of Iceland's original incorporators.) In 1956, the storied dancehall was moved here from Broadway. After a sale in 1981, it gradually became more of a concert venue, featuring acts ranging from Madonna to Nirvana; I've caught both Rage Against the Machine and They Might Be Giants here. Portishead, Gov't Mule and Dream Theater have all recorded live albums here.

The venue's closure was announced in 2013, with Lady Gaga scheduled to be the last act to play in April 2014; it's slated to be replaced by a 50-story building with a retail base.




Corner (1675 Broadway): A green granite office tower, designed by Fox & Fowle and built 1986-89, wraps around the Broadway Theatre.


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Sheraton Manhattan

Sheraton Manhattan by Modesto, on Flickr

Block (790 7th Ave): This was the Loews City Squire, like its sibling up the street built in 1962, bought by Sheraton in 1979 and given its current name in 1989. On the ground floor are An American Craftsman, Russo's Steak & Pasta.

Equitable Life used to be a major investor in the hotels that adjoin its headquarters.

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Flash Dancers by Thomas Hawk, on Flickr

Corner (1678 Broadway): Earle Building was the original home of Birdland, Charlie Parker's legendary jazz club from 1949-65. After such incarnations as Ubangi, Ebony and Clicque, now houses Flash Dancers, a topless club. Also in the building are Leone Pizza and Gourmet Deli & Hot Bagel.

201 (corner): Rosie O'Grady, Irish saloon. In 1926 this was the speakeasy Playground, which through a party for Rudolph Valentino in 1926 to celebrate the release of The Son of the Sheik.


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Equitable Center

Corner (787 7th Ave): A 54-story rose granite tower designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates and built 1986. Houses the life-insurance giant AXA, whose U.S. holdings include Equitable Life and Mutual of New York (whose MONY logo inspired the song "Mony Mony"). The building's atrium features a major mural by Roy Lichtenstein; there's also an elephant by Barry Flanagan. The arched window near the top is the Equitable boardroom. An American Craftsman is on the ground floor.

144: Was the address of Hickory House, noted in 1940 for "steaks broiled over hickory logs" and a "swing band."

134: Site of actress Helen Morgan's nightclub, opened in 1928 and closed by Prohibition agents. This is now part of the Equitable Center.






112: Was the address of Cafe Trouville, a French-Italian restaurant desribed in 1940 as "smart" and "fairly expensive." Now on the site of...

UBS Building

Corner (1285 6th Ave): A 42-floor office tower from 1960, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Built for Equitable Life; the brockerage firm Paine Webber moved here in 1985, and merged with the Swiss bank UBS in 2000.

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Sheraton New York

Corner (801 7th Ave): Built in 1962 as the Loews Americana (Morris Lapidus, architects), it was bought in 1979 by Sheraton (then a subsidiary of ITT) and renamed the Sheraton Centre. It got its current name in 1989. Whatever the name, it's a "sleek supermotel that offers characterless but efficient quarters for the traveler," according to the AIA Guide. On the ground floor is the Streets Cafe.

135: Flatotel, a 46-story hotel built in 1991. Includes Moda, Italian.

131: During Prohibition this was a speakeasy called The Furnace Club, billed as "The Hottest Place in Town."

123: Ben Benson's steakhouse is in the...

Credit Lyonnais Building

nyc98k6av10 Venus de Milo, 6th Avenue, New York 1998 by CanadaGood, on Flickr

Corner (1301 6th Ave): A 1964 office tower, 45 stories designed by Shreve, Lamb & Harmon Associates; originally known as the J. C. Penney Building. Serves as headquarters for the Pricewaterhouse Coopers accounting firm. Noted for Jim Dine's gargantuan green pastiches of the Venus de Milo in its plaza. The film Michael Clayton used the offices of the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf here for some of the interior shots.


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In the 1930s, 52nd Street--particularly the block between 6th and 5th avenues--was known as Swing Street, whose clubs made it the jazz capital of the world. The novel The Thin Man opens in "a speakeasy on 52nd Street," which presumably means this block; there were 30 such establishments here in 1930.

