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Thread: Upper West Side Story

  1. #61


    New York Up Close

    A Cheap Lunch Takes a Hit

    Published: October 17, 2008

    AS economic indicators, the myriad colored signs above the registers at Gray’s Papaya, the Manhattan hot dog chain, leave something to be desired. They have advertised the stores’ “Recession Special” — two franks and a drink (anything but pineapple and orange) — since the late 1980s, through boom and bust, high times and low.

    Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times
    A price that’s about to rise.

    If the signs have looked sadly appropriate at some moments in their history, there have been other times, like the days of the dot-com bubble and the current decade’s real estate gold rush, when the idea of a recession-related discount may have felt a tad outdated. A deal is always nice, but a recession? In better days, it seemed a stretch.

    But no more. With the stock market’s recent slide and the continuing financial crisis, fears of a recession are back, and the signs at Gray’s, like a stopped clock, are looking timely again. Not that Nicholas Gray, the chain’s founder and its resident sage, is happy to be right.

    “I’m as suicidal as everybody else,” Mr. Gray said with a sigh in a recent phone interview.

    In fact, he added, the downturn will soon force a shift in one aspect of the recession special: the price. This week, the special will rise to $4.45 from $3.50, Mr. Gray said.

    “Tell them I’m weeping as I do it,” he said, adding, “My prices are very low and my rents are very high, so I have a problem.” Mr. Gray blamed the rising wholesale cost of food, and lamented the price increase’s timing, which he called “the worst.”

    The cost of the special has risen before. When it started, Mr. Gray said, “we used to say, ‘For the recession that’s over and the one that’s still to come.’ ” The price was $1.95 through most of the ’90s, then jumped to $2.45 in 2002, then to $2.75, and to $3.50 in 2006, all with regrets from Mr. Gray.

    “It’s always very traumatic for me as well as for the customers,” he said.

    At the store at 72nd Street and Broadway one afternoon last week, business seemed fine. There was a short line, all the spots to stand and eat by the windows were occupied, and a crowd was around the mustard pump.

    The appeal of a cheap lunch is timeless, Mr. Gray said. Besides, he added, “it’s always a recession for my customers, you know.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  2. #62


    Upper West Side

    The Books and the Boos

    Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times
    Kirk Davidson, a sidewalk vendor both loved and hated.

    Published: October 17, 2008

    “I’M the president and the C.E.O. of the booksellers of Broadway,” Kirk Davidson said as he reclined in an office chair outside a Chase Bank branch near West 73rd Street.

    On the sidewalk in front of him, and extending along the west side of Broadway between 72nd and 74th Streets, was Mr. Davidson’s 22-year-old enterprise: a sprawling array of used books piled on folding tables, their legs bowing under the weight.

    The books sit there around the clock, presided over by Mr. Davidson or one of the people who work with him on occasion, but sometimes they are left unattended.

    Some local residents see the books as an emblem of the Upper West Side’s rich intellectual and cultural history. Others see the assemblage as a case of one man taking over an entire stretch of public sidewalk.

    “A lot of customers complain,” said Jacinta Tucker, the manager of the Chase branch outside of which Mr. Davidson often sits. “Some people like him; some people hate him.”

    Later this month, Councilwoman Gale Brewer plans to meet with Lt. Daniel Albano of the New York Police Department’s legal bureau and Deputy Inspector Keith Spadaro of the 20th Police Precinct to try to address the situation.

    Councilwoman Brewer said that Mr. Davidson’s wares, slowly creeping up Broadway, were a topic of discussion at City Council meetings, and that complaints against Mr. Davidson included claims of cursing, spitting and otherwise annoying passers-by.

    Mr. Davidson said he regularly received tickets for a litany of offenses, among them leaving a stand unattended, taking up too many feet of sidewalk, not having a price marked inside each book and occasionally sleeping near his books.

    Officials from the local precinct and the Police Department’s public information office did not respond to half a dozen telephone calls and e-mail messages seeking comment.

    One evening last week, Mr. Davidson left his stands in the care of several others, among them a dog walker from Canarsie, Brooklyn, named Sandra Maugé, who started off as a customer. The vendors chatted, laughed and occasionally argued loudly over the sound of a radio as residents milled about and bought books.

    Just north of 73rd Street, several tables and a shopping cart with books had been covered with plastic tarps for the night, but half a block to the south, several men and one woman worked the evening shift, selling books from the makeshift stands.

