I've been waiting for this one to vanish and now it's gone. The odd little addendum to Jam Envelope & Paper on 3rd Ave and 14th St has been demolished.
Seems like, if it's made of bricks, if it's one or two stories tall, and it's near the corner of 14th and 3rd, it must be destroyed. The upzoning plan that has led to this began in the mid-1990s: Said city planner Peter Pfeffer, "The goal is to extend the strengths of the retail corridor to the east and also to provide new opportunities for residential development." Mission accomplished.
The Toll Brothers brutally took the Variety Theater, but their tower wasn't the first to arrive. The NYU Coral Towers dorm with the Duane Reade used to be the Sahara Hotel, built in 1900 and sold in 1999 when the 14th Street "revival" came knocking (Times). The sale was dubbed "Sahara-gate," as its owners were forced by the city to sell and "accused the city of 'improper motives to sell the property to politically connected people.'"
All I remember of the Sahara were the XXX video stores on the first floor, the greasy peep booths, the prostitutes lingering outside. The Times called it "The last remnant of 14th Street's seedy past."
After Toll we lost everything on the southeast corner. I thought Robin Raj would be the next to go, but it's still alive beneath it's FOR SALE sign. The little Jam house of bricks has long felt vulnerable--it looked like a frightened mouse hiding between a pair of rocks while a hungry hawk circled overhead--but its sudden vanishing still took me by surprise.
You can bet some clever architect is somewhere licking his chops, delighting in a scheme to slip a sliver of glass into this narrow cleft of sky.