Readers have been sending in the news that 301 West 46th Street, after years of lingering in limbo, is about to fall.
today the scaffolding has gone up all the way, photo: Allen S.
The building on 8th Avenue between 46th and 47th was shuttered around 2008 and wrapped in scaffolding, ready for demolition. At the time, a 38-story glass tower was planned to rise here, including a "375-room hotel, 35 units of condominiums, and amenities that include bar, lounge, meeting rooms, swimming pool and an automated parking garage system." It was to be completed in 2010, but then the market crashed.
Berg Flynn, architectural rendering
The lender foreclosed on the developer. In 2011, the property was acquired by Glenwood Management for $76.3 million. And still nothing happened.
The building sat empty--all its residents and businesses long evicted--a ghost of Hell's Kitchen past, and a reminder of the future to come.
The 19th-century building boasts a compelling history, as many old New York buildings do. Author David Freeland recently unearthed that history at his blog Gotham Lost & Found.
He describes The Cave of the Fallen Angels, the speakeasy that once inhabited the basement, replaced in the 1960s by Steve Paul's The Scene, a celebrated rock venue where you could find Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Andy Warhol, and many other scenesters of the day.
For a look inside The Scene, check out the 1970 documentary Groupies (12-minute mark). Steve Paul passed away last fall, and whatever moved into that basement after The Scene, we don't know.
Upstairs, there were a couple of adult video stores and the Collins Bar, which had a nice piece of neon signage out front. New York wrote of the bar, "The pimps, dealers and pool sharks who haunted this worn, woody bar back when it was Lady Anne's Full Moon Saloon have found different stomping grounds (Riker's Island, most likely). Now, aside from a few leftover old men who've been continually three sheets to the wind since the early '80s, the clientele is mostly young professionals."
Of Lady Anne's, Anthony Bourdain wrote: "where the smell of Lysol and vomit distracted one from the recently released convict population playing pool on the warped table in the rear."
Over its century of life, the building had its moments--a place for pimps, groupies, prostitutes, rock stars, and furtive peep-booth masturbators.
Soon, another glass tower will rise here, a clone to match the one that rose right across the avenue on the grave of McHale's, and the giants that will come to the empty lot on the opposite corner, and the Shake Shack one that felled the Playpen just to the south. On and on it goes. So many glass towers with nothing much to say for themselves.
Now I worry about the tenements on the next block north, the New York Inn with its gorgeous ghost signage advertising steam-heated rooms and savory cigars. The residents of the new hotel/condo tower will look out on those scuzzy bricks from their floor-to-ceiling windows and they won't be pleased. Another demolition will be set in motion.