New York Songlines: 6th Avenue

AKA Avenue of the Americas

Central Park S | W 58th | W 57th | W 56th | W 55th | W 54th | W 53rd | W 52nd | W 51st (Rockefeller Center) | 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/Broadway (Herald Square) | W 33rd | W 32nd | 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 (Greenwich Village) | W 13th | W 12th | W 11th | W 10th | W 9th | Greenwich Ave | W 8th | Waverly Pl | Washington Pl | W 4th | W 3rd | Minetta Ln | Bleecker St | W Houston (SoHo) | Prince | Spring | Broome | Grand | Canal (TriBeCa) | W Broadway | Walker | White | Church

When I first came to New York in 1985, my uncle gave me two pieces of good advice: Don't play Three-Card Monte and don't call it Avenue of the Americas.

6th Avenue was given that sobriquet in 1945 by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, in honor of the newly formed Organization of American States (and to shake the bad connotation Sixth Avenue, then known as a failed shopping district, had acquired). But the name didn't take; New Yorkers still call it by its proper numbered name.



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Central Park

Central Park by Magnus Nordstrom, on Flickr

An 853- acre expanse of green in the middle of Manhattan, its 25 million annual visitors make it the most visited public park in the world. Responding to calls from civic leaders like William Cullen Bryant, the city acquired the land in 1853 and held a design contest in 1857, choosing the Greensward Plan of Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux (rhymes with "Walks"). After the moving of 3 million tons of earth and the planting of 270,000 trees and shrubs, the park--almost entirely landscaped, despite its naturalistic appearance--opened to visitors in 1859 (though not officially completed until 1873).

Bolivar Plaza

This entrance was dubbed the Artists' Gate by the Central Park commissioners in 1862, but like most of the other entrances wasn't marked until 1999. The plaza here--which is the top of the Avenue of the Americas--features statues of Latin American liberators. NYC - Central Park: Bolivar Plaza - Jose Marti statue by wallyg, on Flickr

Jose Marti, a journalist and poet (he wrote the words to "Guantanamera"), was killed fighting for Cuban independence in 1895; he had spent the previous three years in exile in New York. He's a hero to both pro- and anti-Castro Cubans; this statue was given to the city by the Castro government in 1965, after having been donated for that purpose by the sculptor, Anna Vaughn Hyatt Huntington. It depicts Marti being fatally wounded. Central Park by peterjr1961, on Flickr

Jose San Martin was a general who led the rebellion against Spain in Argentina, Chile and Peru. This sculpture is a gift from the city of Buenos Aires, a smaller-scale copy of the 1862 statue by Louis Joseph Daumas that presides over that city's Plaza de San Martin. It was installed here in 1951 after we sent Buenos Aires a statue of George Washington.

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Cop Cot, #1 by Vidiot, on Flickr

A short ways into the park here is the Cop Cot, a rustic wooden shelter (of sorts--it lacks an actual roof). Not intended as a place for police to sleep, its name means "Hilltop Cottage" in Old English.
















NYC - Central Park: Bolivar Plaza - Simon Bolivar Statue by wallyg, on Flickr Simon Bolivar, on the other side of the plaza, liberated Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia (which was named in his honor). The statue by Sally James Farnham was a gift from Venezuela installed in the park in 1921 and rededicated here in 1951 to celebrate the renaming of the Avenue.


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The Trump Parc

Block (100-106 CPS): When it was the Barbizon Plaza Hotel, it was home to writer Anais Nin in 1934-35; she called it the Hotel Chaotica. Frida Kahlo stayed here in 1931, and felt she was badly treated. Mobster Lucky Luciano lived here in the 1920s. Sylvia Plath stayed here when she was a guest editor of Mademoiselle; in The Bell Jar, it appears as The Amazon. Other guests/residents include Grace Kelly, Candice Bergen, Liza Minnelli and Edith Bouvier Beale (of Grey Gardens).

Bought by Donald Trump in 1988 and redesigned down to the frame, it became home to such celebrities as O.J. Simpson, LaToya Jackson, Larry Hagman ("J.R. Ewing") and Morton Downey Jr. Recognizable by the gilded teeth on the tower on top.















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Ritz-Carlton Hotel

The Ritz Carlton at Central Park (W 59th St - New York) by scalleja, on Flickr

Corner (50 CPS): This is the third incarnation of the luxury hotel in Midtown Manhattan, and the second on Central Park South. It used to be the San-Moritz hotel, known as "the biggest little hotel in town." In 1935, it became home to Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, who were fleeing Nazi Germany. Later, in 1941, artist Marc Chagall came here after leaving Nazi-occupied France. It has also been home to columnist Walter Winchell and Yankee star Mickey Mantle. Winchell, who supposedly lived here rent free in return for plugging the hotel in his column, threatened to leave if management allowed gangster Lucky Luciano to live here; they didn't.

The house restaurant is BLT Market, considered by TONY to be the jewel in the crown of Laurent Tourondel's culinary empire.

Corner (57 W 58th): The Coronet is an 11-story red-brick apartment building from 1901, condoized in 1976. Time has not been particularly kind to it. Used to house the Manhattan Ocean Club, noted seafood restaurant.


W <===     WEST 58TH STREET     ===> E

This is the intersection where Ratso Rizzo says, "I'm walking here!"

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Windsor Park

Corner (100 W 58th): Architect-for-billionaires Charles Gwathmey designed the 2004 conversion of the former Helmsley Windsor Hotel into luxury housing-- including adding a $16 million penthouse to the roof. The building was put up as a co-op by Rosario Candela in the 1920s. Comedian Fred Allen lived here in the 1930s and '40s; Angela Lansbury has lived here more recently. skull by Leo Reynolds, on Flickr

1409: Jekyll & Hyde Club, audioanimatronic dining

Buckingham Hotel

Corner (101 W 57th): Opened in 1929, this hotel has been home to numerous artists and musicians, including Ignace Paderewski, who lived here from 1929 until his death in 1941. Author Damon Runyon lived here in 1944-46, the last years of his life.

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Corner (68 W 58th): Actress Gloria Swanson lived in this building, then the Park Chambers Hotel, from 1925 until the early 1930s. On the ground floor now is the Kobe Club, restaurant featuring super-expensive Japanese beef and 2,000 samurai swords dangling from the ceiling in a dining room that looks like "Akira Kurosawa hired the Marquis de Sade as an interior decorator" (New York Times). The space used to be Mix, also by restauranteur Jeffrey Chodorow.

Corner (57 W 57th): Cornerstone of Medical Arts Center, a rehab clinic, is in a 1928 gilt-trimmed office building. This was once home to Club Martinique, where Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford and Danny Thomas used to play; from 1977-84 it was the Ice Palace 57, a spin-off of a Fire Island disco that was said to have the best light show in town. The space later became the Silver Shadow.

Previously at this address was a rundown three-story brick building where Dorothy Parker lived in the early 1920s when her marriage was breaking up. Illustrator Neysa McMein (she created Betty Crocker) had a studio across the hall, which became a gathering place for the likes of Charlie Chaplin, Harpo Mark and George Gershwin. McMein is said to have popularized the game of Charades in America.


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1381 (block): Carnegie House, 21-story grey-brick apartment building that went up in 1962--named for Carnegie Hall, a longish block away. Ballerina Alexandra Danilova lived here.








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French Bistro by M+MD, on Flickr

1380 (block): Hemisphere House, a 20-story white-brick apartment building put up in 1968. Author Jerzy Kosinski killed himself here on May 3, 1991. On the ground floor are Rue 57 Brasserie, Carnegie Luggage.


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1375: Pazza Notte, Italian

1371: Flowers on the Avenue

1369: Vitamin Muse

1367: 55 Digital

1365: Fromex Photo System

1363: World of Nuts & Ice Cream

1361 (corner): Astro Restaurant, diner. Singer Tony Bennett has lived in this building.

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1366: Ernest Klein & Company International Supermarket






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Burlington House

Block (120 W 55th): A 50-story office tower completed 1969, named for Burlington Industries, a fabric maker that ceased operations in 2004. The building is now formally the Alliance Capital Building, after Alliance took over Mastercard's former space here in 1994. Noted for the Dandelion Fountain out front.






Site of Old Zeigfeld Theatre

1341 (corner): Impressario Florenz Zeigfeld took his Follies here in 1927, to a sumptuous Art Deco house designed by Thomas W. Lamb and bankrolled by William Randolph Hearst. Later that year, the classic musical Show Boat premiered here. During the Depression, it was Loew's Zeigfeld, a movie palace. From 1955 to 1963, NBC used it as a TV studio. Briefly a live theater again, it was torn down in 1966.

