Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bear Auto Paved

The Bear auto body shop, tucked under the High Line at 10th and 26th, put out of business and demolished, is now a parking lot.


The business had been here for over 30 years. But when we watched the second part of the High Line open in June we wondered, "How long will the tourist machine tolerate this industrial view from the High Line's new 'viewing spur' before the Firestone Bear Auto Center is suddenly put out of business?"

Soon after, we heard of Bear Auto's demise. A tipster spoke to an employee and told us that Bear Auto was fighting their landlord in court, and that the expensive private school going up next door wanted their space for a parking lot. The realtor posted a listing with a dreamed-up retail space on the spot.

Summer 2011

Fall 2011

Winter 2011

In December, after Bear Auto closed, local mechanic Alan Brownfeld (also pushed out by hiked rent) told us that the High Line's devastating impact on the once-thriving "Gasoline Alley" had "gotten so bad...the son of the guy who ran Bear Auto killed himself, jumped from a seven-story window."


Today there's no trace of the auto-body shop left on the corner. The parking lot is gated by a thick metal fence, giving the cars their privacy.

See Also:
The Upper High Line
Brownfeld Auto
Eagle Under Siege
Folsom Under High Line
Goodbye Poppy's
Bear Auto


EV Grieve said...


So it's a private lot for nearly residents? Didn't see any, say, Edison ParkFast signs. Not that it really matters...

Jeremiah Moss said...

i couldn't find any signs that says it's a lot open to the public.

JAZ said...

This city is like a giant Whack A Mole board. Anything that has actually earned it's place here and has any true character whatsoever sticks out like a sore thumb, and Mike & his minions rush to the scene to hammer it into the dirt.

Bear Auto was here way before caretaker Mike and the highline cupcake crowd. But things like facts don't seem to matter much anymore. What does it say about your sensibilities when the sight of an Auto Body shop is considered too disturbing to the 'Highline Experience'? But now the school for special trust fund babies has it's lovely parking lot - just a little more proof that they are in fact more important than we are, and that we've been so beaten down that the pretension of otherwise is no longer even necessary, or expected.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i can't confirm that the parking lot belongs to the school. but i have a feeling this isn't the end of the story for this corner.

Ryan - RMC Tech said...

Interesting to see what things turn into, after they die out! Nice timeline shots of the deconstruction/reconstruction.

Caleo said...

I used to hop onto the highline back when it was abandoned and forgotten. I spent many wonderful afternoons up there, basically having the entire thing to myself. I never ran into anyone, except a couple of graffiti writers. And then I heard that The Friends Of The Highline was going to "save" the tracks and open it to the public. Unlike everyone else I knew, I had a bad feeling about what that meant. Reading the AMNY article you linked too and seeing what has transpired, it's clear what started out as a nice idea has been seized upon by developers as another scheme to create a sanitized pseudo city for the wealthy. After seeing the damage the new highline has wrought, I think it would have been better if Giuliani had gotten his wish to demolish the thing.
Gentrification would have crept into the West side at a much slower pace, if at all, without the renovated highline to grease the wheels of development.
And after begrudgingly paying a visit to the new highline, I can say the renovation sucks, and I'm glad I had a chance to lounge about on the old abandoned line. The new highline was just an excuse to obliterate even more of old NY. It never ends because developers never stop thinking of ways they can make a quick buck.

esquared™ said...

Bloomberg's NYC is run like Goldman Sachs:

...the interests of the client (us citizens and the tourists) continue to be sidelined in the way the firm (NYC)operates and thinks about making money. The city's culture (community) was always a vital part of its success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility (not to mention character, grit, and soul). Today, it's all about money. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm — or the trust of its clients (us) — for very much longer.

If only we can resign from this corporate firm of NYC that Bloomberg has created under his "leadership"...

Dave - Everywhere said...

I don't think we should be so quick to throw the Highline under the wheels of the train (so to speak). The intention of creating the park was not specifically to stimulate all that commercial stuff but that is what happens in NYC when there is an attactive feature and a public that wants to be near it. Developers just follow the people.

I wonder what the reaction was in the late 19th century when buildings like the Dakota started to spring up along the perimeter of Central Park? Did people blame the park for the development?

Marty Wombacher said...

And paradise continues to get paved over into a parking lot.

chris flash said...

So a private parking lot is preferable to and pays more in rent than an auto repair shop.

WHERE will those car owners go to go to get their cars fixed????

Anonymous said...

Chris Flash:
Silly, you don't fix cars, you get new ones when they break!

Caleo said...

Dave-Everywhere- that was definitely my point. The Friends Of The Highline had the best of intentions.
Many people in the neighborhood had been up on the pre-gentrified Highline, and didn't want to see something so beautiful torn down. So in the attempt to save it, they end up destroying the surrounding neighborhoods/communities/businesses by creating a magnet for soul dead developers.
And I find it interesting, as the AMNY article states, that some of the business owners who continue to fund the new Highline are actually going to lose their businesses because of the developers. They are funding their own extinction, in a way.

Anonymous said...

I wish the High Line had just been repurposed for....trains.