Friday, January 11, 2008

Extra Place

What's happening behind the Avalon? A whole lotta garbage dumping. Curbed reported last year on Avalon's plans to turn this alley into "a slice of the Left Bank, a pedestrian mall lined with interesting boutiques and cafes." Maybe the left side is poised to be Left Bank, but the right is strictly a slice of the old Bowery.

The alley is called Extra Place and it's behind the defunct CBGB's. Read and see more about its rock-n-roll history from ForgottenNY.

Go further back into its history with Brendan Gill, who wrote about Extra Place for The New Yorker's Talk of the Town in 1952. Back then, the alley housed a garage, a metalworking shop, and an old guy who fondly recalled the speakeasy that used to be there in the '20s.

Click on these to enlarge and read from Gill's piece:

Take a walk back there to soak up its still-seedy atmosphere, before Avalon succeeds in turning it into another trendoid Freeman Alley. It's just up 1st Street from Mars Bar, so be sure to fuel your visit with booze from the holdout dive. Whether in the 1920s or the 1970s, it sounds like Extra Place might have been best enjoyed when drunk.

Here's what the Avalon developers want it to look like when privately owned by them:

photo and more info: Real Deal


Greg said...

It's not a bad idea in principle to have a Left Bank-style alley with cafes. That's good urbanism. However, what would defeat it in this case (besides the inevitably awful clientele) is banal, featureless Avalon itself. Its bland facade is the antithesis of the detailed, ornamental stonework and brick that gives the Left Bank its texture and nuance.

Jeremiah Moss said...

greg, i don't disagree with you here. also what is left out from this plan is a place that would inspire creativity and ideas. the strip mall at avalon is not going to give birth to any sartres or nurture any hemingways. but then i doubt that's the "left bank" fantasy they even have in mind.

Anonymous said...

"the strip mall at avalon is not going to give birth to any sartres or nurture any hemingways. but then i doubt that's the "left bank" fantasy they even have in mind."

Nor this:

And the "sign that points one way" was supposed to be at the corner of Hampton and Falmouth in Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn.

guestofaguest said...

Nice, will def check out Extra Space (inebriated)

Anonymous said...

Remind me again, how did this alley turn from a public street to private property? Jersey alley is still city property. Shinbone alley is, technically, still city property, right? Did the developer just claim it? Was a deal worked out when the Avalon compound was in the planning stages? Hmmmm.

Claribel said...

Ugh, that design reminds me of midtown Manhattan and Rockefeller Center. The closest they'll ever get to the Left Bank ideal is to throw in an Au Bon Pain.

laura said...

its a good idea. but i think it will be chain resturants/cafes. no artists or writers will be there. how about a post about where the artists DO go??? last time i was in NYC (2 yrs ago), i went running away from "pastis". it looked like lunch time @ bloomingdales. or somewhere in jersey. so i ended up alone in a remote place in chinatown, east broadway. the menu wasnt in english. that was a good sign! its cool when you dont speak cantonese.

SadEnding said...

Left Bank? I think not. No traffic (foot) nor any reason for anyone to walk down this street unless you live there.

I prefer the Extra Place of my parents childhood in the neighborhood. They called it, "The Alley," and these street urchins played there. It was safe!

Anonymous said...

Extra Place in 1913, inside a tenement, by Lewis Hine: