I was recently walking around the Flower District when I came across a store in the middle of two flower shops. Their window display was very intriguing and I walked into the Starr Collective, a unique flower shop in its own right. The store specializes in preserving flowers in a special resin and these creative works of art are made by the family who runs the shop. They are made in the back of the store with their special machinery.
The inside of the Starr Collective
As I walked through the store I noticed all the beautiful and interesting works of art that were done with fresh and dried flowers. The owners daughter, who runs the front of the shop, explained to…
There are just some stores that stand out when you walk by them. Whether it is the merchandise in the window, the store displays or just window display itself that draws you inside. This is how the Alexis Bittar store is 125 Greenwich Street in Greenwich Village. It is just so impressive from the elegant displays in the window, the beautiful merchandise in the displays and when you walk in the very personal service and attention you receive. You do not see this much anymore.
Alexis Bittar at 125 Greenwich Avenue
What drew me in initially was the beautiful window displays which are surprisingly hiding under the scaffolding of the building which is being renovated.
The windows at Alexis Bittar showcase all the beautiful merchandise
I love exploring Greenwich Village. Here and there tucked into corners are all sorts of interesting stores and restaurants. One of the standouts is Village Pizza at 65 Eighth Avenue. This small hole in the wall pizzeria offers delicious food and excellent friendly service.
The inside of the restaurant
The first time I tried the restaurant, I stopped in for lunch before classes at NYU. I had the most wonderful Meatball Sandwich ($8.95), in which you are served four large meatballs on a soft chewy roll with fresh marinara sauce.
The Chicken and Meatball Parmesan sandwiches are really good
The meatballs I could tell were home made as well as the sauce was made from scratch. You could really taste the…
The outside of Rosecran’s Florist Shop and Cafe in late October 2022
Ever since I started Graduate School at New York University, I walk to school every day from Port Authority to the Greenwich Village to get exercise and clear my head before classes start. This gives me a chance to walk around the Village and explore the shops and all the wonderful concepts that people are developing in their stores with creative merchandising and wonderful window displays. What lured me into Rosecran’s was all the beautiful floral displays in the window and the beautiful little cafe that was outside that seemed to be popular with the locals in the neighborhood.
The entire outside of the store was surrounded by flowers and plants and on a warm September or…
I don’t know what made me walk into Ooh Baby by Artist Anika Ignozzi at 21 Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich Village but I was curious because of the colors and designs I could see from the window. I met the artist who was hard at work that afternoon and introduced myself as a student at NYU. She looked up and said that she was thinking of taking some business classes at the school.
I looked at her and said that she looked like she already found her calling and made a successful business of it. She was already doing what most business students want to be doing, creating a business, finding their passion in it and making money at it. I told her she was already…
The Blackwell House on Roosevelt Island finally opened for tours after a major renovation of the house. When I had visited Roosevelt Island the last time in 2017, the house was corded off and was not open for touring. It had looked like it was falling apart from the inside out.
The home has now gone through a major renovation. The grounds outside were beautifully landscaped and gave the house a very warm and welcoming entrance to the property. In the middle of the summer, the flowers and trees were all in bloom and it was a nice view from the street. The house is conveniently located in the middle of the island, so…
There are a lot of standout bakeries in Chinatown Manhattan that offer a nice selection of baked goods and hot foods at a very reasonable price and Happy Star bakery is one of them. Not only do they have a nice selection of breakfast foods in the morning catering to the large crowd that works around here but an excellent selection of Chinese pastries, buns and twists that are available all day. What is also nice is that the nothing is over $5.00 and you can have a nice meal for under $10.00.
What is also nice about the bakery is that it is right across the street from Seward Park so that after you get your order, you can walk across the park and eat…
There are times you find those little ‘hole in the wall’ restaurants that just standout because of the quality of their food and their prices that make them affordable to everyone. King Dumpling at 74 Hester Street is one of them. Everything that I have tried there has been excellent and the portion sizes are very fair.
I had watched one of the “Cheap Chinatown Eats” videos from the Fung Brothers and they had mentioned the restaurant as a great place to get dumplings (one of my favorite things) and that they were only $3.00 for ten. I had to try it and have to say that it lives up to its reputation.
There are some neighborhoods in Manhattan that just stand out for their access to parks or to the rivers and others are loaded with historic value who architecture had not changed over the years.
