Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Peep World Remnants

After the death of Peep World, we heard from some grieving readers.

Stacy alerted us to a January 2012 story by Christopher Gray in the Times that described the Horn & Hardart Automat that preceded Peep World at this spot. Gray reports that this Automat was designed in 1930 by Louis Allen Abramson.

Burger King's shingles

He explains that the Automat was "a Deco-Gothic anthem. Above a bronze storefront rose a vertical streamlined facade of buff terra cotta with two man-size sculpture niches in the center, each sheltered by a perforated canopy called a baldachin, as if waiting for statues of the saints of macaroni and cheese. At each side, pairs of muscular, stylized men appeared to tussle mightily over faceted lozenges."

In 1975, the Automat's elaborate facade was shingled over by Burger King. You can see in the photo below what Burger King did to the great Times Square Automat in the 1970s--same shingles, same sign as Peep World.

1978, via Lost City

Says Stacy about the Peep World Burger King, "I used to go in there with my mother when I was a little girl after visits to Santa Claus at Macy's. I have a lot of fond memories of this place. We sat upstairs. A quick glance at the green exterior shingles and the floor tiles in your photos gives away its fast food lineage."

We wonder, when the Murray Hill gastropub hacks away at Peep World, will we see Horn & Hardart's tussling muscle men emerge? (God forbid they should be preserved.)

photo: Casey

We also heard from Casey, who was bold enough to venture into Peep World during its last moments of life and snap a shot of the video booths in disarray.

Casey also took home a souvenir. He writes, "They sold me the Extended Viewing Time sign that hung between booths for $20. I had to buy this sign to preserve something from Peep World. I will take very good care of it. Even as a newcomer to the city, I feel it's so important to preserve what I can of the vanishing New York spots. I wanted to live here because of these places."

Amen to that.

photo: Casey


Marty Wombacher said...

Cheers to Casey for preserving that sign!

Madame Weebles said...

I would pay good money to visit a Museum of Vanishing New York. At this point there are enough artifacts from dismantled establishments to create quite a nice replica of New York the Way It Was. Peep World would be a welcome addition.

David M. said...

Casey I hope you disinfected it first...