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Sperry-Rand Building

Corner (1290 6th Ave): A 43-story office tower designed by Emery Roth & Sons and built by the Uris brothers in 1961-62.

On Seinfeld, George Constanza claims that the 14th floor of this building has the best restroom in the vicinity of 54th and Sixth.

Built on the site of artist Mark Rothko's home from 1946-54, as well as the original site of Toots Shor's Restaurant--see around the corner for more details.

72: Was The Onyx, prominent Swing Street club. Billie Holiday had a successful run here before a jealous Stuff Smith, the headliner, got her fired.

66: Was The Downbeat, jazz club

62: The Onyx moved here to larger premises in 1937. It was here in 1944 that Dizzy Gillespie introduced bebop to a wide audience.

52: Bread Market Cafe is still part of the Sperry-Rand Building.





36: Athos Restaurant, Greek. Part of the Time Warner Building, a 32-story Art Deco tower built in 1947 as the Esso Building, part of Rockefeller Center. (Esso was Standard Oil of New Jersey, part of the Rockefellers' oil empire--later known as Exxon.)














22: Bombay Palace, Indian, also part of the Time Warner Building. Artist Mark Rothko lived in a brownstone apartment here in 1945-46.

18: Leon & Eddie's, the famous nightclub, started as a basement speakeasy here opened in 1928 by Leon Enken and Eddie Davis. Toots Shor was a bouncer and manager here before opening his own famous restaurant. Also on the site of the Time Warner Building.

































14: Here was the home of railroad investor Oliver H. P. Archer, who in 1871 built a stable that now houses Le Grenouille.

6: Bernard Baruch lived in a four-story brownstone at this address from 1905 until the 1920s, during which time he made a killing on Wall Street and advised Woodrow Wilson about World War I.

2 (corner): Formerly the site of the mansion of Emily Vanderbilt and her husband William Douglas Sloane, paid for by Emily's father William Henry Vanderbilt. It was part of the Triple Palace, three Vanderbilt mansions designed by John Butler Snook and built from 1879-82, all paid for by Emily's father William Henry Vanderbilt.

Corner (650 5th Ave): This building was put up by the Pahlavi Foundation, a non-profit started in 1973 by the Shah of Iran--whether as a genuine charity or as a financial scam is unclear to me. In any case, it was taken over after the Iranian Revolution by pro-Khomeini types, who changed the name of the group to the Alavi Foundation and use it to promote Islamic culture. They apparently still make most of their money from the rent on this building from businesses like Mexx clothing and Travelers Fine Jewelry.

Replaced the DePinna Building, a nine-story 1928 structure.

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75: Was The Three Deuces, jazz club named for a popular Chicago jazz club located at 222 North State Street. Dizzy Gillespie's gigs with Charlie Parker here in 1944 helped popularize bebop.

Black Rock

NYC - Midtown: CBS Building by wallyg, on Flickr

51 (corner): The 38-story headquarters of the CBS network, built in 1965 as the only skyscraper designed by Finnish-born Eero Saarinen, architect of Dulles Airport and the St. Louis arch. The nickname comes from the imposing, triangular black granite pillars that run the length of the building. It was the first New York highrise to have a reinforced concrete (rather than steel) frame.

(44 W 53rd): E.F. Hutton Building

37: In 1948, Marlon Brando lived on the second floor of a brownstone here, in a room furnished with matresses, barbells, bongos and a hi-fi-- and not much else.

35: The original location of The Onyx, opened as a speakeasy in 1927. On March 1, 1935, this became The Famous Door, a club bankrolled by jazz musicians, including Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey. The eponymous door was kept next to the bar, signed by the club's backers and other notables who came to the club. No one knows what became of it when the club closed. Louis Prima was a headliner here; Billie Holiday made her Swing Street debut.

33: After Prohibition ended in 1933, Leon & Eddie's moved across the street to this address. It became one of Swing Street's most prestigious clubs, featuring performers like Jackie Gleason, Alan King and Eydie Gorme. Closed in 1953.