The Flatiron District which was once served as the old Midtown between the Civil War and World War One and “The Ladies Shopping Mile”, where women could shop and engage with one another without a chaperon on Avenues and Streets lined with Department stores, restaurants, movie theaters, tea houses and specialty stores catering to their needs. When you look up at the grand buildings of the district with their large windows and their Beaux-Art designs and decorations, you can see that their purpose was to impress the customers.
I had toured the area around Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street three years earlier for a tour of a “New York Victorian Christmas” and you can see by the architecture that these buildings were meant to last.
These Grand Department Store buildings are the ghosts of their former selves with a shopping district that left them behind and names that have been out of business for over a hundred years (with the exception of B. Altman & Company which closed in 1990). You can still see the beauty and gracefulness that is carved into the stone of these buildings and in some cases still show the name or the initial of the original store owner.
Day One Hundred and Twenty-Eight: ‘Victorian Christmas Tour’
As I started my walk on the borders of the Flatiron District at West 25th Street and Sixth Avenue, there was not much to see as it was all new construction. The one thing that I did notice from my last walk in the neighborhood is that the colorful street art piece by was tagged over. It was on the very edge of the neighborhood on the wall of The Corner Cafe at the corner of 729 Sixth Avenue was the New York City painting by artist Dirt Cobain.
The New York City Street art by artist Dirt Cobain on the side of The Corner Cafe at 729 Sixth Avenue
Artist Dirt Cobian is an American born artist who started with a spray can when he was a teenager. He creates the most interesting and eye-opening street art. He currently lives in Brooklyn (Artist bio).
A video on who the artist is and what he represents.
The colorful piece of street art was painted over by another tagger who did not do the painting justice. That and the fact that the Corner Cafe had closed its doors for business since I walked the northern part of the Chelsea neighborhood in June and now sat empty. It was when you reached West 23rd Street when the true gems of architecture began.
I remembered what the tour guide said this had once been the first real shopping district when shopping was acceptable for the middle to upper middle-class woman to shop and socialize unchaperoned. These were the days before malls when shopping was an experience and not something to be rushed.
You could see it in the size of the buildings that housed everything you needed for your household from furniture and clothing to wines and fine gourmet food. They had something for everyone. I could have only imagined what it must have been like and to go back in time to experience those times.
The shopping district stretched from the border of West 23rd Street to the border of West 14th along the Sixth Avenue corridor from the old shopping district to the new one. Even today when you walk that area of West 14th Street, you can still see traces of the old shopping district in the elaborate buildings that are left that line the street. As I walked the back-and-forth length of Sixth Avenue, I admired the buildings that still line it.
I walked south first down Sixth Avenue so that I could really see the stores for myself on one side and then walked past the storefronts on my way back up. What were once Upper Middle Class clothing emporiums are today ‘Big Box’ stores still catering to the retail trade just in another form on the bottom and offices to the top.
Th shopping district border with the Flatiron District starts at the Simpson-Crawford Department Store at 641 Sixth Avenue between West 19th and 20th Streets, which once catered to the wealthy elite of Manhattan and beyond. The store was established in 1878 by Richard Meares and William Crawford as Richard Meares & Company. Meares left the firm a year later and William Crawford then partnered with Thomas and James Simpson to create Simpson, Crawford and Simpson. When Thomas Simpson died in 1885, the store became known as Simpson-Crawford (Daytonian in Manhattan).
Simpson-Crawford Store today at Sixth Avenue between West 19th and 20th Streets
When James Simpson died in 1894, William Crawford became the sole owner and in 1899 with the rise of the great stores on Sixth Avenue, Crawford designed a new store of marble designed by William H. Hume & Son. The exterior of the store shined with polished marble and granite (Daytonian in Manhattan & the tour guide).
The store had many innovations at the time. It had the first escalator in the city, the first display windows with mannequins and large display windows that had to be created for the store. The store was stocked with the finest imported clothes, furs and laces and on the top floor was a restaurant that catered to 1200 guests (Daytonian in Manhattan & the tour guide).
Before the store opened, William Crawford retired and sold the store to Henry Siegel across the street who kept the tradition of the store going. When Siegel-Cooper Company collapsed in 1914, Simpson-Crawford was kept closed for three weeks and then reopened. Both stores closed one year later, and the store was converted to mail order warehouse. Today it holds various stores (Daytonian in Manhattan).
Our next stop was in front of Hugh O’Neill’s Dry Goods Store at 655 Sixth Avenue between West 20th and 21st Streets. It was built by the firm of Mortimer C. Merritt in the neo-Greco style who built the four stages of the building between 1887-1890 (Wiki & the tour guide).
Hugh O’Neill had started a small dry goods business right after the Civil War in 1865 with a small store around Union Square. In 1870, he decided to build a trade on the middle market customer and offered discounts on goods. The four floors of merchandise contained laces, ribbons, clocks and on the upper floors women’s and children’s clothing (Wiki).
When O’Neill died in 1902, the shopping area had just begun its decline and in 1906 it merged with Adams Dry Goods up the block. A year later they both went out of business as the area gave way to manufacturing. The building today has been converted into condos.
The Hugh O’Neill store today
Next door to it we looked at and discussed was the former Adams Dry Goods Store at 675 Sixth Avenue between West 21st and 22nd Street.
Samuel Adams, a merchant who had been selling upscale clothing and furnishing to customers in the area decided to open a store on Sixth Avenue. He used the architectural firm of DeLemos & Cordes, who had designed the Seigel-Cooper Department Store and the six-story building opened in 1902. The store was the first in New York City to use the new Pneumatic tubes to transport money and messages throughout the store (Wiki).
The problem with the store was its location. He built the store at the very edge of the neighborhood as the business changed. As the shopping area started to decline in the early 1900’s, Adams sold the store to Hugh O’Neill Dry Goods Store and they merged the two companies together, converting three floors of the Adams Dry Goods store to furniture. This concept was not popular as well and the businesses failed, and the store closed in 1913 (Wiki & the tour guide).
Adams Dry Goods Store today at Sixth Avenue between West 21st and 22nd Streets
The store has gone through a manufacturing stage and in the 80’s became part of the change to large box retailing. The building now houses eBay and several stores including Trader Joe’s and Michael’s. As we could see on the tour, the old department stores are finding new life in retailing.
Between West 22nd and West 23rd Streets located between the old Adams Dry Goods and next to the former Macy’s store was Ehrich Brothers Department Store at 701 Broadway. The building was constructed in 1889 by architect William Schickel & Company with additions by Buchman & Deisler and Buchman & Fox in 1889 (Wiki).
Ehrich Brothers Department Store building at 701 Sixth Avenue (Wiki)
Another addition was added by Taylor & Levi in 1911 when the store was leased to J.L. Kesner. They added the terra cotta “K”s that can still be seen from the top of the storefront. The store folded in 1913 and then was used for manufacturing and offices as the shopping district moved to 34th Street and the Fifth Avenue area (Wiki).
At the corner of the neighborhood on Sixth Avenue and West 23rd Street at 100 West 23rd Street is the second Macy’s Department Store building. This was on the very edge of the Ladies Shopping Mile that once stretched along Sixth Avenue.
The building was built in 1871 and you can see all the elaborate embellishments on it with interesting stone carvings and elegant window design and some wrought iron details on different parts of the building. It was the last location of the store before it moved to its current location at 151 West 34th Street.
100 West 23rd Street (Renthop.com) is an old Macy’s
At the edge of the shopping district on the corner of West 20th Street and Sixth Avenue is the old Church of the Holy Communion, which recently housed the Limelight Night Club and now the Limelight Shops at 47 West 20th Street.
The former Church of the Holy Communion at 47 West 20th Street (now the Limelight Shops)
The church was designed by architect Richard Upjohn and was built between 1844-45 and was consecrated in 1846. It was designed in the ‘Gothic Revival’ style and according to the church’s founder, Reverend William Muhlenberg “was the true architectural expression of Christianity” (Wiki). The church closed in 1975 due to declining membership. It had many uses until 1983 when it opened as the Limelight Nightclub. Today it houses the Limelight shops.
As I turned the corner onto West 20th Street, there was a lot of commotion across the street and there were police cars everywhere. I did not see what exactly happened, but it made me walk faster down West 20th Street.
West 20th Street is officially the southern border of the Flatiron District, but I have found that the district overlaps with NoMad, Rose Hill, Kips Bay and Chelsea so much of the neighborhood has two or sometimes three community names. The borders begin to blur here. You can see though that this was once a very important business district with buildings that were designed with distinction.
I was admiring 27 West 20th Street on my walk down West 20th Street to Park Avenue South. This detailed twelve story office building was built in 1908 and now offers loft style offices. the details of the building include elaborate stonework both around the doorways and lower windows and the top floors.
