New York Songlines: Spring Street

West | Washington St | Greenwich St | Hudson | Varick | 6th Ave | Macdougal | Sullivan | Thompson | West Broadway | Wooster | Greene | Mercer | Broadway | Crosby | Lafayette | Centre | Mulberry | Mott | Elizabeth | The Bowery


Spring Street was named for a spring that flowed, as far as I can tell, just north of the intersection of Spring and Greene, in what was then the northeast corner of a stretch of land called Lispenard's Meadow. In 1799, the spring was excavated into a well for the Manhattan Company--Aaron Burr's water company that was chiefly an excuse to start a bank, which today is the "Manhattan" part of Chase Manhattan. The Manhattan Well, as it was known, was the scene of a grisly discovery on January 2, 1800: the body of 22-year-old Gulielma Sands, known as Elma, who had disappeared a week earlier. Her lover Levi Weeks was accused of murdering her, but he was acquitted with the legal assistance of both Burr and Burr's archrival Alexander Hamilton. Many people still thought he was guilty, and he was soon driven out of town.

Spring Street was earlier known as Brannon Street, because it ran through the garden of a man of that name.





HUDSON RIVER





S <===         WEST STREET         ===> N

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Corner (553 Canal): This two-story building dates to 1920.






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S <===           WASHINGTON STREET           ===> N

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Ear Inn

NYC - SoHo - Ear Inn by wallyg, on Flickr

326: The two-and-a-half- story Federal- style building dates to 1817, when it was built by James Brown, a prosperous African-American tobacco merchant who was an aide to General Washington during the Revolutionary War, and who may be depicted in Washington Crossing the Delaware. At the time it was built, the house was only five feet from the Hudson shoreline.

They've been serving drinks here since at least 1867, making it something like the fourth-oldest bar in town. It was called The Green Door, with the motto "Known From Coast to Coast" referring to its fame among sailors. The owners who bought it in 1977, knowing that the Landmarks Commission would frown on a new sign, painted out part of the neon "BAR" sign so it read "EAR"--a reference to Ear Magazine, which was published upstairs, in a space that was once a brothel and a smuggler's den.

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319 (block): This three-story UPS facility was built in 1949.































S <===           GREENWICH STREET           ===> N

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Corner (511 Greenwich St): From 1993 until 2011, this was Don Hill's, a polymorphously perverse nightclub that combined punk, gay, biker and celebrity culture. Closed soon after the death of Don Hill, who seems to have been remarkably likable for someone in the nightlife business. In the 1980s, it was the more briefly fashionable Canal Bar.

310: Recess Lounge

308: Emerald Pub appears as the Terminal Bar in Martin Scorsese's After Hours.


S <===         RENWICK ST



Corner (289 Hudson): Ellen Deli

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Corner (515 Greenwich): This five-story 1910 building is home to the Center for Positive Connections.

307: This is where Teri Garr's character lives in After Hours. __________ ___ _____ by Sexy Fitsum, on Flickr

305: Sway Lounge, called "the definitive late '90s lounge" by New York.














Corner (301 Hudson):

S <===     HUDSON STREET     ===> N

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286: Jet Lounge

New York City Fire Museum

NYC-42 by Batbob, on Flickr

278: The FDNY's collection of antique firefighting equipment, along with fire safety education. Includes a permanent exhibition on September 11.

Corner (131 Varick): The New York Times says this "might be New York’s most college-dorm-like office building."

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Corner (304 Hudson): Home of Atelier New York, menswear, and the 289 Bar.





Corner (137 Varick): Scott Jordan Furniture, hand-crafted at the former Brooklyn Navy Yard. In an eight-story building, c. 1900.

S <===     VARICK STREET     ===> N

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Corner: ADT Building


S <===         CLARK ST

Officially, this two-block street has no name, but it was Clark before the 6th Avenue expansion.






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IMG_2277 by drierp, on Flickr

Corner (150 Varick): A 10-story building that went up in 1926 is the latest home of Club Shelter, New York's longest-running House party. The club moved here from 39th Street into what was Club Standard, and before that Flow, pricey nightclub.

Corner (161 6th Ave): The Butterick Building is a 16-story office building built in 1903 (Horgan & Slattery, architects). It was built for and still house 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

S <===     6TH AVENUE     ===> N

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.

South:

DSC00010 by m0bile, on Flickr

210 (corner): Aquagrill, popular oyster house



















204: Was SoHo Fish & Chips, said by some to be the best in town. More recently was Yoguruto & Coffee Beans.





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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.

God's Love We Deliver

God's Love We Deliver by kchbrown, on Flickr

207 (corner): 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.

