Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Candy Factory


The parking lot and two small brick buildings at the corner of Wooster and Grand are about to vanish.

They have been, for some time, a beloved and well-used graffiti spot. In recent years, the lot's walls have hosted a Banksy rat, a Fairey paste-up, and French street artist JR's paste-up of a giant photo of a member of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. But it's around the corner where the real fun happened.

Those walls belong to what's known locally as the Candy Factory, a spot that the New York Times published a visual guide to in 2005. It has changed many times since then--images constantly coming and going--but here comes the biggest change of all. The Candy Factory and the parking lot are wrapped in plywood and readied for condo-fication. The parking lot is being hammered and drilled.

I miss the colorful collection of street art hidden here at the back end of what was once a Tootsie Roll factory at 325-329 West Broadway.

my flickr, 2010

The future of these buildings is unclear. The project is now on (at least) its third architect, as DDG Partners recently wrapped the plywood in vinyl printed to look like a chocolate candy bar in silver foil. 

The only rendering that DDG offers is one of the Candy Factory wrapped in scaffolding, which it currently is not.

In the previous architectural plans, these brick buildings would remain standing, "restored to their circa 1940 condition based on the city records and historic research by the architects and their consultants."

Beyhan Karahan Architects

Wrapping around them would be a nine-story, 45,000-square-foot, residential condo. It would be topped, said the developer's website, with "a two-story duplex penthouse set back from the perimeter walls, allowing a stone terrace to fully wrap the glazed, pavilion-like structure and its private swimming pool."


Will the Candy Factory still remain, in face-lifted brick, wedged between this new condo tower and the luxe SoHo Mews ("Life Cultivated")?

See all my Candy Factory photos here

Here's the spot in the 1980s, from the Municipal Archives, before the Soho Mews moved in, before scenes like this went on across the street--was it still churning out Tootsie Rolls then? And will the new building be cutely named "The Candy Factory Condos"?


Andrew Smith said...

Posts like this undermine your good posts.

Yes, New York is losing much of its cultural vigor as it morphs from a quirky city with all classes into a chain-store playground for the rich.

But not every change is bad. Hell, many of them have been excellent and your refusal to acknowledge that makes you seem like a crank.

Vandalism is not "art." Not even you think so. Not really. You'd be pissed if you returned to your home to fing that taggers had broken in and expressed their creativity inside.

Lots like that are an expression of lawlessness and urban decay. There was never anything charming about them just like there was never anything charming about getting mugged or a Times Square filled with mob-controlled sex shops.

Besides, the building that's slated for the lot is pretty darned good by the standards of post-WWI architecture. I won't be able to afford it, but it will be nicer to look at than an empty lot with broken bottles and profane scribbles.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

I miss the Deitch Art Parade that would go down West Broadway and end at the Deitch gallery, which was across the street from the Candy Factory. So much fun color and art on that block.

Ms. said...

Oh my that A.S. has a definitive opinion even if he typed "fing" for 'find"....and I can see his POV but can't agree. I went into your flicker and spent quite some time scrolling forward. You have a good eye even when the light's not perfect. I thought of you noticing details most would have just past by, and was thrilled to see the incredible black and white stoop-rat I also have a shot of (Lower East side somewhere around 4th? St.). I used mine to illustrate a story I wrote about a woman who saves a rat's life on New Year Eve. Anyway, I had to rip myself away from the photo stream, I found it so very engaging (gotta get on with the afternoon)---the art/not art argument is old. 'Graffiti' in this fertile city is so often elevated to high art by the sheer craft of it, and so often a political statement, why not call it art? Even a one of a kind signature in spray paint is the presend of some real human needing to humanizes the landscape, claim space, express being there. Yeah, some of it is just vandalism of "private property", of course. But isn't that the point?

Jeremiah Moss said...

a crank is a grouchy and eccentric person. i've got no problem with that.

glad you liked the pics, Ms. thank you!

DL said...

My personal belief in graffiti is that it should be damn good and have an interesting, unique edge or message to it- which is unfortunately exactly what much of the yupster-hipster "street art" polluting Brooklyn nowadays is made up of.
Ms., do you own private property? If so, perhaps you would change your stance if your apt. or house was covered with half-assed attempts at subversive street art. Most graffiti belongs in the overlooked, decayed parts of the city anyway, as a way to breathe the signs of life into a dying area.

Ed said...

I have to agree with Andrew Smith. Its dangerous for people who like quirkiness and creativity to make the equation of quirkiness and creativity = graffiti. Their opponents will always argue that quirkiness and creativity means graffiti (or some other vice) so lets get rid of all the quirkiness and creativity.

Jill said...

I'm with you Jeremiah, I love that wall and its graffiti and would gladly live in a building that looks like that. Of course, it's subjective and most graffiti is just tagging that doesnt warm the heart, but I love those old walls with the layers of paint and color and can never resist a long stare and a photo of it. There are still a bunch of them around, but they are getting rarer.

Anonymous said...

Grafitti on the outside of a building is not remotely the same as someone breaking into one's home and drawing on your walls. And I liked Times Square before it was a ridiculous suburban mall.
Also pretty tired of hearing about another decadent living space for the ultra wealthy who have no clue where they are living. It's like a contest to see who can build the most opulent suburban style living quarters while the rest of us get pushed further and further away into smaller and smaller spaces to make room for places rich people who more than likely are only in town a few weeks a year.