10 NYC Corners, Then And Now

We look at photos of 10 New York City street corners and show that in the big city, some things change and some things stay the same.

1. Bedford & Grove [NE Corner] (1936 & 2012)

17 Grove Street was built in 1822 by William Hyde, a prosperous window-sash maker, during a time when Yellow Fever forced city dwellers to flee to the “suburbs” of Greenwich Village. It is one of the few remaining intact wood frame buildings in Manhattan. The third story (and fire escape) was added in 1830. And in 1833, Hyde added the workshop out back. Both are now single-family residences. As you can see, very little has changed since 1936. [1936 photo courtesy of NYPL]

2. St. Marks & 3rd Ave [NE Corner] (1980 & 2012)

Lotsa great stuff to look at here…

3. 17th & Irving Place [SW Corner] (1909 & 2012)

This building (rumored to be the one-time residence of Washington Irving) really hasn’t changed much during the last 100+ years.

4. Pearl & Broad [SW Corner] (1915 & 2012)

According to Sons of the Revolution, 54 Pearl Street - built in 1719 - is Manhattan’s oldest surviving building, and served as an important meeting place throughout pre-Revolution and American Revolution history. Not much has changed, except for the many tall buildings in the background. And, the current light-post is cool.

5. 1st & Bowery [SE Corner] (1942 & 2012)

The building is long gone, but it looks like the street sign, one-way sign, light-post, trash can, and fire hydrant are more or less in the same spots…

6. Spring & Varick [NE Corner] (1935 & 2012)

In 1935, 150 Varick Street was occupied by the Westinghouse Electric Supply Co. The showrooms were on the ground floor. What you can’t see (just to the right) is the giant, ultra-modern Trump SoHo hotel/condo, which opened in 2009. Many local groups protested the construction of the luxury high rise, citing zoning and preservation improprieties. The loft buildings in the neighborhood have not changed much during the past 70+ years. However, the the cars have changed drastically; and it looks like Varick was a 2-way street in 1935.

7. Prince & Mulberry [NW Corner] (1935 & 2012)

The two buildings on the corner are gone. (The larger one was “for sale or lease.”) An empty lot remains. The tall building in the background still proudly displays advertising/art. The two buildings on the right remain. I imagine that the 3 strangely placed windows (next to the Ben Sherman ad) were once situated around the roof of the smaller missing building.

8. Bleecker & Christopher [NW Corner] (1963 & 2012)

Built in 1802, this corner has been home to many a short-lived retail operation over the years. Yet, this stretch remains virtually unchanged.

9. Beach & Varick [SE Corner] (1935 & 2012)

In 1935, this Tribeca corner was occupied by a handsome three-story building. Today it is a parking lot and a decaying billboard. The buildings behind the lot are the same today as they were in 1935. Today, a “Dark Shadows” vinyl movie banner. In 1935, an “Office & Warehouse” advertisement painted on the brick facade. But things are about to change, for the better or worse, depending on your perspective. Ground has been broken to make way for 9-story, glass-and-concrete, luxury condo with 16 units (See rendering below). Go see the parking lot and billboard before it’s too late. The Ghostbusters Firehouse is just a few feet away (but we’ll cover that in a dedicated blog post)

10. 26th & 5th Ave [SW Corner] (1908 & 2012)

Delmonico’s restaurant opened here in 1876. The popular chain eventually closed partly due to Prohibition. A Delmonico’s steak simply was not the same when served with a glass of water. I couldn’t replicate the angle or distance… But you can see that two buildings on the left and the one building on the right are still standing after 100+ years.

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