    But Mr. Davidson has many defenders.

    “If the community didn’t want us in business, we wouldn’t be in business,” said Dale Jarvis, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 20 years and worked as a vendor with Mr. Davidson for 12 years. He acknowledged that Mr. Davidson can be “boisterous,” but described him as a person who contributes much to the community. “We’re talking about books here!” Mr. Jarvis said. “Come on!”

    Around 8 one night, as residents browsed, a lawyer named John Firestone stopped to look at books. “It brings people onto the street,” he said of the display. “New York is dying because its street life is dying.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  3. #63


    Popular Shake Shack opens up second location on Upper West Side

    Monday, October 20th 2008, 3:31 PM

    A customer samples the food at the new Shake Shack...

    ...located at 77th St. and Columbus Ave.

    Great news for fans of the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park tired of waiting in line: It's opened a second location.

    Only problem? You may have to take a subway. And, oh yeah, there's already a line.

    The popular burger and milkshake joint opened a new Shack on the Upper West Side today and excited New Yorkers young and old queued up patiently to order.

    "The burgers here are really that good," said Steve Mau, who came with his co-workers from the Museum of Natural History across the street.

    The restaurant is known for its long lines at its Madison Avenue and 23rd Street location, which opened in 2004. It even has a Web cam so customers can see how long the line is. The new location, at 77th Street and Columbus Avenue, will be getting a Web cam soon.

    What makes the Shake Shack so popular?

    "What we do here is the modern version of the old roadside burger and people connect with that," said manager Randy Garutti.

    Garutti said the restaurant is catering an upcoming wedding for two customers who met while waiting in line.

    The Shake Shack is owned by Danny Meyer, who also owns Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern.

    Cricket Lengyel, a 39-year-old graphic designer, came from Rhinebeck, N.Y., with her 2-year-old son for a burger.

    "My sister lives here and she told me about it," she said. "It's a great place to take the kids."

    Efren Caballes, 23, and his roommate Birju Shah, 24, took a break from med school yesterday to grab a quick bite.

    "We try to go to the Madison Square Park location and the line was always too long," said Calballes.

    Shah said they were a little worried about having a Shake Shack just three blocks from their apartment.

    "It's dangerous," he said. "But good dangerous."

    © Copyright 2008

  4. #64


    Literary restaurant aims for Amsterdam Ave.

    Edgar’s Cafe to open second location on Upper West Side.

    Adrianne Pasquarelli

    Upper West Siders will soon get another chance to be grateful for author Edgar Allan Poe. Gothic-themed Italian eatery Edgar’s Cafe recently signed a 10-year lease for its second location, at 650 Amsterdam Ave., between West 91st and West 92nd streets. The asking rent for the 950-square-foot space was $150 a square foot.

    The first Edgar’s is located on West 84th Street—also officially known as Edgar Allan Poe Street—and features a crumbling cathedral ceiling reminiscent of the setting in “The Fall of the House of Usher.” The Amsterdam Avenue location, called Edgar’s II Cafe, will be similarly themed.

    “We’re still working with the architect and going through some of the poems,” said co-owner Joseph Di Benedetto. He hopes to open for business by the spring. Edgar’s II Cafe will provide inside seating for about 50, as well as sidewalk tables.

    Neal Ohm, a broker with CitySites Commercial Group, represented both the tenant and the landlord in the transaction.

    © 2008 Crain Communications, Inc.

  5. #65


    October 22, 2008

    Natural HIstory Museum Delivers "Scientifically Engineered" Ice Rink

    Rendering courtesy of the Museum of Natural History.

    Exciting news coming out of the Upper West Side: the Museum of Natural History will soon unveil an ice skating rink of its own, The NY Post reports.

    The 12,000-sq-ft rink has more to do with the future than history, as its made from "an artificial surface that doesn't melt or require refrigeration or maintenance," and it's been "scientifically engineered to allow skate blades to glide as smoothly as they do on real ice." Though the museum has been hush hush on the project, the paper noted that it will be located on the Arthur Ross Terrace, and only open during traditional skating season. Unsurprisingly, community board members are in full support of the newest addition to the area, and didn't foresee any problems "with sound or lights at night." Maybe they'll even include some ice sculptures of dinosaurs? Until then, here are some of the other rinks around town have already opened for the season.

