Thursday, November 13, 2008

Little Jam

I've been waiting for this one to vanish and now it's gone. The odd little addendum to Jam Envelope & Paper on 3rd Ave and 14th St has been demolished.

Seems like, if it's made of bricks, if it's one or two stories tall, and it's near the corner of 14th and 3rd, it must be destroyed. The upzoning plan that has led to this began in the mid-1990s: Said city planner Peter Pfeffer, "The goal is to extend the strengths of the retail corridor to the east and also to provide new opportunities for residential development." Mission accomplished.

The Toll Brothers brutally took the Variety Theater, but their tower wasn't the first to arrive. The NYU Coral Towers dorm with the Duane Reade used to be the Sahara Hotel, built in 1900 and sold in 1999 when the 14th Street "revival" came knocking (Times). The sale was dubbed "Sahara-gate," as its owners were forced by the city to sell and "accused the city of 'improper motives to sell the property to politically connected people.'"

All I remember of the Sahara were the XXX video stores on the first floor, the greasy peep booths, the prostitutes lingering outside. The Times called it "The last remnant of 14th Street's seedy past."

After Toll we lost everything on the southeast corner. I thought Robin Raj would be the next to go, but it's still alive beneath it's FOR SALE sign. The little Jam house of bricks has long felt vulnerable--it looked like a frightened mouse hiding between a pair of rocks while a hungry hawk circled overhead--but its sudden vanishing still took me by surprise.

You can bet some clever architect is somewhere licking his chops, delighting in a scheme to slip a sliver of glass into this narrow cleft of sky.


Anonymous said...

I have this memory that the corner building with Robin Raj and the hair salon used to be a 2-3 stories...and 10 or so years ago, those top levels came down to the current one story.

Anyway, how soon before ConEd sells its parking lot on the northwest corner to a developer?

Ken Mac said...

more for the sad but true list.

Hey, Hate to toot my horn, but am running a mini-series on the Market Diner at my blog…enjoy..hope you don't mind the plug.

DeepSix said...

also, there has been some big hollow spaces being worked on in West Soho. Downing St, before Bedford is seemingly constructing a McGlass building, filling in a gaping hole with yet another tacky eye sore.
anyone know about that one?

Anonymous said...

Aye carrumba--I remember Luchows Restaurant on 14th Street--it was a really cool place and of course May's discount shopping mecca--all long gone-
I also remember a little Chinese restaurant on St. Mark's which served really good food--way long gone--and Oscar Adrian's beauty salon on 7th street--a great place (1980's)--just to name a few--

Jeremiah Moss said...

yeah, it has changed so much, and continues to.

does anyone have a photo of the sahara hotel? i wish i could find one.

ken, plug away! no problem, love your stuff.

Mark said...

The Robin Raj building did indeed have 2 additional floors, I believe, until they were razed maybe 15 years or so ago. A popular night club, Carmelita's, was on the 2nd floor.

The little spot adjacent to JAM's had been a pet store and before that a Porn Theatre. I can't recall what was there prior to that.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I have been wondering how Jam Envelope even stays open with all that goes on at that corner. I go there all the time, but I spend so little (I bought a gift bag last week, cost: $2.16). It's never crowded. And hasn't technology destroyed most of the consumer base for envelopes?

I don't want to see it go but frankly I am amazed it is there in the first place.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i have a feeling they sell a lot of paper in bulk. like big bulk. but other than that, i don't know. they do have some pretty cool plastic "chinese takeout" cartons.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I love those cartons! And they have gift bags and boxes in every imaginable color.

But even if they ship paper, you'd think they'd be killed by the Staples of the world.

I don't want to be a doomsayer, I like that store a lot. But with all that disappears around the city, you see something like this and just have to scratch your head!

Barbara L. Hanson said...

I go to Jams a lot, particularly to buy blank cards with embossed borders to make my own Christmas cards/sympathy cards/get well cards, etc., using my own photographs.

Lisanne said...

I used to go to Carmelita's!

ANyway since you mentioned Troll I mean Toll, over on the other side of the river, our local community board 6 here in Brooklyn just voted yes to spot zone on the Gowanus so they can build their doomed condo complex on a polluted brownfield. Environmental concerns were not discussed and always slighted (none of the board members live in the neighborhood). Next week Amanda Burdon comes to PS 32 at 6:30 Monday (hoyt & union streets) to discuss "the future of the Gowanus" and on Wednesday it's the last chance for the public to speak up at the ULURP process regarding this very very wrong project.

Our only hope is that big Daddy Toll decides that since his profits have dropped over 40 percent this week that it's not such a good idea.

Jill said...

Maybe the reason that this corner is suddenly popular is that "they" are trying to figure out how to get more use out of the 3rd Ave L stop.