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Thread: Demolition at 353-357 Broadway?

  1. #1

    Default Demolition at 353-357 Broadway?

    In the words of the NY Post's Steve Cuozzo, three "dorky" (or as Lofter would say, POS) buildings located at 353, 355 and 357 Broadway are vacant but for a store which is closing in five days (i.e., Dec. 11, 2006). I genuinely hope that they will be razed because they detract from the otherwise beautiful buildings surrounding them. Does anyone have any information?

  2. #2
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    There's an old post from July 2004 on 353 Broadway HERE ...

    ... developer Ilan Tavor's plan to tear down the two-floor property and replace it with a 20-story apartment tower that would loom above its low-rise neighbors between Leonard and Franklin streets.

    The building, designed by Joseph Aliotta of Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, would have 81 apartments.

    ... The city Department of Buildings rejected the design plan as incomplete.
    DOB shows that 353 is a separate property; 355-357 is shown as one property.

    No DOB action at 353 since the Disapproved 2004 Application.

    No DOB action at 355-357 since 1995.

    A store called P S Yarns is at 355 Broadway (according to their website)

    I think there are other postings regarding this site -- but so far I can't track them down (darned search feature )

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    ...A store called P S Yarns is at 355 Broadway (according to their website)...
    P.S. Yarns is the store that's closing. This strectch of B'Way and the surrounding streets have long been plagued by dumpy stores, but the buildings there (but for a few P's of S) are incredibly beautiful. Furthermore, the few P's of S, such as PS Yarns, and the 60's dump just up the street which will be razed for a condo, are being eliminated quickly.

  4. #4

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    The following article was printed in the Dec. 15, 2006 edition of the "Downtown Express." I am elated that the POS building which houses this store will be razed.

    "Losing the fabric of Downtown"

    By Michele Herman


    Until recently, if you needed to buy fabric in Manhattan, you could travel less than a mile in almost any direction and find a store that stocked what you were looking for. There were even three distinct fabric districts, each clustered with long, narrow stores smelling of sizing and cotton, where the person behind the counter with the big shears was likely to be fluent in Butterick, Vogue, McCall’s and Yiddish.


    The Midtown district, concentrated at West 39th and 40th Sts., is holding steady. But a few years ago the Lower East Side district on Orchard St. was swallowed in a gulp by boutiques and fromageries. Right now, if you walk down Broadway on the blocks just below Canal St., you can watch the Downtown district disappear before your eyes, one closing sale after another.


    Just a week ago P&S, the last great retail fabric store on lower Broadway — arguably in the whole borough — sent out an advance mailer to its customers with sad but inevitable news: its building has been sold, forcing the store to close. P&S is housed in a nondescript mid-block two-story building of the sort known as a “taxpayer,” which for a Manhattan fabric store is a giddy amount of space. Spanning both floors and the deep basement, P&S is Manhattan’s only complete needlework emporium, with a large selection of dress and upholstery fabrics, notions, trimmings, crafts, patterns and even a respectable knitting department. The developer who’s tearing down the building to put up a high rise feels giddy about the space, too, but that’s because it’s the centerpiece of a dream parcel: another two-story tear-down to the south and a landmarked building with transferable air rights to the north.


    Mark and Isaac Spiegel, who are brothers, own the store, having taken it over from their father Harry when he died a few years ago. P&S has been at the present location at 355 Broadway just below Franklin St. for 14 years, and elsewhere on the block for another decade before that. The brothers expect to stay open about two more months.


    Fabric runs deep in the Spiegel family. “My father’s family, before Hitler came to power, manufactured underwear in Lodz, Poland, which was the textile capital of Europe,” says Mark. When Harry, a Holocaust survivor, came to New York, he got a job as a hat and cap salesman and made a slight vertical move. “My father, may he rest in peace, used to have a cap shop at 656 Broadway. He came down to pick up his material in this neighborhood – corduroys, denims, twills, velvets.”


    P&S always sold both retail and wholesale. But until the last seven or eight years, most of the area was largely wholesale, providing much of P&S’s supply. “Most of the people down here had contacts with the mills,” says Mark. “The mills would get an order for 15,000 yards, and there would be a little runover, which they would buy. They would sell the runover to manufacturers for the big houses Uptown, the ones that sold to Macy’s and the chain stores. There were people from Poland, and also from Armenia, Israel, Russia.”