Museum of Television and Radio

25: Or, as Troy McClure calls it, the Museum of TV and Television. (Officially, it's now the Paley Center for Media.) You can go and view old episodes of TV shows here, which was more amazing in the days before YouTube and Netflix. Founded 1975.

21 Club

21: Jack and Charlies '21' Club opened as a speakeasy on New Year's Eve, 1929, after Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns' previous establishment on 49th Street was bought out by Rockefeller Center. Walter Winchell got kicked out and provoked a raid with his column, after which ingenious liquor-destroying devices and a secret wine vault were installed. Mayor Jimmy Walker had a discreet private booth in the cellar.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall had their first date here; Ernest Hemingway was caught with Legs Diamond's girlfriend in the kitchen; John F. Kennedy ate here the night before his inauguration. (Every president since FDR has visited here--save George W. Bush.) Other regulars have included Alfred Hitchcock, Salvador Dali, Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Joan Crawford and Aristotle Onassis.

Margo Channing runs into Eve Harrington here in All About Eve; J.J. Hunsecker eats with Sidney Falco here in The Sweet Smell of Success, as do the Michael Douglas and Charlie Sheen characters in Wall Street and Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big on Sex and the City. Jimmy Stewart gets take-out from here in Rear Window.

The building dates back to 1872. The jockeys out front are a tradition dating back to the late 1930s; many of them represent famous horses.

7: A three-story brownstone here, owned by a woman named Chan Richardson, served as a crash pad for jazz musicians in the 1940s. One of them, Charlie "Bird" Parker, became her lover and lived with her here in the late '40s.

Tishman Building

Corner (666 5th Ave): This was the address of the mansion of William Kissam Vanderbilt Jr., great-grandson of the Commodore, an auto-racing enthusiast who founded the Vanderbilt Cup. The 1905 mansion, designed by McKim, Meade and White, was the last of the Vanderbilts' Fifth Avenue mansions. 666 5th Avenue by Rafael Chamorro, on Flickr

In 1957, an aluminum- clad office building with an apocalyptic address was put up here with a million square feet of space; the lobby waterfall was designed by Isamu Noguchi. Brooks Brothers, founded 1818, is on the ground floor, along with Hickey Freeman and the NBA Store. Top of the Sixes, the top-floor restaurant, is now the Grand Havana Room, a private cigar club.

Corner (660 5th Ave): William Kissam Vanderbilt Sr., son of William H., grandson of the Commodore, and "the" Vanderbilt after the death of his brother Cornelius II, was one of the first Vanderbilts to live on Fifth Avenue, living in the Petit Chateau, a mansion designed by Richard Morris Hunt and built from 1879-82 and demolished in 1926.


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Cartier

Cartier by Kevin Coles, on Flickr

2-4 (corner): This entire block was the site of the Catholic Orphanage until 1900. The Vanderbilts bought up most of the land in 1902 to prevent a hotel from being built on this corner, which instead became the Morton F. Plant House (Robert W. Gibson, 1905). Plant sold it to Cartier in 1915 for $100 and a million-dollar pearl necklace. The store was restored to its Renaissance-style glory in the 1990s. The jewelry house, founded in 1847, is credited with inventing the first practical wristwatch in 1904.

6: Address of the speakeasy Maison Royale--later the freight entrance to Best & Co., the children's clothing store.




















12: Was the address of Belle Meuniere, which a 1940 restaurant guide cited for "French cookery of the best" and "perfection of wines." Now the L3S Bank.

14: Pronovias, wedding gowns

16: Isadora's, cafe

Look Building

Corner (488 Madison Ave): With its banded windows and rounded corners, this 23-story office building is "probably the most attractive white-brick building in the city"--City Review. A 1950 building designed by Emery Roth & Sons --perhaps their best post-war work, the WTC notwithstanding--it's named for Look magazine, Life's rival. Another magazine tenant, Esquire, sued unsuccessfully to keep the photo weekly's name off the building--they failed in big red letters, which came off long after Look folded in 1971. Institutional Investor is published here now. From 1951-57, industrial designer Raymond Loewy was here--he did the classic Greyhound bus.

