Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ghosts of 8th Ave

This past summer, we started saying goodbye to a chunk of the West 40s.

Ken bid farewell to Frankie & Johnnie's and Lost City said "so long" to 45th Street where buildings had already started falling for the massive tower to come, a million-square-footer that will span the block from 45th to 46th, shouldering its way into Platinum territory, where the marvelous McHale's used to stand.

Today, the big Broadway Inn is gone. Here, glittering detritus of New Year's Eve clings to the chain-link fence surrounding the lot where not even a single brick of the old hotel remains.



Here's the corner last spring, where bricks and lintels are overshadowed by glass and chrome, the Platinum's Randian hero flexing his muscles as if readying himself for destruction (click for more photos of this block):



And still more buildings are yet to fall. Curbed covered the initial demolitions last year. The footprint for the coming monster is massive, crumbling how many old buildings? Count 'em:


image and story from NY Post

Just a block south, after knocking down the beloved Playpen (nee Cameo Theater), the Tishman hotel has begun its rise, furthering the massive transformation of what has been seedy Times Square's last holdout blocks:



Looking at select bits of 8th Avenue, like this chunk at 45th, you'd never know the city was crumbling and rising as glass. Winter sunlight shines on the weary bricks to reveal a pair of ghost signs, one on top of the other, artifacts from the age being wiped out today. A cigar box fades beneath a scrim of advertising for ROOMS complete with steam heat, hot & cold water, luxuries of the last Great Depression.

11 comments:

ChickenUnderwear said...

Your headline scared me, I live on 8th Ave in Brooklyn.

Sarah said...

Awww... I just found this blog and now I'm depressed. NY can't disappear! I just moved here five years ago!

Jeremiah Moss said...

be afraid, be very afraid...

Anonymous said...

Once I'd see "Die yuppie scum!" scrawled everywhere. Now, "Goodbye to all that!" should be etched on to all the glass boxes. Hopefully, Ms. Didion won't object. She saw California disappear; now she's seeing NYC being eviscerated.

BTW, in this bad economy, real estate developers seem to have an ATM machine with no limits. WTF is going on?

Ken Mac said...

wow, that old wall is beautiful. 45th and 8th?

Jeremiah Moss said...

yeah, ken, 8th between 45 and 46-ish

Anonymous said...

Oh, sigh! I love love love that double ghost sign and am happy to report that I have one right outside my living room window that says "urniture and CARPET."

Ken Mac said...

Jeremiah, I scoured 8th at 45/46th and could not find that signage you photographed. Could it already have been sanitized away? Did find a couple others in my search though...

Jeremiah Moss said...

ken, that's weird. i took the pic new year's day. sometimes, in the wrong sunlight, you can't see it so well. on that day, the light was just right.

Barbara A said...

I just found this blog and it brings back memories. I lived in New York for seven years, from the age of fifteen until I left in 1980 I worked the Minnesota Strip after running away from my home in Virginia, the city I remember is the one I left because I havent been back since 1980, even though I went through all I did I still miss New York...Barbara A.

Graham Howes said...

I noticed huge differences between my earlier visit from the UK on an acting tour and last year - can't somebody make the Philistines more proud of what you have? It would be sad to see everything of character disappear in New York. So glad we made Frankie and Johnnies steak house though before it goes - is there really nothing you intelligent people can do to reverse this situation? In the UK we would be clogging up all those planning meetings with objections and mobilising preservation groups. Come on NY preserve your heritage and character!