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MGM Building

1350 (corner): Now known as the Men's Apparel Building, a 35-story glass office tower from 1966 designed by WTC architects Emery Roth & Sons. Served as New York headquarters for the classic film studio. It also appeared as the United Broadcasting System studios in Network.

Warwick Hotel

Warwick Hotel from 33rd floor by zio Paolino, on Flickr

1340 (corner): Built in 1926 by William Randolph Hearst with a specially designed floor for his mistress, Marion Davies. A favorite of show business sorts, the hotel boasts James Dean, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor and Jane Russell as having been frequent guests. Cary Grant lived here for 12 years; The Beatles stayed here when they first came to the States.


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New York Hilton

New York - Hilton Hotel by celikins, on Flickr

1335 (block): A 49-story slab emerging from a boxy base, completed 1963 to Harrison & Abramowitz' design. Philip Pavia's Ides of March, an abstract sculpture group, was in front here until 1988, when it moved to the Hippodrome.

The climax of the film Michael Clayton was shot here.

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Financial Times Building

1330 (block): A 41-story completed in 1965 and designed by Emery Roth & Sons. Originally built for ABC, it became ITT's headquarters after the conglomerate bought the network. It's now the U.S. base of the British business paper.











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Credit Lyonnais Building

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

1301 (block): 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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Black Rock

NYC - Midtown: CBS Building by wallyg, on Flickr

Block (51 W 52nd): The 38-story headquarters of the CBS network, built in 1965 as the only skyscraper designed by Finnish-born Eero Saarinen. 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.



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UBS Building

1285 (block): 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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Sperry-Rand Building

1290 (block): 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.

It was built on the site of the legendary Toots Shor's Restaurant, which opened here in 1940, a hangout for athletes, sportswriters and assorted famous people. (When Yogi Berra was introduced to Ernest Hemingway here as "an important writer," Berra reportedly replied, "What paper you with, Ernie?") Shor, a former speakeasy bouncer, left Jackie Gleason on the floor here after winning a drinking contest, ordered an impatient Charlie Chaplin to "be funny for the people for the next 20 minutes," and told Louis B. Mayer that his food was "better'n some of your crummy pictures I stood in line for." He counted both Joe DiMaggio and Chief Justice Earl Warren among his closest friends. He held out against the developers for years, but eventually sold his lease here for $1.5 million in 1959 and moved to 52nd Street.

1288: Artist Mark Rothko lived at this former address from 1946-54, during the pivotal part of his career when he moved toward pure abstraction.


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Time & Life Building

Time-Life building in Manhattan by dungodung, on Flickr

Technically part of Rockefeller Center, but not really, this 48-floor tower, completed in 1959, was the first building to be added to the complex on the west side of 6th Avenue. Designed by Harrison & Abramowitz, before Harris was added to the name. Time and Life were the flagships of Henry Luce's magazine empire, now part of NYC: Time & Life Building - Cubed Curve by wallyg, on Flickr Time Warner; Time's offices are still here. CNN's American Morning had its studios on the ground floor from 2002-06; SportsNet New York is now based there.

On the TV show Mad Men, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce's offices are located here.

The blue metal sculpture in front is Cubed Curve, by William Crovello.


















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Rockefeller Center

The land that is now Rockefeller Center was once the Elgin Botanic Garden, 20 acres of mainly medicinal herbs established by Dr. David Hosack, the physician who attended Alexander Hamilton after his fatal duel with Aaron Burr. The Lewis and Clark expedition sent plants here for identification.

The garden was sold to the state in 1810, which granted it to Columbia University, which allowed the garden to be developed. In 1929, the land was leased to John D. Rockefeller, who built on it an Art Deco masterpiece that is one of New York City's crowning architectural achievements.

1270: The RKO Building (now officially the Amax Building) was completed in 1932.

Radio City Music Hall

Radio City Music Hall by carlos_seo, on Flickr

1260 (corner): When it opened in 1932, this auditorium's 6,200 seats made it the largest in the world. Impressario Sam "Roxy" Rothafel intended it to be a live venue, but it soon became a cinema featuring a live pre-show showcasing precision dancers--originally the Roxyettes, now the world-famous Rockettes. Radio City Music Hall by katie killary, on Flickr

The auditorium saw the premieres of such films as Singing in the Rain, An American in Paris and King Kong (shared with the Roxy). The Woody Allen character comes here in Radio Days; Daddy Warbucks buys out a whole show here in Annie. It also appears in The Godfather and Hitchcock's Saboteur.


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Exxon Bulding

NYC: 6th Avenue - XYZ Buildings by wallyg, on Flickr

1251 (block):

Another western addition to Rockefeller Center, this was built in 1971 to a Harrison, Abramowitz & Harris design; Wallace Harrison used to refer to this and its two similar-looking neighbors to the south as the XYZ Buildings. nyc98k6av14 Fountain, 6th Ave at 50th, New York 1998 by CanadaGood, on Flickr

Exxon used to be Esso, which was Standard Oil of New Jersey ("S.O."), part of the breakup of the Rockefellers' Standard Oil Company. Exxon is now merged with Mobil, formerly Socony--Standard Oil Co. of New York.



























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RCA Building

NYC - Rockefeller Center: GE Building by wallyg, on Flickr

30 Rockefeller Plaza (block): The crown jewel of Rockefeller Center, completed in 1933, this 70-story limestone masterpiece is attributed mainly to Raymond Hood. Diego Rivera's mural, Man at Crossroads Looking With Hope and High Vision to the Choosing of a New and Better Future, was painted over by Nelson Rockefeller when Rivera refused to take Lenin out of the artwork. The murals visible today are Jose Maria Sert's American Progress and Time. Above the main entrance is Lee Lawrie's relief sculpture Genius.

The famous Rainbow Room is on the 65th floor, which opened in 1934 as a nightspot for Rockefellers, Astors and Morgans. Entertainment was provided by the likes of Mary Martin, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Comden and Green, and Judy Holliday. It's touted as the "most perfect room in New York." Nana on Top of the Rock by edenpictures, on Flickr

The "Top of the Rock," the recently reopened rooftop observatory, is a great alternative to the Empire State Building-- the sailors go there in the movie On the Town.

RCA was the Radio Corporation of America, formed in 1919 as a joint subsidiary of General Electric and AT&T; both NBC and ABC were initially launched by RCA. When GE reacquired RCA in 1986, GE CEO Jack Welch insisted on renaming the RCA Building the GE Building. Jack Welch is a poor role model for America's children.

NBC's main New York studios are located in this building, where shows like NBC Nightly News, Saturday Night Live and Late Night With Conan O'Brien are taped; The Tonight Show used to broadcast from here in the Jack Paar/early Johnny Carson days. Arturo Toscanini used to broadcast from the same studio that today houses SNL.


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1237: There used to be a branch of the women-focused tearoom chain Schrafft's here.

McGraw Hill Bulding

McGraw-Hill Building by Christopher Chan, on Flickr

1221 (block): Con- sidered the best of the Harrison, Abromowitz & Harris additions to Rockefeller Center, it went up in 1972 to house the publishing company. McGraw Publishing, founded in 1899, merged with Hill Publishing in 1909. The company also owns Standard & Poor's.

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Simon and Schuster Bulding

1230 (block): Built in 1940 as the U.S. Rubber Building, this marks the southern end of the original Rockefeller Center project. Simon & Schuster, founded in 1924 and perhaps most notable as the parent company of Pocket Books, is now part of CBS.











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Celanese Building

XYZ Buildings by Christopher Chan, on Flickr

1211 (block): This 1973 Harrison, Abramowitz & Harris building in the southernmost of the Rockefeller addition skyscrapers. It's named for a chemical company, but it's best known as the U.S. headquarters of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation; it's where Fox News, the New York Post and Murdoch himself have their main offices.

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Diamond District

Diamond District by 28 Dreams, on Flickr

1200 (corner): Diamond City marks the start of a block-long row of diamond businesses along 47th Street, mostly owned by Orthodox Jews. Marathon Man has a famous scene set here.


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1185 (block): 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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1180 (corner): This is the address of Kenner, Bach & Ledeen, the title character's law firm in the film Michael Clayton.


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1177 (block): 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 site of the Columbia Hotel, where poet Delmore Schwartz died from a heart attack on July 11, 1966, at the age of 52.








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1155 (block): This 1984 design by Emery Roth & Sons features 40 stories of polished black granite.







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International Center for Photography

Che! Revolution and Commerce by t_a_i_s, on Flickr A school and museum founded in 1974 in honor of Robert Capa. This site was an expansion begun in 1989 and became the main headquarters in 1999.