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Corner (657 5th Ave): Here were the opulent mansion and offices of Madame Restell, New York's leading abortion-provider from the 1840s until 1878, when she committed suicide after being arrested for selling birth control by Anthony Comstock of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. Now Salvatore Ferragamo clothing.

La Grenouille

3: This building was built as a stable in 1871 on land purchased from Madame Restell. In 1913, it was given a fanciful redesign to become the MacBride Atelier, an interior design house. By 1930, it was the New York office of Armand Hammer, who was representing the Soviet government in selling art confiscated from the aristocracy. In 1942 a French restaurant, La Vie Parisienne, opened on the ground floor; upstairs was an artist's studio that became a gathering place for a circle that included Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Charlie Chaplin and Marlene Dietrich. The present restaurant (whose name means "The Frog") opened in the early 1960s; it's been called the last classic French restaurant in New York.

HarperCollins

(10 E 53rd): The publishing house was formed by Rupert Murdoch's 1990 merger of two venerable publishing houses, Harper & Row and William Collins Ltd. The former, founded in New York City in 1817, was the original publisher of Melville's Moby Dick, Poe's Arthur Gordon Pym, as well as many of the works of Henry James, Mark Twain, William Dean Howells and Edna St. Vincent Millay (who quipped of her publisher, "although I reject their proposals, I welcome their advances"). It founded both Harper's Magazine and Harper's Bazaar, though neither today is connected to the publishing house. It merged in 1962 with Row, Peterson and was bought by Murdoch in 1987.

Austrian Cultural Forum

11: This 2002 building, 24 stories tall but only 25 feet wide, has a strikingly slanted front facade of layered glass. The architect was Austrian-born Abraham Raimund, who taught architecture at Cooper Union for almost four decades.

15: Was the address of Henri, a French restaurant described in 1940 as "fairly expensive, the table d'hote dinners beginning at $1.75, but the food is worth it."

19: Fireside, the restaurant at the Omni Berkshire.

Omni Berkshire Hotel

Corner (500 Madison Ave): The Berkshire Apartments that once stood here were the home of William Marsh Rice, a millionaire who was murdered in 1900 in an elaborate scheme by his valet and an unscrupulous lawyer to steal his fortune via a phony will. The plot failed, allowing Rice's estate to go as planned to the founding of Rice University. The current hotel building was built in 1926.


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Corner (485 Madison Ave): Former headquarters of CBS before the move to Black Rock.

38: Was the speakeasy Biarritz--later the Pompadour Coffee Shop.

40: Fresco by Scotto, family-style Italian. Also Fresco on the Go. During Prohibition the speakeasy Epicure was here--later Abel Tailors.

42: Was the address of Louis & Armand, described in 1940 as "one of those intimate and somewhat expensive French restaurants in which the East Fifties abound, and one of the better ones."



Corner (350 Park): This boxy 30-story tower was built in 1954 as the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Building, designed by Lever House's Gordon Bunshaft. The flagship branch of the Park Avenue Bank is located here.

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55: Park Avenue Plaza is a 15-sided prismatic glass tower whose 45 stories rise above--and depend on the air rights to--the Racquet & Tennis Club. Includes a remarkable arcade that serves as a short-cut to 53rd Street.

Racquet & Tennis Club

NYC: Racquet and Tennis Club by wallyg, on Flickr

Corner (370 Park): This private men-only club, founded in 1876, is housed in an Italian Renaissance palazzo designed by McKim, Mead & White and completed in 1918. Its five-story height is designed to be twice the width of Park Avenue.


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Block (345 Park): This 44-story office tower was built in 1969 to an Emery Roth & Sons design.

112: A 19th Century carriage house at this address became a speakeasy under Prohibition--known as Gusses and the 112 Club. Later it was Tony's Trouville, a favorite hangout of Cafe Society--which became Tony's Caprice, run by a different Tony.