    2003-2008 Gothamist LLC.

  6. #66


    Fate of Famous Neon Sign Worries Local Pol

    by Chris Shott
    9:00 AM November 26, 2008

    Hamza Zaman.
    279 Amsterdam Avenue.

    "Your heart almost gets ripped out every time these things happen," said City Councilwoman Gale Brewer, calling just past deadline on Tuesday to comment on the hallowed P & G bar's looming departure from its longstanding location at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 73rd Street.

    "Many patrons of P & G call me all the time," Ms. Brewer said. "Even though it's not leaving the neighborhood, I hate to have it move -- and I don't know what happens with the sign."

    The bar's beaming red, yellow and green "Cafe Bar" sign has illuminated the corner since 1942 and is widely considered a neighborhood landmark; its fate is now up in the air as the bar's owners plan to relocate to 380 Columbus Avenue after a fruitless two-year struggle to stay put. The existing lease expires Dec. 31.

    "Are they going to want to move it? I don't know if they're going to be able to move it," Ms. Brewer said. "I don't know if they're going to be allowed to by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

    "I know the new building really well," she added. "It's a downstairs environment, first of all, and I don't even quite know how it would fit there. I can't see it fitting in the context of the new building. Maybe he just has to do a new sign," she said, referring to P & G owner Tom Chahalis. "But I don't know how he could do something similar in the new space.

    "I don't know what to say, except that the whole neighborhood is in mourning."

    © 2008 Observer Media Group

  7. #67


    Quote Originally Posted by brianac View Post
    "I don't know if they're going to be able to move it," Ms. Brewer said. "I don't know if they're going to be allowed to by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
    Is that because it doesn't meet regulations in the new place or because the regulations say it has to stay in the old place? Are both locations historic? If not, then which one? Regulations ... pshaw.

  8. #68
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    NYC - Downtown


    Past rulings by LPC show they are pliable when it comes to signage in Landmarked Districts.

    Case in point: The W Hotel opposite the NE corner of Union Square. That building used to be topped by an "EQUITABLE" sign, but the new tenant wanted to change it. Some preservationist folks argued that the old sign was protected and shouldn't be changed. New hotel folks argued that such a decision would make no sense from a business point of view: Why should they have to restore & maintain a sign that advertised a business which no longer existed in the building and did nothing to support the new hotel business? LPC relented and now the building is topped by a new "W" sign (albeit in the same style and 'feeling' as the previous sign).

  9. #69


    Better Late Than Never? Apthorp Listings Hit the Market

    Monday, December 1, 2008, by Joey

    Legendary Upper West Side landmark, coveted luxury rental building, celebrity-filled hideaway—the Apthorp is/was all of these things, and now thanks to an epic and bitter condo conversion, the 1920th-century beauty at Broadway and 78th Street is now on sale. And what timing! Five listings have hit the Elliman website, under the Apthorp's address of 390 West End Avenue, and there are sample floorplans available on the Apthorp's website (some examples above). Things we know: the apartment are sprawling (even the one-bedrooms have grand entry foyers), the prices are staggering—a $2,200/sqft average right now—and Nora Ephron wants no part of it. Still unclear: how many of the 163 units are still rent-stabilized, the maintenance/tax damages per apartment, and who still has the beaucoup bucks to buy. If you recall, developers Mann Realty and Lev Leviev's Africa-Israel jacked up rents to drive people off, then took back control of the outsourced in-building parking garage after the structure was suspiciously deemed unsound. Now the real fun begins!

    · Listings: The Apthorp [StreetEasy]
    · The Apthorp [Official Site]
    · Apthorp coverage [Curbed]

    Copyright © 2008 Curbed
    Last edited by brianac; December 2nd, 2008 at 06:06 AM.

  10. #70


    Streetscapes | Broadway at 78th Street

    The Not-So-Secret Garden in the Apthorp’s Courtyard

    American Architect & Building News/Office for Metropolitan History, left; Oscar Hidalgo/The New York Times
    Peace and Quiet Plants and fountains graced the Apthorp’s courtyard garden in 1910, left. The view is much the same today, right, but the plantings are even lusher and benches have been added.