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Hippodrome

Block: "I wanna see the Hippodrome," insists the sailor in On the Town, referring to the namesake predecessor on this site, an enormous auditorium (5,697 seats) designed for spectaculars by the team that developed Coney Island's Luna Park. Open from 1905 until 1939, it saw the American debut of Cary Grant on August 8, 1920.

It's said that the Algonquin Roundtable formed when Robert Sherwood, who worked at Vanity Fair, was intimidated by the midgets at the Hippodrome, and so insisted that his coworkers Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley eat lunch with him every day.


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Corner: Was Hanover House, a seedy hotel where Woody Guthrie wrote "This Land Is Your Land" on February 23, 1940.

Bank of America Tower

New Bank of America Tower by kmccaul, on Flickr

Corner: The crystalline skyscraper going up here makes a claim to being the second-tallest building in New York City--but if you don't count the spire (which you shouldn't), the Chrysler Building is still the second tallest. Designed by Cook+Fox Architects to be eco-friendly. Also known as the Bank of America Tower.

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Grace Plaza

An entrance plaza to the Grace Building (the building with the curved facade facing Bryant Park). The pavilion in the plaza is the entrance to the School of the International Center of Photography.



Bryant Park in winter, Jan 2009 - 04 by Ed Yourdon, on Flickr

1100 (corner): Bryant Park Building, built c. 1912, houses the offices of HBO.


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Verizon Building

1095 Ave of the Americas by joesixpacktech, on Flickr

1095 (block): This tower, designed by Kahn & Jacobs, was built in 1974 by AT&T as the New York Telephone Company Building; a break-up, a merger and a name-change later, it's now Verizon's. It got a complete facelift in 2008, replacing its vertically striped Bryant Park, late Apr 2009 - 14 by Ed Yourdon, on Flickr white marble/black glass facade with a more generic green glass curtain.




















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1079 (corner): Training Camp Footwear, a mini-chain for sneaker mavens.



1071: Original Penguin, retro-chic label



















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Bryant Park

nyc_7-4-05 (2)_bryant_park by minnibeach, on Flickr

This area was set aside as early as 1686 for public use; from 1823 to 1840, like many of Manhattan's parks, it was used as a pauper's graveyard. In 1842, the Croton Reservoir was built on the east side of the space, where the New York Public Library is now, and the remaining land became known as Reservoir Square.

The Crystal Palace was built on the site in 1853, a marvelous seven-story exhibition space made of glass and cast iron that housed America's first world's fair before burning down spectacularly on October 5, 1858. Bryant Park by peterjr1961, on Flickr

After serving as a parade ground for Union troops during the Civil War, Reservoir Square was designated a park in 1871, and was renamed in 1884 for William Cullen Bryant, poet, lawyer, New York Post editor, abolitionist and park advocate. It was not much of a park, though, until it was landscaped in French garden style in the 1930s, the object of a contest for unemployed architects. Bryant Park by peterjr1961, on Flickr

By the 1970s, the park had become chiefly known as a drug market (dubbed "Needle Park"), but since a re-landscaping in 1992 occasioned by the creation of underground stacks for the library, it's become a highly valued urban space, with 2,000 chairs for urbanites to relax on.

It's the venue for popular outdoor movies in the summer. A plan to use trained falcons to control the pigeons was scuttled in 2003 when one attacked a dachshund. NYC: Bryant Park - Benito Juárez statue by wallyg, on Flickr

Sculptures in the park include an imposing Bryant, Goethe, Gertrude Stein, copper maganate and YMCA founder William Dodge (by John Quincy Adams Ward; originally in Herald Square), Mexican President Benito Juarez and Brazilian liberator Jose de Andrada --not to mention Big Crinkly by Alexander Calder.


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1045 (corner): Was the Milliken & Company Building; offices for the textile giant, which made New York its headquarters in 1868. CEO Roger Milliken is Patrick Buchanan's chief financial backer. The 1958 modernist building was by James D. Stephen, who also designed the pagoda-shaped Chinese Merchant's Building in Chinatown. It was demolished in 2009, just shy of the half century mark.

By 2014, there should be a new building here for the company, now called Pacolet Miliken. Renderings show it with an interesting concave corner.

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Bryant Park Studios

Corner (80 W 40th): This 1901 landmark was designed (as the Beaux Arts Studios) by Charles Alonzo Rich for Colonel Abraham A. Anderson, a gentleman portraitist who had returned from a stay in Paris with that city's enthusiasm for north light. A great many artists have lived and/or worked here, including photographer Edward Steichen; painters Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase and Fernand Leger; and print-maker Kurt Seligmann. On the ground floor is the Park Side Cafe & Market.

1040 (corner): Valley National Bank


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Bryant Park Tower by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (100 W 39th): Bryant Park Tower, 45-story tower built 2006, designed by Nobutaka Ashihara Assoc.









NYC - Millinery Center Synagogue by wallyg, on Flickr

1025: Millinery Center Synagogue, serving the spiritual needs of the Garment District since 1948.



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1036: Penguini Men's Fashion













1026: New York Beads









1020 (corner): Elle Beads


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1011: Wok 'N' Roll, Chinese








1001 (corner): North Fork Bank; Orchid Cafe.

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1010 (corner): The Atlas, a 46-storey residential tower built 2002.

1008: M&J Trimmings, since 1936

M&J Trimming by edenpictures, on Flickr

1000 (corner): M&J Buttons, formerly Hersh Sixth Avenue Button, sewing-supply mecca. Also Israeli Falafel Pizza.


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995A: Shoes Are Hot

Lefcourt Empire

Sixth Avenue Building by edenpictures, on Flickr

Part of Abraham Lefcourt's real estate empire, this 21-story building is said to have been completed in 1930, but by August 1928 it served as the base of a huge neon sign reading "AMERICAN NEON BEACON LIGHT"--an ad for the American Neon Company, which had offices here in 1927-28. (Lefcourt was a director.)

989: Antique & Art Center

Haier Building

Corner (1352-1362 Broadway): Built 1922-24 for the Greenwich Savings Bank and later used by Republic National Bank, this striking landmark surrounded by Corinthian columns Gotham Hall by edenpictures, on Flickr is now the New York HQ of the Haier Group, China's leading refrigerator manufacturer. Inside is Gotham Hall, a dramatic domed space often used for fashion shows.

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980-990 (block): The Vogue, 25-floor apartment building from 1987.






































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Corner (1350 Broadway): Herald Square Building contains an HSBC bank. The entire block was once the site of the New York Herald Building, a two-story Venetian palace built in 1893 by McKim, Mead and White and housing the paper that now lives on only in the International Herald Tribune. Demolished 1921, but its name remains in the square to its south.


The southern end of the block is a Florsheim shoe outlet.

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968: There was an Automat here in the late 1960s/early 1970s.

966: Metropolitan Impex, trimmings and bridals



Corner: Atlantic Bank of New York


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

West:

Herald Square

Herald Square: Bennett Memorial by peterjr1961, on Flickr

As in, "Remember me at..." Named for the New York Herald, the newspaper founded by James Gordon Bennett whose offices were directly to the north of this triangle. Noted for its racist and anti-Semitic politics, the paper introduced such features as the gossip column Herald Square by Smaku, on Flickr and Wall Street coverage. Later merged with the New York Tribune; the Inter- national Herald-Tribune is the surviving relic. NYC - Herald Square: Bennett Clock by wallyg, on Flickr

The clock and statuary, crafted in 1895 by Jean-Antonie Carles, are from the old Herald building; the goddess is Minerva, complete with owls, and the bellringers, which swing their hammers on the hour, are nicknamed Stuff and Guff.

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Corner: La Villa Pizza

950: U.S. headquarters of the Paris-based advertising conglomerate Publicis, which owns Leo Burnett and Saatchi & Saatchi.





















Eye-catcher... by reflexer, on Flickr

Corner (1328 Broadway): The Victoria's Secret on this corner is the lingerie giant's new flagship store. In the same building is Swedish fasion discounter H&M.


N <===             BROADWAY                                                

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

In 2009, two blocks of Broadway above and below 34th Street were closed to vehicle traffic, a move that has greatly improved traffic flow on 6th Avenue.

West:

Herald Center

NYC - Herald Center by wallyg, on Flickr

Built for Saks & Company in 1901-02, as shopping moved to this neighborhood to take advantage of the new rail hubs. In 1966, after the area's appeal had faded, it became Korvette's. Rebuilt in 1982-85 as a mall with a glass elevator on the corner. Features a Fleet Bank, a Modell's Sports and a Daffy's clothing store on the Broadway side.