203 (corner): Expensive lounge called 203 Spring--aka Spring Street Social Club. This was Nick & Eddie's Restaurant and Bar, a neighborhood hot spot that began during Prohibition and made it into the 1990s; it was famous enough to have inspired a namesake in Minnesota. Later the space was Scully on Spring.

S <===     SULLIVAN STREET     ===> N

South:

200 (corner): Savore, untrendy Tuscan



192: Aci Brooks clothing, Ottiva shoes. An interesting round window is above the entrance of this c. 1900 six-and-a-half-story building.

188-190: These duplex townhouses were built in 1899.

186: Chelsea Girl Couture is in a three-and-a-half-story building with north-facing skylights.

184 (corner): L'Ulivo Focacceria, sidewalk Italian

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Red and blue building by barcoder96, on Flickr

195 (corner): Mezzogiorno, Italian opened in 1987. The name means "Midday" or "South," and it's what Italians call the southern part of their country--though the menu here is Florentine.

193: Baluchi's, local Indian chain

191: Cigarillos tobacco shop

S <===     THOMPSON STREET     ===> N

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180 (corner): Bistro Les Amis is in a four-story building from 1910.

178: A five-story building from 1900. What Recession? by _PaulS_, on Flickr

176: Tokidoki, funky accessories shop with a heart-and-crossbones logo DSC06296 by Kramchang, on Flickr

166 (corner): Origins, flagship store of PC beauty products chain. In a five-story brick building, c. 1900.

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Famous Ben by James Cridland, on Flickr

177 (corner): Famous Ben's Pizza of SoHo gets wildly mixed reviews. (There's another Ben's that's probably more famous at Macdougal and 3rd.)

175: The brick-and-stone building that houses Metropolitan Lumber & Hardware was built c. 1885 as an electrical substation for the Metropolitan Railway Company, which ran the 6th Avenue El. The facade features a colorful carpentry-themed mural, commissioned by the Gem Lumber Company, a former occupant.

171: Boqueria, tapas, was Kin Khao, trendy Thai

169: Was Spring Street Books, which had good poetry and art sections.


S <===     WEST BROADWAY     ===> N

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160: LittleMissMatched sells colorful mismatched socks--also pajamas, bedding etc. Its three-story-building is a twin to No. 156.

158: Olive & Bette's, boutique. This is the address of John Heard's character in After Hours, where Griffin Dunne is mistaken for a burglar.

156: Le Petit Cafe is in a charming three-story building.

154: The Body Shop

152: Boom, Italian wine bar/restaurant in an interesting three-and-a-half-story building with a pitched roof--c. 1900.

150: Tretorn shoes

148: Was Briel Milano

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2008-03-02 New York 094 SoHo Spring Street by Allie_Caulfield, on Flickr

157 (corner): Sunglass Hut is in a c. 1900 building.

155: A six-story building from 1910 with Wink and Comptoir des Cotonniers on the ground floor

151: Theory clothing. Upstairs is E. Buk Antiques, which specializes in industrial antiques, Americana and "quirky and oddball objects."

147: Cast-iron building houses Varda Shoes. This was the location of the Byrd Loft, the studio of experimental playwright Robert Wilson. He rehearsed many of his early works here, including Einstein on the Beach, his collaboration with Philip Glass.

143 (corner): Tennessee Mountain, long-running barbecue joint


S <===     WOOSTER STREET     ===> N

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134: Former home of Peter-Roberts Antiques, said to have "the widest selection of American arts and crafts furniture in the United States." Greene & Spring by sarrazak6881, on Flickr

132A (corner): 1879-80 by Henry Fernbach, radically remodeled in a moderne style in 1936. Houses J. Lindeberg, Swedish designer. Is Penny Whistle Toys in this building as well?

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139 (corner): A seven-story building from 1909 has a Chanel Boutique on the ground floor. DSC06293 by Kramchang, on Flickr

131-135: An 1893 brick, granite and limestone loft building by Franklin Baylies. "Looks great"--AIA Guide. Diesel clothing on the ground floor.

129: Manhattan Bistro, charming French in a three-and-a-half-story 1900 building. It's been said that the Manhattan Well that gave Spring Street its name is in the basement of this restaurant--but I suspect this isn't true.

127 (corner): Five-story condo building dates from 1886.


S <===     GREENE STREET     ===> N

A little north of this intersection was the spring that gave Spring Street its name.

South:

Greene Street, Soho by slurv, on Flickr

126 (corner): A stone building by Henry Fernbach, trimmed with cast iron.

Evolution

Wide Angle Wunderkammer by caruba, on Flickr

120: Fascin- ating shop filled with fossils, shells, rocks, bugs, medical models and taxidermy, but mostly known for its bones. The tiny two-story building dated 1920.