    Published: July 22, 2007

    A STRING of landscaped apartment-house courtyards runs up the West Side, from the Dakota at 72nd Street and Central Park West to the Astor Court at 89th and Broadway. At the midpoint stands the Apthorp, at 78th Street, with a lush green courtyard garden reaching from Broadway to West End Avenue. Its through-block vista makes it the most striking of all.

    Oscar Hildago/The New York Times
    The courtyard and the vaulted entries leading to it were cleaned several years ago.

    The apartment-house courtyard in New York is an inside-out evolution of the early 19th-century residential square.

    The first in a New York apartment house dates to 1879, when Edward Clark and his architect, Henry Hardenbergh, built the Van Corlear on the northwest corner of Seventh Avenue and 55th Street. It was demolished in the 1920s.

    Mr. Clark and Mr. Hardenbergh wrapped the six-story red-brick building around a 35-by-90-foot courtyard, allowing cross-ventilation and a sense of refuge from the street. They put a fountain in the middle but also allowed trade deliveries to use the turnaround.

    They altered this template in 1884 with their more famous Dakota, where deliveries were taken in at the basement level and the courtyard was solely for residents.

    Another refinement: The Van Corlear apartments were entered from vestibules on the street, but at the nine-story Dakota, the entrances were in the courtyard. Everyone entering has to pass first through the stone portal, a solution offering “perfect quiet and seclusion,” Mr. Hardenbergh said in a letter published in American Architect and Building News in 1891. Still, the Dakota courtyard was fairly plain, more parking lot than park.

    In 1901, The New-York Daily Tribune gave the first notice of what became the Apthorp, planned by William Waldorf Astor on the entire block he owned between 78th and 79th Streets, from Broadway to West End Avenue. The main entrance was to be on Broadway, with a ramp from West End Avenue leading directly down to a lower level for deliveries. At the center, he intended a two-level garden with flowers and fountains.

    Over the next few years the project varied from 9 to 20 stories. But when final plans were made in 1906 by Mr. Astor’s architectural firm, Clinton & Russell, they were for a 12-story limestone-fronted building. It opened in 1908, with a courtyard 95 feet by 134 feet, all by itself a plot larger than the typical corner apartment house site.

    According to an account in Architects’ and Builders’ Magazine in 1908, the private courtyard was laid out “in formal style.” The architects had shifted the basement ramp to 79th Street, leaving two grand barrel-vaulted entries facing Broadway and West End.

    In the center of the court there was “a display of horticulture that would grace a botanical garden,” the journal Architecture said shortly after the building opened. No planting list survives, but period photographs seem to show beds of shrubs, with spiky plants, apparently yuccas, at each end.

    Brick walkways surrounded two large bowl-like fountains, and a photograph shows boxes of vines hanging down from a third-floor window.

    There were no benches; this area was for viewing only.

    In 1909, the Belnord, designed by Hiss & Weekes, went up on the block from 86th to 87th from Broadway to Amsterdam Avenue. It, too, had a court, which was reached from 87th Street, and the two side-by-side main entrances faced 86th.

    The New York Times wrote that the 94-by-231-foot courtyard was accessible via “a double driveway of oaken blocks” leading to “a grassy lawn big enough for a score of children to romp on, and a central palm-bordered fountain.”

    An early photograph of the courtyard shows only four small areas of turf surrounded by stout privet hedges and interrupted by glass-covered vaults lighting the delivery yard below. Apparently someone thought better of romping children.

    The last of the era’s apartment-house courtyards on the Upper West Side can be found at the 1916 Astor Court, on Broadway from 89th to 90th Street. Vincent Astor’s idea — or perhaps that of his architect, Charles Platt — was to keep vehicles entirely out of the central area, making it into a pedestrian refuge, and he placed benches around a simple brick pathway.

    While the Astor Court’s interior garden cannot be seen from the street, the one at the Apthorp can. The magnificent block-through view from Broadway to West End, framed by the coffered ceilings of the barrel-vaulted passageways, is reminiscent of some great Florentine library or palace complex. Several years ago, the owners cleaned the courtyard and the barrel vaults, which came out spectacularly.

    The Apthorp, which has 163 rental apartments, is now owned by a joint venture of Mann Realty and Africa Israel Investment Ltd. In March, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Apthorp was going to be converted to condominiums, but all that Jon Herbitter, the president of Mann Realty, would say last week was that the owners were exploring their options.

