Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Death of a Block 5

The sad, stupid saga of the 9th Avenue block between 17th and 18th Streets continues, as the Stonehenge Group reveals their glassy new facade.

"120 Ninth" is clean, sterile, and as beige as it gets. The perfect color for our increasingly monotone town.



Here's how it looked a couple months ago, with the marketing banner spread across it, complete with images of the sort of soulless, cookie-cutter businesses that the developer hopes to attract.

It doesn't get more blah than this.





Here's how it looked when it was still alive, a colorful jumble of authenticity and originality, of humanity.



These lost businesses provided vital functions for the local community. A dry cleaners and tailor shop, a wonderful barber shop that gave shelter to the homeless, bodegas where kids could go when in trouble, the Sweet Banana Candy store with its empanada lady and everything--all of them run by local, independent business people with deep ties to the community. People fought to save them, but the people failed.

All of them were evicted--by the same company that pushed out Colony Music for $5 million per month. A special place in Hell most certainly awaits.


Here's the whole story of what happened here:
Death of a Block
Death of a Block 2 
Death of a Block 3 
Death of a Block 4

Saving 9th Avenue
Sweet Banana Candy Store
New Barber Shop
Chelsea Liquors
New China

4 comments:

Rob M. said...

If you want to see the personification of blah come to Chelsea. It's one chain store after another. If I wanted to go to Outback or Olive Garden I would go to one where they belong...Butt-scratch, NJ!

Having said that there are still some cool places on the side streets, like Greensquare Tavern and Abacadabraon West 21st (abracadabrasuperstore.com). A 3-story magic shop in Chelsea. How awesome is that? It reminds me of all the specialty shops that you used to be able to find in Manhattan like the map store in Rockefeller Center and the mystery book store in the Village. You can still find these kind of places you just have to look a lot harder.

Mike Havenar said...

Wonderful piece. I like your blog very much but have never commented before.

Anonymous said...

New York City, soon to be know as 'Non-Place City'.

VisuaLingual said...

SPACE B... SPACE C... That sounds about right given what's going on on that block.