Thursday, January 10, 2008

A New View of the LES

After an evening on the Virtual LES (thanks to the brave reader who showed up), it's time for a visit to the Vanishing LES.

I took a ride up to the 11th floor of The Ludlow, the new 23-story* luxury rental building at Houston and Ludlow, for a look at the carnage from above.

Thompson LES seen from 11th floor of The Ludlow

From the windows you'll see the Thompson LES hotel, 18 stories sheathed in black at 185 Orchard. Directly across, at 180 Orchard, there's a massive, block-wide hole into which concrete is being poured for another luxe hotel, this one a mere 8 stories.

180 Orchard hole from Ludlow side, with Thompson LES in background

180 Orchard hole getting concrete, seen from Orchard side, in front of The Ludlow

From the southern windows of The Ludlow, you'll look straight down into another giant pit at 180 Ludlow, also being readied for construction. The "The Ludlow" realtor told me it will be a 16-story hotel, but a construction worker on the scene said it's going to be a 22-story hotel (Scoopy agrees).

pit of future hotel next to Max Fish

This new hotel replaces Joseph Yavarkovsky Paper, in business since 1898--that's 10 years after Katz's opened across the street. Yavarkovsky supplied delis with paper goods and we might assume they had a relationship with Katz's. Next door is Max Fish, opened in 1989, looking like a small, shivering kitten these days. How long will Katz's and Max Fish last?

To sum up, that's 4 in (essentially) 1 block of the LES. Of course, there's also Hotel Rivington and Blue, and the new SVA dorm (20 stories!) going up fast at Ludlow and Delancey (that's the one that blocked the Baby Ruth ghost sign). And the corner of Stanton and Clinton, cruelly demolished by Giuliani a decade ago, has a sign that says it's in the hands of an architect named Backos, so it might be turning into something soon.

SVA dorm coming on fast

Back to The Ludlow's 11th floor -- you can also see, in the northern distance, 3 monsters of the East Village: The Astor, The Cooper Square Hotel, and the still-skeletal 52 East 4th.

view of EV from Ludlow's 11th floor

So, what does all this mean? I think this LES American Apparel mannequin in the Houston window kind of says it all: "Hey, Lower East Siders, kiss my ass."

*All the numbers for building heights here are based on imperfect Web research and sometimes info conflicted, so I may be off by a few stories here and there. Feel free to offer corrections.

P.S. Anonymous commenters here and at Curbed add to this list a condo or hotel building (13 stories? 18 stories?) going up at 136 Ludlow.


L'Emmerdeur said...

hen the reckoning arrives, these will all be homeless shelters.

Mr. McKenna said...

Sheesh, that is the meanest, cruelest thing I have ever heard...they leveled the tenement without letting people get their belongings or pets out? Does the city still operate like that today?

Anonymous said...

let's not forget the 18 story condo/hotel going up next to rush hour (the old laundromat). the open lot next to the hair salon just north of this is supposedly owned by misrahi who are building rentals/condos too.....

Mike G said...

This makes my stomach drop. Why the sudden need for all these tall, glass hotels? Why was the decision to build these given to people who don't care about the neighborhood? Equal blame goes to the Bloomberg adminstration which prides money and "growth" over neighborhoods, families and a sense of history.

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks anon, i added a link to 136. it never ends.

Anonymous said...

And don't forget Streit's Matzo is selling for $25 mil, and the building is probably going to be demolished for lux.

guestofaguest said...

I was aware of the hotel room shortage in the city (with many being converted into condos, hence creating demand), but this is pure madness!

jose said...

I've seen this personally over the last few years, and it makes me sick to now. We should set up a memorial for the Native New Yorker, going the way of the indigenous people and the dinosaurs ...

Anonymous said...

giant hole getting concrete is going to be condos, height still being haggled over (heard from one of my customers who works on the site)

Grieve said...

Excellent reporting, as always...I'm stunned by all the construction. Found a news clip about Orchard Street from 1980. So sad what has happened

Rambler said...

Citing the birth of Max Fish doesn't help the case as Max Fish was one of the early invaders that paved the way for what's there now.

This is the problem with documenting demise. What really starts it and what is to blame. In a 1000 years another site will be lamenting the demise of that hotel.

This is not meant as a justification for what's going on, just a reminder that it all starts somewhere. As I've said before, Starbucks comes to your neighborhood because you moved there.

I know, the LES was one of the few affordable pieces of turf back in the 1980s. I lived on 5th Street and B back then and yes, that means I, a recent college grad at the time, was part of the wave that led to what it's become. Unfortunately, time can't stand still after we set down our bags.

Anonymous said...

This will only continue and never end. The East Village and LES is destined to become another enclave for the very wealthy.

What really annoys me are these people who pretend like they are artists, paying several thousand a month for a studio and working in finance.

They are in disguise, wearing trendy clothing, looking like "hipsters". This will only continue until it spreads to Chinatown and then pushes out every working class person in New York City! Pretty soon the Bronx will be the new LES.

Imagine a city without REAL artists and creativity? I think it already happened.

john said...

rambler makes a key point. what is happening in NY reflects an international trend as the world increasingly sorts into vapid consumerist haves and angry consumerist have-nots.

the middle ground could be something closer where i grew up: Starrett City in the 80s. Mixed-income subsidized housing.

Know where you are in history: we are in the midst of 30 years of the dismantling of the New Deal, consolidation of corporate wealth/power and a general dumbing down of society.

while we lament all this, lets also envision where we want to go, because eventually the rotten foundations will give out and a better way will have to be made, lest we continue down this same numb dumb path of conformity and predictability.

Bob said...

What a shame. My father was raised on the Lower East Side but I'm too young to even fathom the genuine, blue-collar neighborhood bounding with working people and real artists he regales me with old stories about when I see what's become of it. A microcosm of this whole city, I suppose - all that was real, all that was tangible and good being wiped clean and replaced with a soulless, alien shell of its former self. It will be a sad day when they eventually knock down Katz's to make room for another boutique hotel or John Varvatos store. I need to get the hell out of New York. This city died long ago and has since been replaced with a dead-behind-the-eyes impostor.

Marjorie said...

This blog has triggered one heck of an OCD attack for me. :-D
On this rainy Sunday, I found myself wandering around looking for places that live in my memory. I was a teacher on the LES for many years. The old pharmacy on Grand Street is long gone, so is Murray's butcher shop, and I cannot even recall the number of the school on Madison Street that is no longer even used as a school. As I headed home, I passed Movie Star News which is still there. I was told that the Carrandi Poster Gallery is gone and I was angry with myself for not knowing and missing the chance to go in there one last time.