    Maurice Mann, the founder of Mann Realty, paid $426 million for the building last fall. “I knew I was going to own the Apthorp when I walked into the garden,” he said. “It has a majesty I have not seen in other buildings.”

    Mr. Mann lives in the El Dorado, at Central Park West and 90th Street, but he stops in at the Apthorp every few days. “It’s wonderful just to sit in the garden and listen to the water and reflect,” he said. “We’re in such a crazy busy city.”


    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by brianac; December 2nd, 2008 at 06:17 AM.

  11. #71


    December 11, 2008, 9:30 am

    In Riverside Park, a Horse Trough and a Scandal

    By David W. Dunlap

    Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, and Jonathan Kuhn, the director of art and antiquities in the Department of Parks and Recreation, inspecting the dig in Riverside Park, at 76th Street, that yielded a 102-year-old marble horse trough. (Photos: David W. Dunlap/The New York Times)

    The streets were not paved with gold, but the horses drank from marble. An impromptu archaeological dig in Riverside Park has cast light on a time when horses — not horsepower — moved New York. And when charitable impulses included the financing of water troughs throughout the city, sometimes on a monumental scale.

    Digging deeply last month into an earthen embankment at the base of the fortresslike retaining wall along Riverside Drive, at the foot of 76th Street, city park workers discovered a broad drinking basin made of Tennessee pink marble set into the wall. It had been installed in 1906 for the comfort of horses traveling through the park, when the ground level in that spot was about 10 to 12 feet lower than it is today.

    The inner surface of the marble basin, buried under four feet of earth, can be seen in this photo, as can the sluice down which water ran to the trough.

    The dig also cast light on an intriguing figure of 19th-century New York, Robert Ray Hamilton, a once-rising politician with one of the most distinguished names in American history (he was Alexander’s great-grandson) whose scandal-mired downfall could practically have been torn from contemporary headlines. Or blog posts.

    The Times reported in 1890:
    Until he became the victim of an adventuress, the career of Robert Ray Hamilton was bright with every promise that wealth, influence and opportunity could bring to a man of his decided taste for political life, and who had already made his mark as a member of the legislature.

    After the adjournment of last year’s legislature, nothing was heard of Mr. Hamilton until suddenly in August 1889, his friends were shocked by the revelations of his connection with the woman Eva Mann, through a vicious assault committed by the woman in the Nell Cottage, Atlantic City, on her maid, Mary Donnelly. Gradually the whole truth came out that Eva Mann, a notorious woman, was his wife; that she had palmed off on him a foundling as his child; and that he had been her dupe for years.
    On a hunting trip in Yellowstone National Park a year later, Hamilton drowned in the Snake River. John D. Sargent, Hamilton’s best friend, with whom he shared a cottage in Jackson, Wyo., said the victim had tried to ford the river at night and tangled his spurs in river grass. But it was not long before Sargent was suspected as a murderer. In 1913, he shot himself to death.

    The horse trough forms the lower part of this richly ornamented fountain facing Riverside Drive, a posthumous gift of Robert Ray Hamilton.

    After Hamilton’s death, it was revealed that he had directed his executors to spend about $10,000 for a fountain to be presented to the city. The Times said his wish was that the fountain be “so arranged that it can be used by the thirsty as well as serving an ornamental purpose.” Warren & Wetmore, the architects involved in Grand Central Terminal, designed the Hamilton Fountain, which was dedicated in 1906.

    It is about to undergo a $150,000 restoration (with a small maintenance endowment), financed by the Riverside Park Fund. Among other things, the beak of the eagle, which has been lopped off repeatedly by vandals, will be replaced. James T. Dowell, the president of the fund, said the money had been raised largely from the immediate neighborhood. The biggest single gift, $75,000, came from a family that was “adamant about being anonymous,” he said. Margaret Bracken is the landscape architect in charge of the project.

    Historical photographs compiled for the restoration disclosed that the fountain, long thought to consist only of the ornamented basin facing the drive, once fed down a sluice carved in the back of the wall down to a lower basin that would have served as a horse trough. A later embankment buried any visible evidence.

    A 1935 photograph clearly shows the marble basin below the Hamilton Fountain. (Photo: Alajos Schuszler/New York City Parks Photo Archive)

    “This is what made us think there was something down below,” said Jonathan Kuhn, the director of arts and antiquities in the Department of Parks and Recreation.

