Monday, December 5, 2011

From the Archives: Cornices to Curtain Walls on 32nd Street

In this post, 34SP's archivist Anne Kumer shares some 34th Street history. This post also appears on NYC Circa, Anne's history blog about New York City and its public spaces and buildings.

When I first started working for the 34th Street Partnership, I was going though photos and found this one showing the corner of West 32nd Street and Sixth Avenue, or, 885 Sixth Ave., taken in March 1992.
Photo: 34SP Archive, March 1992, Norman Mintz
I recognized it as being an early 1900s building, but with a TON of signage hanging off of it and something weird happening with the cornice along the top, almost as if it had been removed? Yep, 'cause here's what it looked like shortly after being built in 1910 -- less signage and intact cornice.

Photo: MCNY
Fast forward to the 1990s. The ground floor was occupied by Leo's Famous, a hot dog emporium and coffee shop that was at this location since 1941, and closed in 1997.

Photo: 34SP Archive, March 1992, Norman Mintz

After finding these photos, I thought I'd walk down to look at the building in person. Too late. I started working for the BID in 2008, found the photo in 2009, and by then, the building was torn down to make room for The Continental, a large residential complex, with coincidentally, the same name as a Christopher Walken SNL character. He's done so many good ones.

Curbed documented the construction of  The Continental (also known as Tower 111) quite thoroughly, including a sneak peak at its insides last January. It's central location to transportation hubs, restaurants, and shopping, put residents in the . . Thick. Of. It. with almost everything the City has to offer in a short walk or subway ride away.