In 1953 the Harwyn Club opened here, run by and named for two former Stork Club employees, Frank Harris and Ed Wynne. It became a hangout for Hollywood types after Joan Crawford had a birthday party here--and Grace Kelly announced her engagement to Prince Rainier. It was also a hangout for Yankees players like Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Billy Martin, Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto.

114-122: Was the address of the Gladstone Hotel, where Marilyn Monroe stayed for several months in 1955 when she was recovering from her divorce from Joe DiMaggio. Gloria Swanson made it her New York home in the 1920s.










































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Seagram Building

Seagram Building by noktulo, on Flickr

Corner (375 Park): This 39-story brown-glass-and-bronze office tower, built in 1958 for the Seagram's beverage company, is considered the epitome of the International Style and architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's American masterpiece. Its superbly proportioned geometric form and use of floor-to-ceiling windows were enormously influential on corporate architecture; the New York Times has called it the most important building of the 20th Century. The vertical bronze beams on the exterior are, ironically, a decorative element intended to express a fuctionalist aesthetic. The plaza surrounding the building--taking Lever House's rejection of the street wall farther by eliminating the earlier building's base--was so admired that zoning laws were changed to encourage similar public spaces...few of which were as successful as this one.

In the series That Girl, the Marlo Thomas character works in a magazine stand in this building.

The Four Seasons

99: The Seagram Building is home to The Four Seasons, a restaurant known for its power lunches, whose sumptuous interior was designed by Philip Johnson, who was van der Rohe's collaborator on the entire structure. The entrance features a backdrop that Picasso painted for the ballet The Three-Cornered Hat. Painter Mark Rothko was commissioned to do art for the restaurant, but he decided he hated the place too much and kept the series for himself.

Marilyn Monroe's Subway Vent

Corner (600 Lexington): One of the most iconic movie moments happened here--sort of-- in 1955's The Seven-Year Itch. Monroe and co-star Tom Ewell had just seen The Creature From the Black Lagoon at the Trans-Lux here when she cooled herself off with the breeze coming from the subway, in the process blowing her dress up above her waist. The hooting from the appreciative crowd forced director Billy Wilder to reshoot on a Hollywood soundstage, and Hays Office censors cut out any footage where her skirts rose above her knee. A fight over the scene helped cause Monroe's divorce from Joe DiMaggio.

The Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre was built here in 1940 as a newsreel house (at No. 596); by 1966 it was a parking lot. Fellini's La Strada had its U.S. premiere here in 1956.

The building here now is the Manhattan Tower, a 36-story multi-faceted office building put up in 1985 and designed by Emery Roth & Sons.


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The Big Map has a photo tour of 52nd Street from here to the East River.

South:

Corner (591 Lexington): The Oxford Cafe





142: This is a side entrance to the Grolier Building (mostly at 51st and 3rd), a 33-floor office tower built in 1958, now marketed as the Skygrid Building (575 Lexington Avenue). It was originally clad in gold-tinted glass, and was reclad in the 1980s. It was the headquarters of Grolier, publishers of the Encyclopedia Americana and the Book of Knowledge.

Earlier at this address was an apartment building where P.L. Travers, author of the Mary Poppins books, lived in the early 1940s to keep her adopted son safe from Nazi bombing. Here she wrote the third book in the series, Mary Poppins Opens the Door.

144: Tomato Deli

150: Pauline Books & Media is a Catholic bookstore run by the Daughters of St. Paul.

Corner (850 3rd Ave): The Western Publishing Building is a 21-story "wedding cake" office building from 1963. The Discovery Channel has offices here.

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Corner (599 Lexington): This 47-story, angular pale-green office tower, designed by Robert Segal of Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates and built by Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman in 1986, has a triangular plaza on its northwest corner, opening up vistas for the Citicorp Center. The lobby facing the plaza features Frank Stella's 1985 painted sculpture, Salto Nel Mio Sacco ("Jump Into My Sack").