27 West 20th Street was built in 1913
What I liked about the side streets as well as the avenues as I walked the neighborhood was that it kept its character and that these buildings had not been knocked down for the modern skyscraper. They were finding new use like the buildings in Midtown South and in NoMAD and become very desirable.
There was true beauty in the details of 20 West 20th Street that was built in 1906. The Beaux Art style details around the windows and doors accent the elegant building.
I passed 156 Fifth Avenue as I crossed the border from west to east in this part of the neighborhood and admired it for its detailed stonework carving and unusual styled roof. The Presbyterian Building was built in 1893 and was designed by architect James B. Baker and was designed in the French Gothic style. It was to be used by the Presbyterian Church as their base for domestic and foreign missions and used as office space. The Panic of 1893 changed that, and they had to lease the space out (Daytonian in Manhattan).
I reached Broadway and to what was once heart of the elegant shopping district of the old Midtown Manhattan before it moved up to the 34th Street area at the turn of the 20th Century. At 901 Broadway at East 20th Street is the old Lord & Taylor Building before its final move to Fifth Avenue in 1915 (they closed in 2020).
901 Broadway at West 20th Street-The Lord & Taylor Building
The building was designed by New York architect James H. Giles and was designed in the innovative cast iron style of the time that resembled stone. After the store closed in 1915 when it moved business uptown, the Broadway side of the store was resurfaced in stone which is why only a sliver of the old store design is intact (Daytonian in Manhattan/New York Public Library).
The original look of the Lord & Taylor Store at 901 Broadway (New York Public Library)
Across the street from the old Lord & Taylor Building is 903 Broadway, the former Warren Building. It was designed in 1891 by Stamford White for the Goelet family for their new commercial holding company. The Goelet family had owned all the land around this area and as it moved from residential to commercial, the family developed the neighborhood around them. The building was named after Robert Goelet’s wife, Harriette Louise Warren (Daytonian in Manhattan).
903 Broadway at West 20th Street-The Warren Building
The museum is currently closed for renovations, but you are able to admire the house from the outside and the grounds. I found out that this was not the original house of the president but on the grounds where it once stood. The family moved out as the area became more commercial to East 57th Street and the home was knocked down for a retail establishment. After the President died, the house was rebuilt on the same spot by family members, and they recreated the home from memory. It will be open to the public in the future.
The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace Museum at 28 East 20th Street
The small gardens outside the house were in full greenery when I visited.
Towards the corner of East 20th Street and Park Avenue South near the border of the neighborhood is 42 East 20th Street, the current home of the Gramercy Tavern, The Bullmoose building. This loft style store building was built between 1898-1899 and was designed by architects Neville & Bagge. The building was converted into lofts and the restaurant below.
Turning the corner to Park Avenue South, you can see Gramercy Park in the distance which shares it border with the Flatiron District. This is where the lines get blurred between the Flatiron District and Gramercy Park, which share the same border.
As you walk up Park Avenue South, the first building that makes an impression is 251 Park Avenue South. This elegant office building with its large display windows and clean lines shows of the store inside. The office building was built in 1910 and has large windows both on the ground level and towards the top of building.
One building that does standout from the others on Park Avenue South is the Calvery Church at 277 Park Avenue. The church was established in 1832 and moved to its current location in 1842. The current church was designed in the Gothic Revival style by James Renwick Jr., who designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Another interesting building, I looked up and admired while walking up Park Avenue South was 281 Park Avenue South, the former Church Mission House. The building was designed by architects Robert W. Gibson and Edward J. Neville in the Medieval style and was built between 1892 and 1894. It was built for the Episcopal Church’s Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society (Wiki). It now houses the photography museum The Fotografista Museum.
281 Park Avenue South-The Fotografiska Museum (The Church Mission House)
Another impressive building, I passed before East 23rd Street is 105 East 22nd Street the former United Charities Building. This is the final building in what was once known as “Charity Row” (Wiki). The building was designed by architect R. H. Robertson and the firm of Rowe & Baker. It was built by John Stewart Kennedy in 1893 for the ‘Charity Organization Society’ (Wiki).
