Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gramercy Pawnbrokers

Good news and bad news. I was relieved and surprised to find that Gramercy Pawnbrokers, against all expectations, is still standing. But I was flabbergasted to discover that the rest of the block at 23rd and 3rd has become an immense wall of white stone and glass.

Curbed called it a "condstrosity" and it is. Except it's now an NYU dorm. And it cantilevers over the little pawnshop like a giant kneeling on the shoulders of a child. I am sure if it could have, it would have blobbed down the other side to totally engulf the walkup, like its neighbor just one block south at 22nd. I guess a lot of Things are eating Gramercy these days.

Unless you are everywhere every day, you just don't see all the changes until it's too late. I used to stand on that corner and wait for the 3rd Ave bus to take me home. There was a magazine store there and I would spend my waiting time looking at the magazines in the windows. What else stood on that block? I can't remember. It's all been wiped away.

When they tore down whatever buildings used to be there, the buildings I have forgotten, a mural revealed itself. Now that's vanished too. The coming first-floor tenants will be Rite-Aid and HSBC bank.

The things worth looking at in this city are dwindling. What we take in visually becomes our thoughts. When we look in the window of a pawnshop, we see stories--wedding rings tell of love lost and betrayed, guitars speak of dreams deferred, typewriters tell more tales than we can imagine here. What will our thoughts become when all that's left to see are the blank faces of condstrosities?


Anonymous said...

I recently came across a website where people post up their dream and desire to do guess what?

I think you know already...

Here are a few samples of the postings on it. A great read for a few laughs no doubt.

"Moving to NY will be really hard for me, mainly because my family is going to be really mad at me for moving so far away. I really really really really want to do it though. I’ve lived in Texas my whole life, and even though I’ve lived in the big cities here, it’s still not the same. There is just something about NY. I can’t get it out of my head, and I’ve pretty much been obsessed with it lately. Should I do it? I don’t even know anybody that lives there. I just feel like it is something I have to do."

"I’ve never been outside the western hemisphere of The United States. I’ve never been even close to New York. All I really want is to achieve and to experience something. Explore into a place where it is so different, so loud, so intriguing in so many ways that is inexpressible. Just to walk into a large crowd and and look up and see the hugest buildings would be an amazement. Knowing that the best areas to shop, to watch or BE in a broadway show, to explore life in a different and fast-paced perspective is just outside that door of your new york apartment. I hopefully will also love NYU. I hope and pray that I move to New York City one day."

"I want to move to NYC and become a professional dog walker and doggie daycare worker. This is my one dream in which I want to make a reality, more than anything else :)I’m making it my goal to move there in the next 2 years, when I’m 24 yrs old."

"i’ve always dreamed of living in the city and becoming Carrie from Sex In The City, being a writer. I want to work for Seventeen."

"Wouldn’t it be an interesting and fun experience to live in an apartment in Manhattan? I would love to sell my car and have to walk, ride the subway, or ride in a taxi rather than worry about driving. I would just like to go somewhere new and New York is a city that would be full of excitement."

L'Emmerdeur said...

I know! I know!

"Yeast infection cream and free checking"?

Or perhaps just "wrecking ball".

Anonymous said...

On Third Avenue between 23rd - 24th Streets there was the Glocca Morra, a nice cozy little Irish bar. There was also the Garden of Eden food store which was open 'till 10pm and a great convenience. Years ago, where the Garden of Eden was, there was a GREAT soul food place, Jack's Nest. There was also a small shoe retail store on Third Avenue next to the large magazine store. Before that it was a locksmith's. Right now on the 23rd Street side Duane Reade has set up to open. There used to be a Thai restaurant there called Bo-Bo. I was told the entire new building will be an NYU dorm, no condos. Around the corner on the 24th Street side is a law office that, like Gramercy Pawnbrokers, has also been in the neighborhood since the year of the flood. Next to that is a small hotel or hostel called American Dream, actually that is the building Gramercy Pawnbrokers is in. Next to that is a small dry cleaners. YEARS ago there was a little place where the cleaners is now, Hound House, that sold fresh meat for dog food. The large post office building in the middle of the block kept the new building from being even larger. I was told that there is a law against building over a post office. I was also told the fellow who owns the building the NYU dorm is over refused the offer to sell out. Hooray for him!!! By the way, the radios and guitars and stuff in the window of Gramercy Pawnbrokers was not pawned by anyone, it is just stuff for sale. Like most pawnbrokers these days, they will only accept gold and diamond jewelry.