    Last month, park workers reluctantly started to dig out the spot. Their reluctance only grew as the depth of the hole did: one feet, two feet, three feet. Finally, about three and a half feet down, they hit marble.

    “You’d think they’d found the Elgin marbles,” said Adrian Benepe, the parks commissioner, on a visit to the site on Dec. 1.

    That said, however, he seemed to fall captive to the spell cast by the hidden basin, summoning up a vision of life in the early 1900s when horses and railroad trains shared the Hudson shoreline. He said the basin might be excavated and reused elsewhere, perhaps as a dog fountain.

    Or perhaps, he said, it will be amply documented and then simply left in place. That would allow another parks commissioner in another era to find it again, and to rediscover the sorry story of Robert Ray Hamilton.

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

    Related to this STORY
    Last edited by brianac; December 11th, 2008 at 10:22 AM.

  12. #72


    December 10, 2008, 5:00 pm

    Cheese and Antiques Shop to Close Doors

    By James Barron

    Maya Schaper’s little cheese and antique shop on West 69th Street will be replaced by a cafe. (Photos: James Barron/The New York Times)

    Moviegoers remember its cameo in the 1998 romance “You’ve Got Mail.” But the real-life shop around the corner, Maya Schaper Cheese and Antiques, is closing.

    It has been a fixture on West 69th Street since the mid-1990’s, with cheese at the front counter and furniture, small silver collectibles and movie posters in the rest of the shop (including one, not for sale, for “You’ve Got Mail,” in which the cheese and coffees were replaced by books, and the words on the awning out front were changed to “Shop Around the Corner”).

    Ms. Schaper delivered the message indirectly with a sign on the door. “It is with great sadness that after 14 wonderful years here,” it began, “the time has come to say goodbye.”

    Maya Schaper says it was too hard to keep her shop afloat.

    Ms. Schaper, who was born in Yugoslavia and grew up in Italy, said she realized in 2006 that the shop was not making enough money. A year ago, plans were announcedfor a Viennese-style coffeehouse and wine bar.

    That deal fell through, she said, and she stayed on, putting in 10- to 12-hour days.

    Now, she said, Gary Schaeffer, a former stock exchange floor specialist-turned-real estate developer who lives a block from the shop, will build “the cafe I’ve been wanting.” She said she would shut down her operation at the end of the month.

    Mr. Schaeffer said he wanted an elegant “Basque-like environment” that would be cozy and “in keeping with what the essence of the Upper West Side used to be.” He said he was leaning toward a seating plan with 36 seats.

    “I want something where people have some breathing room,” he said.

    Mr. Schaeffer said he had retired from the New York Stock Exchange “as one of those guys that screams all day” on the trading floor. For the last couple of years, he said, he has been involved in developing a condominium on West 42nd Street at 10th Avenue. But he has long been passionate about good food.

    “I’ve been a somewhat wannabe chef my whole life,” he said.

    And though he will not be the cafe’s chef, he said, “I’ve got some recipes I’ll be bringing in.”

    Over the years, rents on the Upper West Side have soared — Ms. Schaper’s is around $11,000 a month nowadays, she said — and small stores with the owner behind the counter have all but disappeared.

    “You cannot be an individual business here anymore,” said Ann Roggen, a violist who has lived up the street since 1978 and is a regular customer.

    “The rents are too high. That’s why all you see are chains. The people who open their specialty shops because of their interests and their love of something, they’re gone, and that’s a loss for the neighborhood, an emotional loss.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

  13. #73


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~

    Where Once There Were Many, There Are Just Two

    Published: December 17, 2008

    Calling Broadway the main street of the Upper West Side, Paul Goldberger wrote in “The City Observed: New York” (1978) that it was “like a child’s room that is permitted to remain in disorder by parents who feel that children should be permitted to have their own mess.”


    “If you doubt the economic wisdom of letting a street be that way,” he continued, “count the empty storefronts: there are virtually none from Lincoln Center to Morningside Heights.”

    The best single block to illustrate this jumbled vitality for Mr. Goldberger’s guidebook was between 74th and 75th Streets. In a 213-foot stretch were a celebrated fishmonger (Citarella), a well-known greengrocer (Fairway), a supermarket (D’Agostino), a clothing store (Pandemonium), a coffee shop and a popular bingo parlor called Broadway Hall.