When you turn the corner down East 23rd Street, you are heading back up to the border that the Flatiron District shares with the Kips Bay, Rose Hill and NoMAD neighborhoods. I had walked these district two years earlier when I explored these neighborhoods. I walked north first to the Infantry Regiment building and then walked south again to East 23rd Street to see if there were any changes. With the exception of DiDi Dumpling moving to 34 Lexington from 38 Lexington, it looked pretty much the same.
I walked to the front of the 69th Regiment Building at 68th Lexington Avenue. The scaffolding was finally down, and you could see the whole building now. This beautiful building is the home to the New York Army National Guard’s 69th Infantry Regiment, known as the “Fighting Irish” since the Civil War (Wiki).
The building was designed by architects Hunt & Hunt in the Beaux Arts style and was completed in 1906. It has been home to many events and show including the controversial 1913 Armory Show of contemporary art (Wiki). You really have to walk around the building to admire its beauty and history.
Just across the street is another beautiful building covered with snakes, skulls and dragons carved along the side of it at 130 East 25th Street.
Someone had a warped sense of humor
The former B. W. Mayer Building which now houses the Friends House in Rosehall was built in 1916 by architect Herman Lee Meader (Wiki). You really have to walk around the building to see all the unusual carvings that line the building.
130 East 25th Street, the former B. W. Mayer Building
The street art is also interesting on this part of Lexington Avenue. One the corner of East 24th Street & Lexington Avenue is the Friends House New York, a housing unit. Painted on the wall is a very unique painting by Italian street artist, Jacopo Ceccarelli.
Painting by artist Jacopo Ceccarelli
The mural is on the corner of East 24th & Lexington Avenue-The St. Francis Residence Building
The Milan born street artist, who goes by the name “Never 2501” hones his skills after moving to San Paolo, painting murals with an edge that got global recognition. He uses geometric forms in his work with circles and lines creating the abstract (Do Art Foundation).
I was getting hungry again with all this criss crossing across Lexington Avenue and I had two choices for a snack, DiDi Dumpling at 38 Lexington Avenue or Pick & Pay Pizza at 30 Lexington Avenue both having reasonable snacks. Since I would be stopping for Dim Sum later that afternoon, I chose the pizza. For a $1.25 a slice, the pizza was not bad in this tiny little hole in the wall that also served Indian food as well. The sauce had a lot of flavor and that is what makes the pizza.
I noticed on the wall right near the doorway near the Starbucks was another wall mural “Urban Ocean” by artist Yuki Abe that is off to the side of the building on the corner of Lexington & 25th, Look at the interesting color and design of the work.
Surrounding this area of Lexington & 25th Street starts the campus of Baruch College which is part of the SUNY system, and I could see students who were taking live classes walking around enjoying the day. I am sure it is much different when classes were in full swing, and the students were hanging around the restaurants and coffee shops in the area.
The Baruch College Student Plaza at East 25th Street is a nice place to relax
Another building that stands out in its beauty and design is on the corner of the neighborhood on Lexington Avenue between 24th and 23rd Streets, the Freehand Hotel at 23 Lexington Avenue. The hotel was originally built as the Hotel George Washington in 1928 and designed by architect Frank Mills Andrews in the French Renaissance style.
The Freehand Hotel (the former George Washington Hotel) at 23 Lexington Avenue
While still a apartment building and a dorm in the 1990’s, several famous New Yorkers lived at the hotel including artist Keith Haring and musician Dee Dee Ramone. Playwright Jeffery Stanley also lived at the hotel for a period of time.
The entrance to the Freehand Hotel is very elegant
After the north south trip around the boundaries of Lexington Avenue, I turned at East 25th Street to head back to Sixth Avenue. The border of the Flatiron District is also part of the Rose Hill and NoMAD neighborhoods and shares the border with Kips Bay.
Walking down East 25th Street, you realize as you start to border the Midtown area that the buildings take up more of the blocks and there are less smaller brownstones and tenements in the area. The dominate building on the block by Madison Square Park is 11-25 Madison Avenue, the Metropolitan Life Buildings. The building that lines this part of East 25th Street is the Metropolitan Life North Building (or 11 Madison Avenue).
Metropolitan Life North Building at 25 Madison Avenue
This beautiful building was the extension of the main headquarters next door on Madison Avenue. The building was designed by the architectural team of Harvey Wiley Corbett and D. Everett Waid in the Art Deco style in the late 1920’s as the tallest building in the world but the Great Depression changed the plans and it was built in three stages. The first finished in 1932, the second in 1940 and the third in 1950 (Wiki).