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Herald Towers

Herald Square, NYC by doitintheroad, on Flickr

AKA McAlpin House; built as the Hotel McAlpin in 1913, which was noted for its "silent floor" for the nocturnal. Converted to apartments in 1979; the murals of New York Harbor from the hotel's Marine Grill were removed and installed in the Fulton Street subway station. Claims the dubious distinction of housing the highest-grossing Gap outlet in the country.


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

                                    BROADWAY             ===> S

West:

Manhattan Mall

Manhattan Mall by Rafael Chamorro, on Flickr

Block (1275 Broad- way): Used to be Gimbel's department store, Macy's chief rival ("Does Macy's tell Gimbel's?") which claimed to Reflections, Manhattan Mall by x-eyedblonde, on Flickr have invented the bargain basement. Building designed by Daniel Burnham, of Flatiron fame, and built 1908-12; it was purposely utilitarian and undecorated. The first ballpoint pens were sold here in 1945-- selling 10,000 on the first day at $12.50 each. Manhattan Mall (W 33rd St at 6th Ave - New York) by scalleja, on Flickr Converted to a glassed-in post-modern mall in 1987-89.

This block was formerly the site of a theater that was variously called the Manhattan, Eagle or Standard; in 1879, the official New York premiere of Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore was held here.

Manhattan Mall Skybridge; New York City by j klo, on Flickr

A skyway connects this building to Weber's, a discount store on 32nd Street, which used to be a Gimbels annex; built in 1925, it was designed by Shreve & Lamb, the same company that did the Empire State Building.

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Greeley Square

by Cresny, on Flickr

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. Statue of Horace Greeley by Elizabeth Thomsen, on Flickr An advocate of social reform (Karl Marx was a European correspondent), 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.

















W <===             WEST 32ND STREET             ===> E

West:

Corner: This building was torn down along with much of the block c. 2008. Was American Burger & Co., tasty

887: Was S&A Stores, noted for linen bargains and its unreassuring slogan, "Money refunded within 25 days."

The Continental

Continental by edenpictures, on Flickr

885 (corner): Glassy 53-story apartment building that went up in 2010. Rainbow Camera Inc. used to be at this address.

879: Don Don Ya Japanese Rice Bowl

875 (corner): Greeley Square Building, castle-like building that includes Global 2000 Camera & Computer, Pret a Manger ("ready to eat") sandwich chain.

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894 (corner): Cosmos

890: Olden Camera & Lens Co.; Mr. Cap

884: Earrings Plaza, "world's largest selection of earrings."

882: Full Line Collection Fashion Jewelry and Accessories.













876 (corner): Liberty Bagel Deli. And isn't that what New York is all about?


W <===             WEST 31ST STREET             ===> E

West:

873 (corner): Was Close Out Zone, and before that The Wiz, ex-discount electronics chain. The old cast-iron retail building was bought by Joseph Chetrit, owner of the Sears Tower, and shortly thereafter torn down along with the entire block--no doubt to be replaced with another of the bland highrises that have been sprouting along 6th Avenue. (This is the northernmost edge of the rezoning.) It's a shame that an attractive made-for-retail building like this one couldn't find a profitable use.

865: The northernmost of four six-story tenements in the middle of the block, dating to c. 1922., torn down in 2008.

863: Was Sundance Corporate Catering

861: Was Western Union 6th Avenue Discount

859: Was Galaxy Army & Navy IMG_3461 by doobybrain, on Flickr

855 (corner): Was Broadway National Bank, in a 1949 building that was reclad with wraparound black windows. Torn down with the rest of the block in 2008.

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874 (corner): Tony's Pizza & Restaurant










860 Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

860: New Company Wholesale marks the beginning of the Wholesale District, many small stores offering imported apparel, gadgets and trinkets.

In the Tenderloin era, this was the site of the Star & Garter, considered a classy joint. Star bartender Billy Patterson, who boasted of not having an enemy in the world, was attacked with a slingshot one day leaving work--giving rise to the catchphrase, "Who struck Billy Patterson?"

856 (corner): Novelty Candy Store


W <===             WEST 30TH STREET             ===> E

West:

Hotel Eventi

Eventi on Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

835 (corner): A 54-story hotel that went up in 2009, designed by Perkins Eastman. The apartments also in the building are called The Eastman. It's already gone through a number of restaurants, including FoodParc and Bar Basque--at last notice, the eateries were called Brighton and Humphries.

The block used to be a strip-mall like row of undistinguished retail outlets, such as Tootsies, a sock outlet. They were all torn down in 2007 to make way for the hotel.

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838: Yung Kee Trading, a largish wholesaler. Building has elaborate cornice.





836 (corner): Pink Stone General Merchandise; Boricua City, Puerto Rico-related products.


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

West:

Sixth Ave & 29th St by doobybrain, on Flickr

831 (corner): America Gourmet Food, deli





829: X Tensions Wholesale Wigs

823: Goodland Martial Arts Supply. Sign in window: "All Knives and Swords 20 Percent Off."

821: From 1954 to 1965, this building housed the Jazz Loft, an after-hours hangout for musicians like Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis and Charles Mingus.



817 (corner): The lot that used to hold City Plants & Gardens was to be the site of Remy, a futuristic residential high-rise designed by Costas Kondylis--which would have been the only out-of-the-ordinary project to come out of the Sixth Avenue condo tower boom. It looks, though, like it's never going to be built.

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Corner: This was (apparently) the site of The Haymarket, the Tenderloin's most famous dance hall. A venue for "respectable vice," the dancers here would give private exhibitions of the cancan in curtained booths. O. Henry and Eugene O'Neill both hung out here.

828: Superior Florists is the northernmost outpost of the Flower District.

822: Here was the saloon of Tom "Shang" Draper, described as "the king of New York's underworld," and part of the gang that robbed a record amount from the Manhattan Savings Institution in 1878. On October 16, 1833, bank robber Johnnie "the Mick" Walsh was shot and wounded here by fellow burglar John Irving, whom Walsh in turn killed-- only to be finished off by Irving's colleague, safecracker Billy Porter. Bill's Flower Market by edenpictures, on Flickr






816 (corner): Bill's Flower Market, a Flower District stalwart since 1936.


W <===             WEST 28TH STREET             ===> E

The block of 28th Street east of 6th Avenue to Broadway was Tin Pan Alley, music publishing hub in early 20th Century.

West:

Corner: Note seahorse trim on the fast-food outlet; used to be a branch of Childs, a widespread New York restaurant chain. "Came to New York, repertoire ready/Chekhovs and Shakespeares and Wildes/Now they watch her flipping flapjacks at Childs."-- "What a Waste," Wonderful Town

807: International IMG_8334 by ShellyS, on Flickr Garden, part of the Garden District

805: U.S. Evergreen

803: George Rallis Inc. Wholesale Florist

795 (corner): Sheng Po Enterprises, wholesaler

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The Aston

The Aston by edenpictures, on Flickr

800: A whole row of 19th-Century buildings was torn down on this block to build this a luxury high-rise. Above a blocky base, the tower is comparatively stylish, with windows layered like fish scales. Also known as the Archstone Chelsea after being bought by one of the nation's largest apartment management companies.



W <===       WEST 27TH STREET       ===> E

West:

793 (corner): Great H&B Trading Co.; Coffee Bean Roast was Ho-Ho Chinese Restaurant. 777 Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

777: 777 6th Avenue, another big new highrise apartment building. There is an apartment-suite hotel here called the Oakwood Chelsea.

775 (corner): FAS: Fifth Avenue Style, bargain clothing. The preservation of the human-scaled buildings on either end of this block do a lot for the highrise they bookend.

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The Capitol at Chelsea

The Capitol at Chelsea by edenpictures, on Flickr

Built in 2001 on the site of The Racquet Club, the first sports club in NYC, built 1876. Later the University Athletic Club, finally the Coogan Building. The most interesting structure on this stretch of 6th Avenue, it was slated to be landmarked, but money spoke louder than architecture. Now an unfortunate orangey high-rise with 39 floors. Houses the Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing.


W <===             WEST 26TH STREET             ===> E

West:

Chelsea Tower by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (100 W 26th): Chelsea Tower, new, slightly sinister 34-story highrise.

765: Chris King of Foliage was the southern end of the Flower District; it went through several manifestations as a foliage-themed jazz bar, including Mama Cassies Coffee House, Greenroom and finally Wish 26. Now vacant.

761 Sixth Avenue Deli & Pizza

757: Rogue, restaurant/bar/lounge opened in 2004.

755 (corner): Serendib Video, Tenderloin Building by edenpictures, on Flickr porn store. The name is Arabic for Sri Lanka. Also in the building was the Antique Cafe, catering to the flea market crowd. Upstairs was busted as a brothel in the 1990s, proving that the Tenderloin tradition is not dead.