    Revisiting the block 30 years later, one finds Fairway and Citarella. Period.

    The competing markets, which long ago expanded beyond their original specialties, now occupy all the street-level retail space.

    This is a tribute to the West Side’s enduring character as a neighborhood where homegrown food businesses can thrive, cheek by jowl. But it also underscores the growing big-box monotony on Broadway, even when the boxes are, happily, one of a kind.

    Fairway was founded in the early 1930s by Nathan Glickberg as the 74th Street Market, a fruit and vegetable stand. In the early ’50s, the Glickberg family turned it into a supermarket called Fairway, adding groceries, meat, dairy products and frozen food. After the business changed hands several times, Howard Glickberg, one of the founder’s grandsons, recreated it as a high-end produce shop in 1974. Fairway expanded into the coffee shop in 1997. Two years later, it took over D’Agostino’s space and the former bingo hall upstairs, which had more recently been a Bally’s Jack LaLanne Fitness Center. There, Fairway runs a cafe and steakhouse.

    And there, Fairway’s irresistible force meets the immovable object of Citarella, which expanded into the Pandemonium space in 1993. The competitors are abutters, too.

    Imagine a passer-by from the 1978 photograph — perhaps the man in the vest, flared trousers and mustard-colored shirt (just a guess) with four-inch collar points — propelled forward 30 years.

    The time traveler recognizes Fairway and Citarella, of course, but the crowd looks younger, more prosperous and less diverse, and there are more children underfoot. The device in the woman’s right hand could be described to him as being akin to a Dick Tracy two-way wrist radio with a full keyboard and a computer monitor. But it might take all day to explain the phrase “” on the awning, where it used to say “Farm Fresh.”

    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
    Last edited by brianac; December 18th, 2008 at 05:46 AM.

  14. #74


    Apthorp Files $500 Million Claim Against Apollo, Then Drops It

    By Cynthia Cotts

    Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- The managers of the Apthorp, a landmark residence in Manhattan that has been home to Al Pacino and Conan O’Brien, filed a $500 million lawsuit against Apollo Real Estate Advisors and dropped it the same day.

    Apollo Real Estate Finance Corp., the lending and debt investment vehicle for Apollo, a real estate company based in New York, improperly handled a plan to renovate the Apthorp, according to a complaint filed on Dec. 15 in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

    Apollo, which allegedly wants to acquire the property itself, wrongly stated that its loan to Apthorp management is out of balance, meaning projected expenses don’t match projected income, according to the complaint.

    The complaint was withdrawn after Apollo agreed to put its claim that the loan is out of balance on hold until Jan. 9, said Steven Schlesinger, Apthorp’s attorney, in an interview. Apthorp has the option to refile its complaint by Jan. 9, Schlesinger said.

    “The case was filed and immediately withdrawn,” Apollo General Counsel Cindy Wenig said in an interview. She declined to comment further.
    Anglo Irish Bank Group of Dublin, Ireland, was also named as a defendant in the complaint.

    Tony Campbell, president of Anglo Irish Bank Group-North America, didn’t return a call and e-mail seeking comment. Anglo Irish spokeswoman Gwen Cook had no immediate comment.
    Upper West Side

    The Apthorp, built in 1906 and located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has 163 apartments, featuring 14-foot ceilings, a gated court yard and an underground garage, according to the complaint. The apartments sell for $3,000 a square foot, according to, a real estate blog.

    In 2007, Apollo and Anglo Irish provided $528 million in first-mortgage and mezzanine financing to Mann Realty to renovate the Apthorp and convert it to condos, according to the complaint. Mann Realty, run by Maurice Mann, manages the Apthorp property.

    This fall, the banks demanded a $12 million payment from Apthorp to place the loans in balance, according to the complaint. After receiving the payment, they confirmed that the loan was in balance. This month, the banks claimed the loan was again out of balance and demanded an additional $22.7 million, according to the complaint.

    For now, the loan is in balance.

    “They took the knife out of our back and reserved the right to put it back in on Jan. 9,” Schlesinger said.

    The case is Apthorp v. AREFIN, 603675/2008, New York Supreme Court (Manhattan).