118: Jenny B Shoes

114: Amore Pacific, Asian beauty products

106 (corner): Burton Snowboards on the ground floor.

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119: An 1878 cast-iron building by Robert Mook housed Penang, fancy Malaysian.

115-117: An 1878 cast-iron building by Henry Fernbach. Opera Gallery on the ground floor.

113: Another 1878 cast-iron building by Fernbach. MAC Cosmetics on the ground floor.

111: Was Spring Street Market, a little grocery store with character. DSC06285 by Kramchang, on Flickr

109: DG Shoes (Dolce & Gabbana)

107 (corner): This three-story building, built by 1808, is the oldest in SoHo. Houses Solstice Sunglass Boutique.


S <===     MERCER STREET     ===> N

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96: On the seventh floor is Illustration House, a leading dealer of illustrative art. The law firm of Dolgenos Newman & Cronin used to have its own gallery, The Work Space, in its offices here.








Corner (525 Broadway): Nine Muses and Apollo Incorporated, literary agency

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101 (corner): The Guide to the Metropolis calls this 1870 building by Nicholas Whyte an "outstanding example" of cast-iron architecture.

99: A brick building with an iron storefront, built as a hotel in 1871 to a D. and J. Jardine design.

91: This was the final address of Lorenzo da Ponte, librettist for Mozart's Don Giovanni and Marriage of Figaro, who died here at the age of 89 on August 17, 1838. Da Ponte got the city's first opera house built.

97: Unpomela clothing, in the same building as 529 Broadway.

95: TeNo, stainless-steel jewelry. There's an after-hours club here called Kiosk, where rap mogul Sean Combs got in a fist fight in 2007.

93: New Republic Clothing features menswear styles of the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s-- pointedly not updated.

91: Arizona Leather Co.

Corner (529 Broadway): This was the site of the Prescott House hotel. Today there's Cafe Bari; upstairs is a club called Upstairs, described as a "celebrity sanctuary."


S <===     BROADWAY     ===> N

South:

Block (524 Broadway): Bayard Building dates to 1903. The building is home to...






Balthazar

80 (corner): balthazar by litherland, on Flickr Opened in 1997, Keith McNalley's evocation of a Parisian bistro is one of New York's best-known restaurants. A balthazar is a giant bottle of champagne, as well as one of the three wise men.

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85: Freight entrance for the Levi's store

New York Open Center

83: A New Age educational center founded in 1984

MoMA Design Store

81 (corner): MoMA Design Store, Soho by wooohooo, on Flickr Like a museum of design, but everything's for sale.


S <===     CROSBY STREET     ===> N

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72: Kate's Paperie, fancy stationery. Upstairs is Poets House.

68: Premium Laces, sneakers Outdoor Seating, Spring Street Natural Restaurant, Soho, New York City by Northcountry Boy, on Flickr

62 (corner): Spring Street Natural Restaurant, opened 1973--at this corner since 1985.

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75 (corner): Sur La Table, kitchenware

71: Frog Origine, French

69: Pylones, whimsical houseware

67: D&D Deli & Grocery

65: Le Sak Paris, handbags; Penzer [Architectural] Jewelry & Watches. Was Pita Cuisine

63 (corner): Lafayette Smoke Shop, classic newsstand

SUBWAY: 6 train to City Hall
This station appears in the movie Cloverfield, though the scene isn't shot on location.


S <===     LAFAYETTE STREET     ===> N

South:

NYC - SoHo: East River Savings Bank Building by wallyg, on Flickr

Corner (225 Lafayette): The East River Savings Bank Building went up in 1927 to a Cass Gilbert design, originally housing one of the city's oldest banks, founded in 1848. It was converted to condos in 2004 and is now known as The Spring.

On the seventh floor in the late 1940s and '50s were the offices of EC Comics, whose horror comics like Tales From the Crypt were the focus of the comic book panic of the mid-'50s. EC also originated Mad magazine here.

54: Firefly Bar & Restaurant

52: Anthony Liquors

50: Nail's by Deca

Spring Street Lounge

48 (corner): Giving the Finger at The Spring Lounge by aturkus, on Flickr This bar was a speakeasy in the 1920s, selling buckets of beer to go. In the 1940s it was known as Chappy's, and in the 1960s Wilson's 10:40, named for the starting time of the nightly craps game in the basement. It's been officially called Spring Lounge since the 1970s, but neighbors call it Shark Bar after the stuffed sharks on display. (There's a nifty shark mural on the wall outside.)

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SUBWAY: 6 train to Bleecker Street

Corner (231 Lafayette): Chameleon Antique Lighting


59: This was something 1840, which sold coffee and tea--though the building only dates back to 1910, so it's not clear what the story was here. Anyway, it's been closed for a while.