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Chelsea Landmark

Chelsea Landmark by edenpictures, on Flickr

Block: This 35-story apartment building in 2007 replaced a parking lot with big weekend flea market--featured in the children's book My New York. "Kristen," the professional escort whose assignation with Gov. Elliot Spitzer led to his resignation, lived here at the time the scandal broke.


















W <===             WEST 25TH STREET             ===> E

West:

753 (corner): Olympia Deli, where for a time I used to eat almost every day, was torn down for the...

Chelsea Stratus

Chelsea Stratus by edenpictures, on Flickr

Block: This 2007 high rise boasts of being "Chelsea's tallest condominium" at 40 stories.

Replaced a parking lot that used to have a weekend antique mart.

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Chelsea Vanguard

Chelsea Vanguard by edenpictures, on Flickr This 31-story apartment building, put up in 2000, started the high-rise boom along this stretch of 6th Avenue.











W <===             WEST 24TH STREET             ===> E

West:

The Corner

The Corner by edenpictures, on Flickr

729: Empire City Bagels was Koster & Bial's Concert Hall beer garden annex--known as "The Corner" (written on the corner of building; full name in front at peak). From 1970-2001, it was Billy's Topless, neighborhood institution shut down by Giuliani.

727: 727 Hardware Co. is in a building with attractive brick arches.

725: The building with the Video Video porn store isn't bad either.

Corner: Citibank branch was site of Koster & Bial's Concert Hall (1879-1924), popular vaudeville house featuring Victor Herbert's orchestra. In 1890, Italian sailor Giovanni Succi set a world record by fasting here for 45 days. Earlier was Bryant's Opera House (1870).

SUBWAY:
F train to 14th Street 23rd Street Station by edenpictures, on Flickr

This is the station where the protagonist unwittingly boards the Midnight Meat Train in the Clive Barker short story of the same name.

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Masonic Hall

Masonic Hall by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (71 W. 23rd): Chase bank is on the ground floor of Masonic Hall, built in 1913 on site of 1875 Masonic Hall. NYC Masons include John Jacob Astor, Theodore Roosevelt, Fiorello LaGuardia and Harry Houdini. Vanguard Studios were located here, where KISS recorded part of their album Chelsea. Grand Lodge of New York by Usonian, on Flickr


W <===             WEST 23RD STREET             ===> E

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23rd Street Holdout by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (100 W 23rd): Originally built as a jeweler's, this small, ornate building was a branch of Riker's Drug Store that resisted a buy-out from Ehrich's, which wanted the whole end of block. Now Your Taste, fancy deli.

699- 709: Was Ehrich Brothers (1889-1911), bargain store. Now Burlington Coat Factory, Erich Brothers by edenpictures, on Flickr Staples. If the buildings along this stretch look a bit stretched, it's because they were designed to be viewed from the 6th Avenue elevated train (1878-1938).

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The Caroline

The Caroline by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner: Shopping and apartments built in 2002 on site of Edwin Booth Theater (1869-1883). This was run by and featured New York's most prominent Shakespearean actor--brother of John Wilkes Booth. Sarah Bernhardt made her New York debut here in 1880. Shakespeare on Sixth by edenpictures, on Flickr Later James W. McCreery (1895-1907), "Dean of the Retail Trade." Demolished 1975. A portrait of Shakespeare from the old theater can be seen on the new building's west side.






W <===             WEST 22ND STREET             ===> E

West:

Adams Dry Goods

Adams Dry Goods Building by edenpictures, on Flickr

675 (block): Was Adams Dry Goods, upscale shop built in 1900; note "ADG" above arches. Mattel Toys is based here; Barnes & Noble (which has good taste in architecture) was on the ground floor from 1994-2008, driven out by housing bubble-era rent increases. Now home to Chelsea's Trader Joe's.

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688: Maffei Pizza; this Sicilian lunch counter is ''culinary nirvana,'' says the the Voice.


682: The eight-story Hall Building is the tallest on the block.

680: Wolf Paper & Twine Co.

678: New York Burger Co., deluxe mini-chain Markt by edenpictures, on Flickr

676 (corner): Markt Belgian seafood was The Tomato, pricey comfort food; formerly Lox Around the Clock, late-night hangout.


W <===             WEST 21ST STREET             ===> E

West:

Hugh O'Neill Building

24March2007 010 by ShellyS, on Flickr

655 (block): O'Neill, known as "The Fighting Irishman of 6th Avenue," opened his store here in 1887, which was more working-class than its retail neighbors. His name is still visible on the pediment. 24March2007 009 by ShellyS, on Flickr Was home to Elsevier Science Inc., price-gouging journal publishers. Also Scuba Network, Men's Wearhouse. Gold-domed turrets were restored as part of a 2007 conversion to luxury condos.






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668: Cafe 21's building says "M. Roman."

666: Deli was built in 1929 for Charles R. Ruegger's Bazar Francais, selling French kitchenware. The names and date appear on the facade and cornice.

664: Ridgeway Diner was the Lemon-Lime Coffee Shop, post-rave hangout

Limelight

NYC - Church of the Holy Communion by wallyg, on Flickr

660 (corner): Pricey dance club in a gothic building, opened in 1990 as The Limelight, which was repeatedly closed down over accusations of drug sales, as well as general opposition to nightlife. It later reopened under the name Avalon. Lately it's trying to operate as a store called Lounge.

Was Church of the Holy Communion (1846), designed by Richard Upjohn, who designed the new Trinity Church about the same time. This church was apparently quite influential, inspiring similar asymmetrical gothic churches across the country. Its first pastor was William Augustus Muhlenberg, whose donated books became the core of the Muhlenberg branch of the NY Public Library on 23rd Street.


W <===             WEST 20TH STREET             ===> E

West:

Simpson-Crawford Building

NYC - Simpson Crawford Building by wallyg, on Flickr

641: Was Simpson-Crawford store, built 1900 to replace an 1879 version. No price tags here; if you had to ask, you couldn't afford it. Bankrupted 1915. The architecture is more restrained because Simpson-Crawford didn't want the business of elevated train passengers. Houses Apex Technical School, founded in the 1960s.

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Cammeyer's by edenpictures, on Flickr

650 (corner): This landmarked Beaux Arts building, with beautiful brick pillars and arches, was built as Cammeyer's (1893-1917), a giant shoe store. Later the Audits & Surveys Building; now White Space, luxury condos.



636 (corner): Greek revival building houses Sports Authority.


W <===             WEST 19TH STREET             ===> E

West:

B. Altman Building

621 (block): B. Altman on Ladies Mile by edenpictures, on Flickr Was the "Palace of Trade" from 1876 to 1906, when it moved to 5th Avenue and 34th Street, beginning the exodus from Ladies Mile. The Container Store is the current ground-floor occupant.
























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Siegel-Cooper's "Big Store"

620 6th Ave by Runs With Scissors, on Flickr

616-632 (block): Was Siegel-Cooper, "The Big Store--a City in Itself" (1896-1914). In its day, this glorious retail temple was the center of NYC shopping; "meet me at the Siegel Cooper by anniebee, on Flickr fountain" was a catch phrase, referring to the store's centerpiece, which featured Daniel Chester French's statue of The Republic (today in California's Forest Siegel-Cooper Entrance by edenpictures, on Flickr Lawn Cemetery). Henry Siegal is credited with introducing the free sample.

In the 1980s, a youth center called The Door was based here. Now Bed Bath & Beyond, a superstore featured on Sex and the City, as well as Filene's Basement and TJ Max.


W <===             WEST 18TH STREET             ===> E

West:

100 West 18th Street by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (100 W. 18th): 100 West 18th is a 2007 luxury condo with an interestingly angled facade.

611: Parade of Shoes and Jam Paper & Envelope were torn down for the condo.




601: New York City Bagel was Pick-a-Bagel

595-597 (corner): It's been a while since they built three-story buildings like this on Sixth Avenue. Features Tic Tac Toe II, sex shop formerly known as Red Light District and Six Collection, and World Famous Pizza, which dropped the "Ray's" from its name.

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Price Building by edenpictures, on Flickr

610 (corner): The Price Building houses one of Old Navy's flagship stores.

Lyla by edenpictures, on Flickr







Corner (63 W 17th): Lyla, condos built 2003.


W <===             WEST 17TH STREET             ===> E

West:



Green Fire Escape by edenpictures, on Flickr

583: LeAn, spinoff of the East Village restaurant Wai? Cafe.

581: Dave's New York, jeans store in a fancy old building

579: Gay dance club known variously as Rush, Heaven and King is in an old three-story rowhouse. Not sure what it's called these days.