The archways ‘Loggias’ on each side of the building
What stands out about the building is the arched vaults on each corner of the structure called ‘loggias’ and the features were made in limestone and pink marble. When you stand under them you can see the colors and details of the marble carvings (Wiki). Just walking around the building the features are impressive and standout.
Across the street from the Metropolitan Life North Building at 27 Madison Avenue is the Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State and one of the most beautiful and detailed buildings I have seen on my walks. The building was designed by architect James Lord Brown in 1896 in the Beaux Arts Style and is adorned heavily in sculpture (Wiki). You really have to step back and walk across the street to see the details on the building.
27 Madison Avenue The Appellate Division Courthouse of New York State
Looking up close, you can see that the building resembles a Greek Temple and was considered one of the best examples of the “City Beautiful Movement” that occurred during the 1890’s and 1900’s to enhance cities with monumental grandeur and beauty (Wiki).
The historical beauty of the architecture continued up the border of the neighborhood as I walked up Madison Avenue towards East 30th Street. You have to walk both sides of Madison Avenue to appreciate the designs and details of the buildings that line the avenue.
You have to look close to the building or you will miss it is the sculpture by artist Harriet Feigenbaum. It is a memorial to victims of the Holocaust and is very powerful in its work showing the concentration camps.
“The Memorial to the Injustice of the Victims of the Holocaust”-“Indifference to Justice is the Road to Hell”
Harriet Feigenbaum is an American sculptor and environmentalist. Her works cover sculpture, film and drawings that are seen all over the world (Wiki and artist bio).
I passed 50 Madison Avenue and noticed how the buildings blended in design. The bottom level of the building was built in 1896 as the headquarters of the ASPCA (American Society of the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals). The building was designed by architects Renwick, Aspinwell & Owen and had a classic ‘club like’ design to it. The building was refitted and added to in 2005 by the firm of Samson Management with a six story addition to luxury condos (CityRealty.com).
Another ornamental building that stands out in the neighborhood is 51 Madison Avenue which is the home of New York Life Insurance Building. The building was designed by architect Cass Gilbert in 1926 in the Art Deco style with Gothic Revival details along the sides and was finished in 1928. The structure is topped with a gilded roof (Wiki & New York Life Insurance history). This is another building that you have to see from all sides.
51 Madison Avenue-The New York Life Insurance Building
Continuing my walk up Madison Avenue while admiring the architecture of the neighborhood is The James NoMAD Hotel, the former Seville Hotel, on the corner of East 29th Street at 88 Madison Avenue. This interesting hotel has gone through several name changes and renovations since it was built in 1904. The hotel was designed by architect Harry Alan Jacobs in the Beaux Arts style and the annex to the hotel was designed by Charles T. Mott in 1906 (Wiki).
88 Madison Avenue-The James NoMAD Hotel (formerly The Seville)
The outdoor dining was open for the restaurant the first afternoon I had visited the neighborhood even though I thought it was a little cool to eat outside. Even though you can’t go inside unless you are a guest, I could see the lights stung from the street, and it looked very elegant in the outside dining area. It was noted in the paper that they will be keep the tradition of closing Broadway from West 25th to West 28th for the summer.
Across the street from this elegant hotel is 95 Madison Avenue the former Emmett Building. The structure was designed by architects John Stewart Barney and Stockton B. Colt of Barney & Colt for Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet in 1912 when the area was a wholesale district. The building is designed in the French Neo-Renaissance with Gothic style ornamentation (New York Landmark Preservation Commission and Wiki).
Heading straight ahead at East 25th Street and Madison Avenue is Madison Square Park, named after our fourth President of the United States, James Madison. This well landscaped park is the gathering place of the residents of NoMAD and has a wonderful playground that has been busy the whole time I have spent in the neighborhood.
Madison Square Park is an interesting little oasis from all the traffic and office space. It has an interesting history since it was designated a public space in 1686 by British Royal Governor Thomas Dongan. It has served as a potters field, an arsenal and a home for delinquents. In 1847, the space was leveled, landscaped and enclosed as a park. It became part of the New York Park system in 1870. There are many historical figures featured in the park (NYCParks.org).
The park today is a major meeting spot for residents and tourists alike with a dog track and the original Shake Shack restaurant.
Madison Square Park in the Spring when I was walking the length of Broadway
When I walked into the park to take a break, it must have been the busiest section of the neighborhood between the playground and the original Shake Shack that were serving food to a crowd clung to their cellphones.
