Archive for New York Sights
This weekend, Sofie and I headed for the amusingly-named Gowanus Canal. It’s only about 20 minutes walk from our apartment and it makes a nice change from the usual route along nearby Fifth Avenue where we inevitably spend too much money on things we don’t need. We saw this sign on the way to the canal.
When I first arrived in New York I found signs like this extraordinary. My favorite is still the no parking sign that reads “Don’t Even Think About Parking Here.” Not “Don’t Park Here” but don’t even think about it. I love the sheer bluntness of that statement.
Also along the way we came across this amazing building on Third Avenue.
I’ve tried a quick Google serach but “The News” and “Brooklyn Garage” throw up too many results. Does anyone know anything about this building?
Everyone knows about this one, the Williamsburg Savings Bank building (seen from 3rd Avenue) and soon to be eclipsed by a multi-million dollar arena complex. I wonder what the good burghers of Brooklyn said when this was being erected?
Flatbush Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Following on from my post last week about the closure of the banking hall in the Williamsburg Bank Building, another New York institution that is about to pass into history is the Fulton Fish Market. My former colleague, Robert Jobson, who has spent most of his life living on the Cornish Coast in England, recommended the fish market to me the first time I visited New York. For him it easily outranked the Empire State Building and Central Park as New York’s top attraction. Little did I know you had to be up before the sun to fully appreciate it.
If you can muster the energy to drag yourself down to the fish market early enough in the morning the trip will be well worth it. You can’t buy your own fish unless you’re prepared to buy it by the crate. But it is interesting to walk among the forklifts whizzing to and fro, to watch the workers slicing up giant tuna and chatting over a hot tea or coffee with their fish hooks swung over their shoulder, and to observe a slice of New York that is about to disappear for good.
The market has occupied a place near the South Street Seaport beneath the gaze of the Brooklyn Bridge for 185 years. Now it is scheduled to move to Hunts Point in the Bronx in the next few weeks. In fact, it has been in the process of moving to Hunts Point for the past year as about half a dozen stumbling blocks have forced the relocation to be continuously postponed. The latest reason is a row over who can haul seafood in the new $85 million, 300,000-square-foot building. But the move cannot be far away.
I would also recommend a good pair of boots and a change of trousers. Either that or be prepared to smell of fish for the rest of the day.
The Last Days of the Fulton Fish Market (Great pic and story)
The Food Museum dubs Fulton Fish Market a Global Food Heritage Site.
More Fulton fishy photos
Bronx businesses wait and wait and wait for fish to show.
A New York institution passed into history last week. The banking hall in the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Building on Atlantic Avenue, in Brooklyn, closed its doors for the last time on Friday. Not that you would have noticed.
In case you were wondering why the closure of a banking hall should be at all noteworthy, it’s worth explaining that the banking hall in question is an art deco masterpiece, decorated in marble, adorned with a giant mosaic, lit via 40ft windows and crowned by a 63ft vaulted ceiling. I had been planning on sneaking my camera in last week to take some photos but my camera decided to choose that week to give up the ghost.
As everyone in New York knows, the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building, which opened in 1929, has been sold to developers who will convert the 512 feet tower into condominiums and the banking hall into a retail area, most likely a restaurant. The former tenant of the building, HSBC bank, has moved to much blander surroundings across the street on Flatbush Avenue.
I tried pitching the closure of the banking hall to a number of my favorite New York newspapers/magazines but no one was interested. They said it had all been written before.
Indeed, many stories have been written about the Williamsburgh Savings Bank building—how it became known as the Mecca of Dentistry because it housed so many dental offices, how the building sold for $73 million this summer and how one of the men behind the new development is Magic Johnson.
But although the banking hall was mentioned in passing it never merited a story in its own right. I can’t even find a photograph of the interior of the hall online. And when it closed its doors after 75 years in business on Friday how many words were written about it? None.
Yesterday, I took my camera down to the bank, which is now closed, and poked it through the locked doors to the banking hall. The photos were very dark, but thanks to the skills of a certain Simon’s Brain I can at least offer this. The next time you see this room, it could be a Barnes and Noble or a swanky restaurant.
Links for today:
Excellent panoramic view of Brooklyn and Manhattan from Williamsburgh Savings Bank building.
Good Williamsburgh Savings Bank info, pics and links
Close-ups of the bank exterior.
Williamsburgh Bank Flickr set.