575 Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr







575 (corner): Terry's Gourmet Foods. The building is dated to 1900.

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New York Foundling Hospital

New York Foundling Home by TRiver, on Flickr

590 (corner): Orphanage founded 1869 on Upper East Side; moved here 1988 to take advantage of lower real estate costs. (Today they mostly support special-needs children-- there not being as many foundlings as there used to be.)


576: Wine Gallery has an regrettable wood-shingle facade. Hollywood Diner by edenpictures, on Flickr



574 (corner): Hollywood Diner is in a fanciful building that was originally the Knickerbocker Jewelry Co. (1904).


W <===             WEST 16TH STREET             ===> E

West:

555 Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

555 (block): Ugly newish apartments

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570 (corner): Blue Valley Deli & Grocery

568: Was New York Photo & Game House





552 (corner): The Left Bank apartments


W <===             WEST 15TH STREET             ===> E

West:

547 Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

547 (corner): Village Yogurt is in a Greekish building with strong arches--a highly likable structure.

545: The modestly named OK Family Market

539: Cheesesteak Factory was Mondello Pizza

531 (corner): Former Greenwich Savings Bank by edenpictures, on Flickr
This bank -- now an HSBC -- was built as a Greenwich Savings Bank branch in 1952, designed by Halsey, McCormack & Helmer in a late Art Deco style. It features a 1954 mural by Julien Binford, A Memory of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue, A Memory of 14th Street and Sixth Avenue III by edenpictures, on Flickr that can be seen from the street. (HSBC stands for Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Company -- that seems very 21st Century to me.)

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546 (corner): Sixth Avenue Bicycles





538: Knossos custom furniture; I priced a bookshelf here once and it seemed really expensive.





534: When the Gay Liberation Front was formed in July 1969, its weekly meetings were held here, in what was the Alternate U. The GLF represented the radical response to the Stonewall raid, identifying gay power with other struggles like the Black Panther movement and Vietnamese liberation. It's the same building as...




Living Theatre by edenpictures, on Flickr

530 (corner): Was The Living Theatre (1956-63), experimental theater co. producing plays by T.S. Eliot, Auden and Gertrude Stein; Martin Sheen's first acting job was here. Now houses 69 W 14th St. Dance Studios, Capoeira Angola.


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

This intersection was the site of street battles during the Draft Riots of 1863.

West:

527 Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

527 (corner): A fortress- like 1896 building, commissioned by Albert Wyckoff and designed by Theo Thomson in a Romanesque Revival style. It's actually three separate buildings with a continuous facade. Houses Brick Oven Pizza 33, local chain whose original branch was on 33rd Street.

525: Hanami; the Voice's Robert Sietsema recommends the bento box.

523: GustOrganics, green restaurant, was Century Market; before that it was a corporate burger outlet, a welcome reversal of the usual direction of history.











517: Cute old three-story building

515: Xcellent DVD, porn store

513: Fresh Tortillas

509 (corner): Undistinguished 16-story brick apartments

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Maria's Kebab Wagon, a fixture at this corner, is said by the New York Post to have the best street kebab in the city.

14th Street Store

14th Street Store by edenpictures, on Flickr

526 (block): This handsome building with arched entrances was built by Henry Siegel, co-creator of the Siegel-Cooper store five blocks north. He sold his interest in the "Big Store" in 1904 to make an even bigger department store in the area vacated by Macy's--but the new store went bust and Siegel went to jail in 1914 for defrauding creditors. Now it's a branch of 14th Street Store by edenpictures, on Flickr Urban Outfitters, a chain owned by one of the chief financial backers of homophobic Sen. Rick Santorum, which tells you all you need to know about faux hipsterism.

522-524: Site of Capt. Rowland Hussey Macy's original lace and ribbon store. A former whaling captain, Macy had a red star tattoo that is still the store's symbol (and a whale is still used in sale ads). This store grew around the corner before moving uptown; one section of it is still standing on 14th Street.


W <===             WEST 13TH STREET             ===> E

West:

The John Adams

The John Adams by edenpictures, on Flickr

Block (101 W 12th): Twenty-one-story grey brick monstrosity was built in 1963. As vice president in 1789, Adams lived in New York at Varick and Charlton--though the building is said to be named after the architect's children, John and Adam. Why you'd want to put your kids' names on something like this is beyond me.

487 (corner): Sculptor Ibram Lassaw had a loft studio here in a now-demolished four-story red-brick 19th Century industrial building. The Club, an influential society of abstract expressionists like Willem de Kooning and Robert Motherwell, was founded here in 1949 after the Waldorf Cafeteria, where the artists had previously hung out, raised the price of coffee to a dime.

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504 (corner): Segafredo Zanetti, franchise of an Italian espresso company. In the early '10s, Cosi, MaximoPino, Rockography, Blitz! Brasserie and the Pint of No Return all came and went in this space. Bar Six by edenpictures, on Flickr

502 (corner): Bar Six, hip French-Moroccan


Murray's Bagels by edenpictures, on Flickr

500: Murray's Bagels, considered one of the city's top bagelries--one of the few places in town that still gives you a baker's dozen.

496: Notable 1889 terra cotta tenement housed Groom-o-Rama, pet store that always had some great puppies in the window.










486 (corner): Sixteen-story building from 1960.


W <===             WEST 12TH STREET             ===> E

West:

Corner (100 W 12th): The Mark Twain, a low-rise apartment building c. 1960. Twain lived a few blocks from here when he was a New Yorker.

471: H & H Fruits and Grocery

469: 612 Cafe Barney's Hardware by edenpictures, on Flickr

467: Barney's Hardware, since 1929



Famous Roio's Pizza The famous Ray's Pizza by Paul Lowry, on Flickr

465 (corner): This was not the original Ray's Pizza, but it arguably was the famous one -- at least, it's identified as the real one in the movie Elf. Reopened in 2012 with a new name, honoring the owner's Italian hometown. Hopefully the classic slices haven't changed.

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joe junior by Shira Golding, on Flickr

482 (corner): O Cafe was Joe Junior's, old-school local burger chain



474: Was Game Show, board game store



470: BLT Burger, part of the Bistro Laurent Tourondel family

468: Ricky's, funky local cosmetics chain



464: Charlie Mom, above-average Chinese

Nikos Smoke Shop

462 (corner): Used to be one of the city's greatest newsstands.


W <===             WEST 11TH STREET             ===> E

West:

Sammy's Noodle Shop by edenpictures, on Flickr

453: Sammy's Noodle Shop, affordable Chinese




Milligan Place

NYC - West Village: Millgan Place by wallyg, on Flickr Like Patchin Place around the corner, built (in 1848) as housing for workers at 5th Avenue's Brevoort Hotel. Named for 19th Century landowner Samuel Milligan--father-in-law of Aaron Patchin. Eugene O'Neill was a resident, as was George Cram Crook, founder of the Provincetown Players.

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French Roast by SusanAstray, on Flickr

458 (corner): French Roast, 24-hour bistro in a 1915 apartment building. There used to be a roadhouse here called The Old Grapevine that dated back to 1830; it was a center of neighborhood gossip and was supposedly the origin of the phrase "I heard it through the grapevine." This etymology seems unlikely to me. 458, 450 Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

450: Jefferson Market, gourmet food; building dated 1891







W <===             WEST 10TH STREET             ===> E

West:

Jefferson Market Library

NYC - West Village: Jefferson Market Library by wallyg, on Flickr

425: Built 1877 to a Calvert Vaux design. Originally a courthouse and fire tower-- a market and prison, originally connected, now demolished. The courtroom held the 1907 trial of millionaire Henry K. Thaw, who shot architect Stanford White, his wife's former lover; his insanity plea was successful. Journalist 6th Avenue by David Cushing, on Flickr Nellie Bly was arraigned here when she had herself arrested to expose the abuse of female prisoners. Preservationists including e.e. cummings succeeded in turning the abandoned courthouse, slated for demolition, into a branch library in 1967. Sherlock Holmes did his research here in the film They Might Be Giants.

Jefferson Market Greening

April152006 022 by ShellyS, on Flickr

Garden on site of former Women's House of Detention. Inmates included black activist Angela Davis, Catholic radical Dorothy Day, labor organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, accused spy Ethel Rosenberg, East Side madame Bea Garfield, Warhol shooter Valerie Solanas, anti-porn feminist Andrea Dworkin and (in an earlier co-ed jail) Mae West. Demolished 1973.

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Ballet Class by grey_barklay, on Flickr

434: Joffrey Ballet School, founded in 1953 by Robert Joffrey and Gerald Arpino.

