Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Blatt Now

Just south of Union Square, on Broadway near 12th Street, Blatt Billiards sold their building in 2013 after 90 years in business. IDM Capital, a "syndicate of Israeli investors," paid $24 million for it.

Now it's being destroyed.

In 2013, Curbed reported that the new owners would be adding ten floors to the existing building, but that plan must have changed. More recent reports state that the "two-phase project entails the construction of 10 floors above a five-story office building...followed by the conversion of the existing structure."


The latest renderings show the historic structure is nowhere in sight, replaced with yet another chilly monstrosity. 

In the architect's images, the cast-iron building has been swallowed up in a sleek glass tower with the words "new style" written across the front. No cast-iron facade, no spandrels, no colonettes.

Today, at the 809 Broadway demolition site, passersby have written their opinions of the development on the poster tacked to the plywood.

"UGLY WORK IN PROGRESS," says one. To which the opposition has replied, "You're [sic] taste is in ur [sic] ass."

"YUCK," says another. 

An arrow points to a neighboring antique building and says, "Beautiful Building." While up above, in a speech bubble, the new tower speaks: "I'm judging you."

The Blatt building was constructed in 1887, a cast-iron beauty among others of its type. It's listed on the Endangered Cast Iron Buildings in NYC list, where it is noted that the Times once described the building as "perfect in all its details."

Was somebody not paying attention here?

I liked looking up at that old building, especially on warm days when the big upper-floor factory windows were open and you could look in to see the men making pool tables, sawing and sanding the rosewood and maple.

I liked seeing that funny name, BLATT, written across the front ("since 1923"). And, now and then, I liked going inside and looking at all the things they sold -- stained glass pub-style chandeliers, dart boards, boxes of shimmering dice.

It was a beautiful thing.


Unknown said...

This is what I have been calling the arrogant re-building of New York. They take down historically beautiful buildings with reckless abandon and replace them with obnoxious economy towers. The original Blatt building was adorned with artistic ironwork that wasn't necessary and yet someone felt it was important to consider aesthetics. This new building is your typical modern day greedy speculative structure, it is built with the bare minimum needed to construct a refrigerator box. It offers nothing artistic, other than it's awkward shape and the fact that it vastly contrasts it's neighboring buildings from a more enlightened era. Some will argue saying this is modern design, and it makes bold use of shape and form, I say it's boldly arrogant and obnoxious.

Unknown said...

They should change NYC's name as well
It isn't NYC anymore
The fabric of what once was has been torn to shreds
What a waste

Brian said...

Agree, well said. I would add this "modern" design is soul sucking dreck.

Brian said...

We should call it New Fort Lee or New Paramus because that is what it is starting to look like.

mcd said...

I know, lets tear down Penn Station and put something modern up...