    To contact the reporter on this story: Cynthia Cotts in New York at

    Last Updated: December 17, 2008 00:01 EST

  15. #75

    Default 246-272 West 73rd Street

    A Wild, Wild Row on the West Side

    Konrad Fielder for The New York Times
    WEAR AND TEAR A fire in July damaged 254 West 73rd Street, the row house at the "no standing" sign with the tarpaulin on the roof. It is part of a mold-breaker row designed by Charles T. Mott and built in 1888.

    Published: December 19, 2008

    IN the fierce blaze that erupted in July at the gawky row house at 254 West 73rd Street, firefighters were frustrated by its very architecture. The strange peaked roof and peculiar gables spread the fire throughout the upper section, and hampered attempts to get water there.

    Konrad Fielder for The New York Times
    262 West 73rd has its original copper balustrade.

    Office for Metropolitan History
    PAST LIFE In 1943, Nos. 262, 264 and 266 West 73rd Street still had a tile roof.

    Built in 1888, it is part of one of the West Side’s wildest rows of houses, running from No. 246 to No. 272 West 73rd Street.

    Before 1880, row house developers followed the safest possible path, producing uniform rows with little variation. But around that time developers began to add a little spice.

    The 73rd Street houses were begun in 1887 by William J. Merritt, a Harlem architect turned developer. He was backed by $1.5 million, some of which was lent to him by William Earl Dodge Stokes, who later built the nearby Ansonia.

    But instead of serving as his own designer, Merritt hired the architect Charles T. Mott.

    Only fragments are known of Mott’s life, but he was a member of the Architectural League and a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

    These associations suggest a professional education, or at least study with one of the important architects of the day — unusual, because speculative row house work was far from prestigious.

    For the 73rd Street houses, built at $13,500 each, Mott produced a sweep of design unparalleled in other West Side house construction. The pair at 246 and 248 appear to be separate works — their tawny orange brick and great projecting bays, corbelled out at the top floor, are unlike the rest of the row. They were also designed by Mott, but may have been completed by a different developer.

    Andrew S. Dolkart, an associate professor of historic preservation at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, says they follow very closely the lines of Pierrefonds, a medieval castle in France rebuilt around 1860 by Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc. That is a reference more likely applied to an ambitious Fifth Avenue mansion than to a speculative project.

    The rest of the row is a thing unto itself, with roughened brown brick, dormers, in-and-out bays and oriels, and, particularly, an irregular roofline like a horse at a gallop. The facades don’t follow a pattern — they are not, for instance, A-B-B-A, in the lingo of architectural historians. They are closer to the alphabet spilled down a front stoop, but generally French Renaissance in style.

    One group, Nos. 252 to 256, sticks forward and is flanked by big corner bays. The entire triplet is crossed by a bright green copper balustrade.

    The turrets at each end were once capped with rounded tile, and before the fire the central house, No. 254, had a giant Flemish gable in heavily worked green copper.

    In The Real Estate Record and Guide of 1887, the writer Montgomery Schuyler praised the rows, singling out particularly the “notably pretty grouping” of Nos. 252 to 256, and marveling that the differences in the buildings “animate the skyline without tormenting it.”

    This was at first a prestigious block, backing up on West 72nd Street, the best crosstown street on the West Side. But by 1910 several of the houses had boarders, and the 1930 census lists 18 roomers at No. 252 West 73rd. The house at No. 260 had been broken into seven apartments; one tenant was Alberto Vargas, an artist for the Ziegfeld Follies. In the 1960s his slightly clothed "Vargas Girls" for Playboy magazine had a dedicated following.

    For those nosy enough, an inspection trip into the vestibules of the houses is a treat. The floor of No. 250 is a mosaic pattern of interlocking snakes; of No. 266, an illusionistic ribbon of yellow and maroon. Several of the houses have their original brass hardware — the front door pulls of No. 270 are little masterpieces. No. 262 has its original wall covering, embossed fabric.

    But the row has a worn look that once characterized most West Side streets.

    Indeed, this row is unusual in that it has so far missed the restorer’s brush — no hedge fund millions have alighted on any of these houses.

    Among the great rows of the West Side, they are outside any landmark district. So the fate of No. 254, which requires extensive repairs, will be an indicator of the winds of preservation.

    Photographs and videos of the fire are posted at The owner is Rebecca Crystal. Jeff Squeri, who answered her phone and said he spoke for her, says that the property will return to apartment use, and that the exterior will be “similar to what it was.”

    What that means should be clear by late spring.


    Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

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