432: EJ's Luncheonette, retro diner mini-chain




Citarella

424 (corner): Formerly Balducci's gourmet market; started in 1916 as a Brooklyn pushcart, it moved in 1972 to this location. In 1999 family squabbles forced the sale of the business to a D.C.-based chain, which went under when its "Balducci.com" scheme fell victim to the dot.com bust. Now in the space is another local gourmet grocery chain owned by Joe Guerra, who got his start wrapping flounder at the Fulton Fish Market; he has a reputation as a union-buster.

The 13-story building is from 1956-- one of the first of the hideous white-brick apartment buildings that went up in that era. Barbra Streisand had an apartment here when she was playing The Lion on 9th Street.

9th Street PATH Station

NYC - Greenwich Village: 9th Street PATH Station by wallyg, on Flickr

Underneath the corner building is the entrance to New York City's other subway system--the Port Authority Trans-Hudson, which connects the southwest portion of Manhattan to Hoboken, Jersey City and Newark. Opened in 1907 as the Hudson & Manhattan Railroad, it was taken over by the Port Authority in 1962.


W <===             GREENWICH AVE / WEST 9TH ST             ===> E

West:























































405: SS International, newsstand in business since 1948.

401: Gobo, stylish and tasty vegetarian. The name means "burdock" (a root vegetable) in Japanese.





Waverly Restaurant by roboppy, on Flickr

385 (corner): Waverly Restaurant, classic diner

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9th Street and 6th Avenue by Steve and Sara, on Flickr

418 (corner): Lenny's, local sandwich chain, was Greenwich Brewing Co., pizza; Hasta La Pasta, Italian. This used to be Trude Heller's, a prominent rock club/disco where First Daughter Lynda Bird Johnson was photographed dancing with tanned actor George Hamilton in 1965; the Manhattan Transfer got their start here. Earlier this was Paul and Joe's Bar, a main gay rendezvous in the early 1920s.

C.O. Bigelow's

Bigelow Drugs by David Cushing, on Flickr

414: Said to be the nation's oldest pharmacy. The business, now employee-owned, dates from 1838; the building (the Bigelow Building) dates from 1902; the sign is from the 1930s. Mark Twain was a customer; Joseph Cornell used to buy items for his famous collage boxes here.

410: LifeThyme Complete Natural Market. In 1987, when this was the Black Rock Cafe, Pietro Alfano, a defendent in the "Pizza Connection" heroin case, was shot and paralyzed here after shopping at Balducci's.

406: Fat Beats, underground hip-hop mecca since 1994.

Gray's Papaya

Food Porn: Gray's Papa Strikes Back by LarimdaME on Flickr

402: NYC's finest hot dogs, some say. Tasty and super cheap.

WEST 8TH ST ===> E

Corner: The Barnes & Noble here used to be a B. Dalton's.

390: Where the office supply store is now was the Waldorf Cafeteria, described as "a famous hangout for unemployed intellectuals, radicals and bohemians; for bums, jazz musicians, poets, pushers and orgone-box Reichians." Abstract expressionists like William de Kooning, Franz Kline and Philip Pavia used to hang out regularly.

Edgar Allen Poe supposedly wrote "The Fall of the House of Usher" while living on this block.


W <===             WAVERLY PLACE             ===> E

West:



St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village

NYC - West Village: St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village by wallyg, on Flickr

371 (corner): The second-oldest Catholic church building in Manhattan, built in Greek Revival style in 1834; rebuilt after a fire in 1885. Dorothy Day used to come here to pray after late nights out in the Village.

367: Stern Brothers opened its first store at this former address, selling fabric and lace.

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360-374 (block): "A brilliantly conceived, designed, detailed and executed Post Modern apartment house" (AIA Guide) built 1986.



















W <===             WASHINGTON PLACE             ===> E

The first Gay Pride march started here June 28, 1970, commemorating Stonewall's 1st anniversary. It ended with a "gay-in" at Central Park's Sheep Meadow.

West:

361: Baluchi's, local Indian chain

359: Comollo's Restaurant was McBell's bar; in 1922 it was the Red Head speakeasy, which eventually moved uptown and became the 21 Club. Federal-style building dates to 1832.

357: Soto, creatively traditional Japanese; was ONY, "Original Noodle for You."

349: Was Jericho, noted in 1966 for "spectacular" barmaids. 345 Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr



345 (corner): Bank branch was O'Henry's, long-time village eatery; later a Gap. Building from 1825.

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Corner (88 Washington Pl): A 14-unit condo was built on this site in 2005, at an address where "ashcan" painter John French Sloan once lived. This was also the location of the Fronton, a speakeasy from 1923-26 that was popular with New York Mayor Jimmy Walker and poet Edna St. Vincent. The proprietors, Jack Kriendler and Charlie Berns, moved uptown and founded the "21" Club.














Corner: Bank branch


W <===             WEST 4TH STREET             ===> E

West:

Varitype Building II by edenpictures, on Flickr

333 (corner): The Varitype Building, a 12-story loft building from 1907. Le Petit Dejeuner-- "The Little Lunch," which is what the French call breakfast-- occupies the tip of this triangular block. Also Fantasy Party sex shop; Crazy Fantasy Video, porn.

Waverly Theatre

IMG_3552.JPG by David Boyle in DC, on Flickr

325: A theater since the 1930s, the building was originally an 1831 Universalist church. After a couple of denominational changes, it became a stained-glass factory, J. & R. Lamb Studios, in 1893. It became a cinema in 1937. Closed in 2001, it reopened as the Independent Film Channel's IFC Center.

It's a landmark in Hair: "I met a boy named Frank Mills...right here in front of the Waverly." Will Smith was arrested here in Six Degrees of Separation. Audience-participation midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show started here April 1, 1976 and soon spread across the country.

321: Village Shuwarma serves the best shwarma, according to the Village Voice-- no matter how it's spelled.

319: This was the original address of Crawdaddy, the first U.S. rock magazine.

315: In 1879, a children's store called the Lilliputian Bazaar opened here, which eventually grew into the department store Best & Co.

313: Was the English Pub, described in 1966 as having the "usual mixture of renegades, disguised suburban housewives and disguised suburban husbands."

301-303: Sammy's Noodle Shop, the southern expansion






W <===         CARMINE ST

Father Demo Square

father_demo_square by dandeluca, on Flickr Named for the pastor (1900-35) of Our Lady of Pompeii. Noted for his outreach to immigrants and his rallying to the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire victims.











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Golden Swan Gardens

Golden Swan Garden by edenpictures, on Flickr Built on site of the Golden Swan bar, AKA the Hell Hole or the Bucket of Blood; portrayed in Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh, and in John Sloan's etchings. Demolished 1928.


West 4th Street Courts

Kenny Graham's West 4th Street Cage Tournament by ToastyKen, on Flickr

Corner: AKA The Cage--famous for its top-quality street ball. Julius Erving is one of several NBA stars who have played here. Note that the courts are named after the 4th Street subway stop--they're not actually on 4th Street.

WEST 3RD ST ===> E

John Sloan painted the el train turning here.

minetta playground by Susan NYC, on Flickr

Corner: Minetta Playground belonged to the city's Department of Transportation as a result of the 6th Avenue subway construction. DoT allowed the Parks Department to develop a playground minetta playground shadows by Susan NYC, on Flickr here in 1935, and in 1953 it was assigned permanently to Parks. The current playground equipment dates to 1997 and was supplied by the corporate hamburger franchise.

MINETTA LANE ===> E

Early Spring, Minetta Green by Walking Off the Big Apple, on Flickr

Corner: Minetta Green, a 0.05 acre park.

290: A six-story building from 1941, designed by H.I. Feldman.

Minetta Triangle

Minetta Park by edenpictures, on Flickr A very nice, very little (0.075 acres) park--worth stopping in. A scrap left over from the expansion of 6th Avenue in 1925, it was given to the Parks Department in 1945. Refurbished in 1998, the images of trout recall Minetta Brook, now underground, which is the ultimate source of the park's name.

W <===             BLEECKER STREET             ===> E

West:

NYC - West Village: Downing Playground - Sir Winston Churchill Square by wallyg, on Flickr

Corner: Named for its proximity to Downing Street. Churchill's mother, Jennie Jerome, was a New Yorker, and he is one of a handful of people given honorary citizenship by the U.S. Congress. A tiny, beautiful park.

E <=== DOWNING ST

10 Downing Street by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (10 Downing): The equivalent of the British prime minister's address is a dry cleaners with a Union Jack awning.





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268: Bar Pitti; Italian with big sidewalk cafe

260: Da Silvano, trendy Tuscan. It was here that Princess Michael of Kent slurred a party of black media figures.











