Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Inside 7 1/2 Second

Yesterday we visited 9 Second Avenue, also known as 7 1/2 Second Avenue, one of the buildings that will fall this summer beside Mars Bar. Today, go back inside with resident Andrea Legge's blog "7-and-a-half 2nd Ave: a pre-demolition memorial."

all photos by Andrea Legge

Andrea calls the blog "a kind of memorial to the building I live in, have lived in for the past 20+ years. It's not gone yet, but the plan is for it to be torn down this summer." She tells the story of life inside the "Flats" side of Germania Flats, before and after May 17, when she and her neighbors received their 60-day notices to move out.

She recalls, "Shortly after I came into the building in 1991 I moved from a small apartment on the 3rd floor to the top floor in the back, converting a space that was 2 half-railroad apartments destroyed; a windowless, windswept unlivable garret, into a home."

It wasn't always an easy place to live. When Avalon demolished CUANDO, rats infiltrated the building, climbing all the way to the top floor. The basement was taken over by squatters. Writes Legge, they left the basement "looking like an abandoned refugee camp for needle junkies, crackheads, meth freaks and drunks."

Andrea, like the other residents here, will be relocated temporarily, then moved into the new building to come. But she will be taking much of the old place with her:

"I'm taking my solid wood doors with their beautiful doorknobs, along with the original wood moulding, provided I can prise it off the walls without splintering it. The clay moulding I can't take or I would, it breaks, held together at this point only by layers of latex. The 1 x 1-inch tiles inlaid in the bathroom floor are still up for consideration, but the giant old bathtub and ancient sink are coming with. Both are enameled iron I think, and each one astonishingly heavy... I want the one code fire escape grate that I installed plus the old, now illegal accordion-style one as well, just for old times sake. Maybe its an antique by now? I would take portions of the walls if I could."

Also read:
Wu Tang
9 Second Avenue
The Loss of Mars
Before Mars Bar


jshdoff said...

Ah, it breaks my heart to watch the changes in the neighborhood, the wiping out of personal histories. I have my own connection to that building but, that was then. Both the neighborhood and I have changed a lot

Laura Goggin Photography said...

What a beautiful space - I'm glad she's salvaging what she can.

Anonymous said...

Kind of ironic that with all this discussion, not a single person has mentioned the legendary dojo on the 2nd floor. I've been going there since 1997. I never wanted to comment about this, but they deserve a little love too.