    But then a few years ago, most of the domestic mills shut down, drying up the wholesale supply. The Broadway stores survived, at least for a while, by shifting to retail. “My suppliers became my competitors,” says Mark. “It actually made the neighborhood more attractive, because people came down to shop. Where there’s competition, there’s business.”
    This nondescript stretch of Broadway, once so well-suited for fabric jobbers with its large basements and easy truck loading, is now, of course, too valuable to support a fabric ghetto. The Spiegel brothers love what they do, but the prospects for relocation are grim. “Years ago they’d offer you a free month’s rent,” says Mark. “Now stores are sitting empty and the landlords don’t want to budge. Across the street they’re asking $1 million rent for the corner store. They’ll get it from a bank; the banks are going for the corners and price is no object. Now it’s just banks, furniture, Duane Reades and Starbucks.


    “The beauty of our business is that we have a little of everything and it all works together,” continues Spiegel. “We’re like a supermarket that sells milk and juice and cheeses and cans of tuna. We could move into a much smaller space, but we won’t be able to carry everything, and will have to pay more. The question is: what to give up and how to make up the difference?”


    Mark Spiegel, 42, has other questions too. He doesn’t yet know what he and his brother, 44, will do if no viable space turns up. Both have young children. “If it were a good business,” Mark says, “I would like to see the kids take over, but it’s not a growing business. A lot less people have time to sew.”


    The Spiegels are observant Jews, as any customer who’s tried to shop after 2 p.m. on a Friday knows. “If we can’t find space, we’ll leave it up to God, and hopefully he’ll send us in the right direction,” says Mark. “We took good care of the employees. We like to treat people the way we like to be treated. We were flexible, and took returns. We have a good name, thank God.”

  5. #5
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    Pics?

  6. #6
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Something tells me these aren't what you were hoping for (but I'll try and take some pics of the building this weekend) ...

    P&S fabrics on Broadway is having a closeout sell.



    Owners and brothers Mark, bottom left, and Isaac Spiegel are not sure
    what’s next. Mark said he’d like to pass the business on to their children
    “but it’s not a growing business. A lot less people have time to sew.”


    Downtown Express photos by Jefferson Siegel

    ***

  7. #7

    Default p&s yarn

    Good one to watch. Looking forward to seeing the photos.
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  8. #8
    Crabby airline hostess - stache's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post

    Owners and brothers Mark, bottom left, and Isaac Spiegel are not sure
    what’s next. Mark said he’d like to pass the business on to their children
    “but it’s not a growing business. A lot less people have time to sew.”[/LEFT]
    Extremely nice people in this store.

  9. #9
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Pics from today of 353-355 Broadway:






  10. #10

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    Thanks for posting those, Lofter. Those buildings are true P's O S, as are the ones that will be razed a few blocks north for the new condo. Other than these limited P's O S, this area has REALLY beautiful buildings.

  11. #11

    Default Tax Payer

    Quote Originally Posted by lofter1 View Post
    Pics from today of 353-355 Broadway:
    Sweeet pics; thanks. These building are P'sOS: but in this case I think they were intended to be only boxex/place holders called a "tax payer".

    Excerpt from the book "Morningside Heights" by A.Dolkart.
    "....... the only exceptions are several (taxpayers) on Broadway , one -or - two story buildings erected to generate enough income to permit the owners to pay taxes and other expenses while awaiting a more favorable climate for full-scale development......"
    Last edited by infoshare; December 17th, 2006 at 10:02 AM. Reason: add text

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by londonlawyer View Post
    They’ll get it from a bank; the banks are going for the corners and price is no object. Now it’s just banks, furniture, Duane Reades and Starbucks.
    This is a job for zoning.

    Where is zoning when you really need it?

  13. #13
    Build the Tower Verre antinimby's Avatar
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    This particular proposal looks very familiar.

    I know we talked about this one somewhere here before, some time ago.

    Looks like P&S building is both 355 and 357.









    © Swanke Hayden Connell Architects 2004

  14. #14

    Arrow POS buildings

    Quote Originally Posted by antinimby View Post

    Looks like P&S building is both 355 and 357.
    I think the lots/buildings are 353 and 355 Broadway. Which ever they are; it is great to see that the P&S building will no longer be POS building.

    Btw, those are great graphicx - thanks for digging them up. Notice the "little" peeps in the elevation views?
    Last edited by infoshare; December 17th, 2006 at 09:52 PM.

  15. #15

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    This is great news!

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