William F. Passannante Playground

Passannante Ballfield by edenpictures, on Flickr

Named for a speaker pro tem of the New York State Assembly, a lifelong Villager and a booster of the neighborhood.


W <===             WEST HOUSTON STREET             ===> E

West:



Engine 24 by edenpictures, on Flickr

227: Engine 24 and Ladder 5 were both organized in 1865; they've shared this firehouse since 1975. The units lost 11 firefighters on September 11.

King Street by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (15 King): This 1826 Federal-style building retains its original peaked roof and dormers. Part of the Charlton-King-Vandam Historic District.

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W <===     KING STREET     ===> E

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Corner (18 King): Mekong, Vietnamese, was Le Pescadou, French seafood 9 Charlton Street by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (9 Charlton): Last of a line of Federal-style (and some Greek Revival) rowhouses, dating from the 1820s-1840s. The rest of the block was torn down when 6th Avenue was pushed through the South Village. Composer Aaron Copeland lived at this address in 1951--in the rear part, which was once a free-standing carriage house. Actor Fred Gwynne, best known for his Herman Munster character, lived here in the 1980s.

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Corner (2 King): Seven-story white-brick building from 1963.


















W <===     CHARLTON ST / PRINCE ST     ===> E

West:

Charlton House by edenpictures, on Flickr

Block (2 Charlton): Charlton House, a 17-story red-brick building from 1966.

185: After the Draft Riots of 1863, conscription resumed here on August 19, at the office of the 6th District provost marshall.


W <===         VANDAM ST

169 (corner): A six-story tenement building.




Butterick Building by edenpictures, on Flickr

161 (corner): The Butterick Building is a 16-story office building built in 1903 (Horgan & Slattery, architects). It was built for and still houses the Butterick Co., the company that pioneered the graded sewing pattern. When opened, this building had the nation's second-largest printing plant, after the government printing office in D.C.

SUBWAY: C/E trains to Canal Street

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Father Fagan Park

2charlton_sixthave_assmb1 by Rob Johnston, on Flickr A vest-pocket park created during the extension of 6th Avenue. One of the buildings torn down here was 4 Charlton, where in 1881 28-year-old printer William Sindram shot his landlady for trying to evict him over his failure to pay his $1 weekly rent.

194: This mid-rise apartment building used to be the 10th Precinct Station House, built 1893; later the NYPD's quartermaster storehouse. Turned into housing in 1987. (Before the extension of 6th Avenue, this address was 24 MacDougal.)

God's Love We Deliver

God's Love We Deliver by kchbrown, on Flickr

Corner (207 Spring): This two-story building, dating to 1951, houses a nonprofit that brings food to people with HIV. It's called the David Geffen Building because the record executive gave the group $1.5 million to help renovate it. God's Love bought the place in 1995; it was originally a machine shop for the MTA, and later a library for the blind.

SUBWAY: C/E train to West 4th Street
This is the station that Griffin Dunne tries to use to get out of SoHo, only to find that the fare has been hiked from 90 cents to $1.50.


W <===     SPRING STREET     ===> E

This intersection is the approximate location of the front gate of Richmond Hill, a colonial estate that was used as a military headquarters by George Washington, and was later a residence for both John Adams and Aaron Burr.

West:

Soho Square

This block and the next one to the south are not really on Sixth Avenue--they're on an old demapped street called Clark Street, which is separated from Sixth Avenue by a two-block long sliver of a park called Soho Square. (Why do they always call triangular parks in New York City "Such-and-Such Square"? What's wrong with "Such-and-Such Triangle"?) NYC - Hudson Square: General José Artigas statue by wallyg, on Flickr It contains a statue of General Jose Artigas, the hero of Uruguayan independence--one of six statues of Latin American liberators installed along the Avenue of the Americas, from Central Park to Canal Street. Because the buildings on these blocks have Sixth Avenue addresses, though, I'm going to put them on this Songline--punctuated by Dominick Street, which actually deadends at Soho Square and does not join up with Sixth Avenue proper.

"The Name Means Public Spirited" by Asta Bennie, on Flickr

145 (corner): The off- Broadway theater HERE is located, well, here, in what The New York Times called "one of the most unusual arts spaces in New York and possibly the model for the cutting-edge arts spaces of tomorrow." The Vagina Monologues were first performed here in October 1996. There's also a restaurant off the lobby--formerly called 1 Dominick, now the Herb-n-Peach Eatery.

No. 145 was the last address of Murray Hall, born Mary Anderson, a Tammany Hall pol who lived as a man, twice married to women, played poker and smoked cigars with the prominent politicians of New York. Hall's biological identity was only revealed when Hall died in 1901. But this was address used to be considerably further uptown before the 6th Avenue extension.


W <===     DOMINICK ST

Chelsea Career and Technical High School

Chelsea Career & Technical High School by edenpictures, on Flickr

131 (block): Formerly a vocational school, now geared toward college prep--it seems like New York City's school system doesn't really do vocational anymore. Also here--in this building that dates to 1848--is the NYCiSchool, a selective high school that tries to get Regents test prep out of the way so students can concentrate on more creative work.

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DSC00010 by m0bile, on Flickr

Corner (210 Spring): Aquagrill, popular oyster house





















































140: As of 2011, there was a largish vacant lot here going through to Sullivan Street, the former site of a gas station. It's vaguely slated to become (what else) a luxury hotel.















W <===     BROOME STREET     ===> E

West:

Sixth Avenue & Broome by edenpictures, on Flickr

121 (corner): Six-story building dates to 1925.

















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Traffic island


SULLIVAN ST         ===> N



Lupe's by edenpictures, on Flickr

110: Lupe's East L.A. Kitchen, Mexican restaurant where Jeff Daniels met Melanie Griffith in Something Wild.


W <===     WATTS STREET     ===> E

West:

101 Sixth Avenue by edenpictures, on Flickr

101 (block): This 1992 25-story tower is the headquarters of the Building Services Employees International Union.







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Green Sixth Avenue Building I by edenpictures, on Flickr

100 (corner): The Green 6th Avenue Building is a 1928 Art Deco structure designed by Ely Jacques Kahn; note the bas relief workers on the 2nd floor.






W <===     GRAND STREET     ===> E

West:

Duarte Square

NYC - SoHo: Duarte Square - Juan Pablo Duarte statue by wallyg, on Flickr

This small plaza is land left over from the extension of 6th Avenue through the South Village. It's named for Juan Pablo Duarte, considered the liberator of the Dominican Republic. The statue, by Italian sculptor Nicola Arrighini, was installed in 1978.


























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The James

The James Hotel by edenpictures, on Flickr

Corner (27 Grand): The New York outpost of a Chicago luxury hotel was designed by ODA Architecture with Perkins Eastman Architects; Piet Boon designed the 16th floor penthouse.

It was built on the site of the Moondance Diner (at 80 6th Avenue), a famous pre-fab restaurant installed in the 1930s, when it was known as the Holland IMG_1253 by Lawrence Sinclair on Flickr Tunnel Diner. (The rotating moon sign went up in the 1980s.) Mary-Jane Watson worked here in the movie Spider-Man, as did Monica on the show Friends. In real life, Rent author Jonathan Larson waited tables here for 10 years. In 2007, the diner fell victim to rising rents and was sold to La Barge, Wyoming, where it has not fared well.

Grand Canal Court

A small park, established 1955, with basketball courts and game tables. Named for the streets to its north and south.


W <===     CANAL STREET     ===> E

West:







W <===         LAIGHT ST

Block (1 York St): In 2008, two pre-Civil War brick warehouses were turned into a base for a Modernist glass condo by Enrique Norten and TEN Arquitectos.





W <===         YORK ST






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Tribeca Park

New York City by Joshua David Clayton, on Flickr

Once part of the Lispenard Meadows, this area was made a park in 1810, when the city purchased it for $3,950. Long known as the Beach Street Park, it got its present name in 1985.













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LISPENARD ST   ===> E

AT&T Building

The AT&T building by Shiny Things, on Flickr A 28-floor Art Deco landmark built in 1930 to a Voorhees, Gmelin & Walker design. Originally AT&T's Long Distance Building, since 2001 it's housed the telecom company's main offices.

W <===     WALKER STREET     ===> E

West:

Corner (1 Walker): Tribeca Park Gourmet














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Tribeca Grand

Tribeca Grand + clock by allert, on Flickr This fancy hotel opened in 2000. Owned by Hartz Mountain Industries, the pet food company that also owns the Soho Grand and (formerly) the Village Voice. I went to a very wild party here once.


W <===     WHITE STREET     ===> E

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S <===     CHURCH STREET     ===> N











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Deep Sixth. A page all about 6th Avenue from Forgotten NY.