57: Fresh. Was Milan Laboratories, supplying the homemade-winemaker.


55: NYC - NoLita: Ceci Cela Patisserie by wallyg, on Flickr Ceci-Cela Patisserie, featuring the products of acclaimed pastry chef Laurent Dupal. Also Tutu.


53: This was the original home of Lombardi's, the site of America's first pizzeria. Opened as a grocery store in 1897 by Gennaro Lombardi, it started selling pizza by 1905; John Sasso of John's, Patsy Lancieri of Patsy's and Anthony Pero of Totonno's all learned the pizza trade here. The restaurant closed in 1984 and reopened down the street in 1994.


51 (corner): Pomodoro Gourmet Pizza


S <===     MULBERRY STREET     ===> N

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DeSalvio Playground

hyhx by YellowArrow, on Flickr Commemorates John DeSalvio, an Italian immigrant who became a Little Italy powerbroker, and his son Louis, a state assemblymember.

34: Judson Health Center

Lombardi's

NYC - Little Italy: Lombardi's Pizzeria by wallyg, on Flickr

32: The reincarnation of the nation's first pizzeria--reopened here by Gennaro Lombardi's grandson after a 10-year hiatus in 1994. The pizza is very good--a contender for the best pie in town.

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IMG_2457 by PamelaVWhite, on Flickr

45 (corner): Rocky's, old-school Italian; Crumpler Bags, which has an annual swap-for-beer-for-bags event.

43: Callalilai, clothes

41: A Pinkberry frozen yogurt outlet Rice to Riches, New York by Malcolm Surgenor, on Flickr

37: Rice to Riches serves rice pudding in numerous flavors.


29-31 (corner): This 20-room former sanatorium was the home and studio of sculptor Louise Nevelson from 1959 until her death in 1988. More recently the ground floor was Nancy Kotles at Home, bedding and loungeware.


S <===     MOTT STREET     ===> N

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24: Gallery Nine5




20: Bread, Italian sandwiches

18: Room 18, Asian tapas

16: Eastern United States Taoist Association

14 (corner): barmarche, quirky, romantic bistro

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21 (corner): In the same building as the Lira Apartments is Just Shades--lampshades, that is. manhattan, spring street, café habana by svanes, on Flickr

17: Cafe Habana






Lira Apartments

13 (block): Built of dark-red brick in 1983 to a Pasanella + Klein design called "severe...sober and satisfying" by the AIA Guide. Includes a midblock garden.


S <===     ELIZABETH STREET     ===> N

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manhattan, nolita, spring street, the jen bekman gallery by svanes, on Flickr

6: Woon hair salon, Jen Bekman gallery



































2-4 (corner): A brick building also known as 188 Bowery.

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Candle Building

11 Spring, 01-12 by shoehorn99, on Flickr

11 (corner): This 1888 carriage house and stable was for 30 years the home of John Simpson, an IBM employee who filled the building with Rube Goldberg-like contraptions and burned candles-- surplus from the 1964 Worlds Fair--in the windows, hence the nickname. Candle Bast by mercurialn, on Flickr Also known by its 11 Spring Street address, the building was perhaps New York's most famous canvas for street art. After plans for junior media mogul Lachlan Murdoch to turn the place into a mansion fell through, it's now spruced up as a condo building.

7: SSUR Plus is a men's clothing boutique with a penchant for Planet of the Apes imagery-- the name is pronounced "Surplus" and is in part owner Russell Karablin's first name spelled backwards, though I'll bet there's an acronym with "Spring Street" as well. Also Noble Food and Wine.

Germania Bank Building

spring and the bowery by oracle monkey, on Flickr

Corner (190 Bowery): Built in 1898, designed by Robert Maynicke. Long abandoned by 1966, when it was bought by photographer Jay Maisel, who still lives there with his wife and daughter, the sole occupants of the building's 72 rooms. (Roy Lichtenstein rented out the fourth floor for a while.) The exterior is often used as a canvas for street art; Keith Haring used to chalk babies on it.

Maisel's purchase is seen as a real-estate fairy tale: His $102,000 purchase is now worth $30-50 million. But it was a very different neighborhood in those days: ''Every single thing that can come out of a human body has been left on my doorstep,'' Maisel said.


S <===               THE BOWERY               ===> N

As many as a thousand New Yorkers, victims of an elaborate practical joke, are said to have shown up here in August 1824, ready to take part in a project that would saw Manhattan off its bedrock so that the island could be reversed and the "sagging" Battery connected to the Bronx.







What am I missing on Spring Street? Write to Jim Naureckas and tell him about it.

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