If you ever transfer from the 6 train to the E or the F, you have this building to thank-- the developers built a connection in order to be allowed more bulk. There's a nifty wedge-shaped glass canopy over the entrance in the plaza.

145: This was the original site of Restaurant Nippon, the first sushi bar in the U.S., opened in 1963. The address is now part of 599 Lexington, and is used by Chicken Bar and Roses & Blooms.

155: The current home of Restaurant Nippon. Also Avondale Deli and Master Yap Express, Chinese.

Marriott Courtyard Midtown East

Corner (866 3rd Ave): Originally built for Macmillan Publishing, this office tower now houses a Marriott hotel as well as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering outpatient center for cancer care. On the ground floor was Burritoville, local Mexican chain.


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Corner: At a boardinghouse at this site in 1934, Albert Fish was arrested for the murder of 10-year-old Grace Budd. Fish has been called "without a doubt the most repugnant criminal in New York history"--a sadomasochistic killer, pedophile and cannibal. He was executed at Sing Sing in 1936.

206: J.D.'s Pub

224: The Enclave, glass block and pink stucco apartment building from 1985; Marvin H. Meltzer, architect.

242: Mrs. John D. Rockefeller III Guest House, a 1950 brick-and-steel building by Philip Johnson & Associates, used for guests of the Rockefeller family and later those of MOMA.

244: Turtle Bay Music School, founded 1925

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Corner (875 3rd Ave): This 29-story office building, designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill and completed (at long last) in 1983, is described by the AIA Guide as an "octopod invention." A liquor-store holdout at 871 3rd Avenue resulted in its oddly angled shape.

221: Salvation Army Building from the 1940s

227: Hungarian Mission to the U.N.

237: Zambian Mission to the U.N.





Corner (981 2nd Ave): Phyllis Lucas Gallery/Old Print Center, est. 1928


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Corner (939 1st Ave): Jeffrey Wine & Liquor on the ground floor

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Corner (984 2nd Ave): Mimi's Restaurant & Piano Bar, for lovers of quirky

301: Built as the Kips Bay Boys Club in 1931 (Delano & Aldrich, architects); converted to apartments, 1978.

317: Norwegian Seaman's Church in New York

Corner: Blueberry's Deli


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South:



Southgate

400: One of a cluster of apartment buildings built from 1928-31 by Bing & Bing and designed by Emery Roth, which have been called "Manhattan's most distinctive residential Art Deco ensemble." This one, built in 1931, has had Shirley Maclaine as a resident.

414: Another Southgate building, built 1931.

424: A Southgate building from 1930.

434: This was the first Southgate building, completed 1928. Humphrey Bogart lived here in 1932-33 with his second wife, Mary Phillips; it was his last New York home.



444: An 11-story red-brick apartment building that dates to 1929.

The Campanile

450: Alexander Woolcott lived in this out-of-the-way apartment, referred to by Dorothy Parker as "Wit's End"; Greta Garbo lived here for 40 years. Other residents have included Noel Coward, Rex Harrison and Ralph Pulitzer.

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River House

435: This 1931, 26-story luxury apartment building by Bottomley, Wagner & White has been called "arguably the city's, if not the world's, finest apartment building." It originally came with its own yacht dock. Edwin Howard Armstrong, the inventor of FM radio, threw himself to his death from his 13th floor apartment here on January 31, 1954, in part due to legal fights over his radio patents. Henry and Clare Booth Luce lived here from 1936-60. Other residents have included Henry Kissinger, Marshall Field, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney and Angier Biddle Duke. Earlier on this site was the Cremo Cigar factory.

This is the dead end featured in the 1937 film Dead End, starring Humphrey Bogart (who coincidentally used to live on the block). The point of the movie, and the 1935 play of the same name on which it was based, was that rich and poor lived cheek by jowl on the East Side. (That's no longer true-- the poor are long gone from the neighborhood.) The boys that appeared in the play were later featured in the movie, and ended up making some 89 films in Hollywood, variously credited as the Dead End Kids, the East Side Kids, the Little Tough Guys and the Bowery Boys.





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