The original Shake Shack is located in Madison Square Park at Park and 23rd Street
I stopped to look at the statue of our 21st President Chester A. Arthur, who had taken oath just two blocks away in his New York townhouse where the Kalustyan’s Specialty Foods is located at 123 Lexington Avenue (See My Walk in Kips Bay below). I thought about what was going on in our government today and what they must have gone through with this transition.
The Statue of Chester A. Arthur in Madison Square Park
George Edwin Bissell was an American born artist from Connecticut whose father was a quarry-man and marble carver. He studied sculpture abroad in Paris in the late 1870’s and was known for his historical sculptures of important figures of the time (Wiki).
The Admiral David Farragut statue in Madison Square Park by artist Augustus St. Gaudens
Another interesting statue that stands out in Madison Square Park is the of Civil War Navy hero, Admiral David Farragut. Admiral Farragut commanded the Union Blockage of Southern cities and helped capture New Orleans. The statute was designed by sculptor Augustus St. Gaudens. This was the artist’s first major commission when it was dedicated in 1881 (NYCParks.org).
Augustus St. Gaudens was an Irish born American artist whose specialty during the Beaux-Arts era was monuments to Civil War heroes. He had created the statue the William Tecumseh Sherman in the Central Park Mall on Fifth Avenue along with this statue of Admiral Farragut. He had studied at the National Academy of Design, apprenticed in Paris and then studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts (Wiki).
Upon leaving Madison Square Park and proceeding across East to West 25th Street (Fifth Avenue separates the East Side from the West Side of Manhattan), I was traveling into what was once part of Midtown between the Civil War until WWI and then after that Midtown moved closer to Central Park during the 1920’s through the 1940’s.
Most of the buildings in this section of NoMAD were built with decorative stonework and elaborate ornamentation. There are so many in this section of Manhattan I will highlight the ones that are the standouts. As I walked the border of the neighborhood, you could see many beautiful buildings lining 25th Street.
When walking down East 25th Street from Madison Square Park, the first interesting site you pass is the historic Worth Square, the Memorial to and burial site of General William Jenkins Worth.
William Jenkins Worth was a native New Yorker (Hudson, NY) and decorated Army officer who had served our country in the Battles of 1812, The Second Seminole War and the Mexican-American War. His series of campaigns shaped this Country to where it is today. He died working for the Department of Texas in 1849 (Wiki).
Army General William Jenkins Worth
The General’s remains are buried under the monument at Worth Square at the corner of Fifth Avenue, Broadway and East 24th and 25th Street. General Worth was interned here in November of 1857 on the anniversary of the British leaving the colonies (NYCParks.org).
The Worth Monument between East 24th and East 25th Street at Broadway and Fifth Avenue
The Worth Monument was designed by artist James Goodwin Batterson, whose main profession was one of the founders of the Travelers Insurance Company in Hartford, CT and helped design the Library of Congress Building in Washington DC. He had immersed himself in his father’s quarrying and stone importing business early in his career and traveled extensively to Europe and Egypt for the job. He designed this monument in 1857 (Wiki).
Passing Worth Square and continuing down West 25th Street, I noticed the impressive architecture that lines the streets of this section of the Broadway part neighborhood.
At 1123 Broadway is the detailed Townsend Building that was built between 1896-97 and was designed by New York architect Cyrus Lazelle Warner Eidlitz in the Classical style. The building is names for Isaac Townsend whose estate the building was built on (Flatiron Partnership).
Another beautiful building is the Heritage Hotel at 18-20 West Fifth Avenue. This detailed hotel was designed by the architectural firm of Israels & Harder in 1901 in the Beaux-Arts style.The hotel opened in 1902 as the Arlington Hotel, a residential hotel for well-heeled guests (Daytonian).
By the time I reached Sixth Avenue again, I could see the reason why most people call the Flatiron District a treasure trove of architecture. Block after block walking the borders of this neighborhood was an experience in the hopes and dreams of so many companies of the turn of the last century. When they built these buildings, they were meant to last, and they believed in what they were creating.
What I love about the Flatiron District is the belief that business had in itself to last, to make an impression on the not just the people that worked there but to the outside world. It showed a world of promise and power and showed New York City’s representation in business and culture. Between the Civil War and WWI, you could see the growth in commerce, marketing, retail and the arts representing in these blocks of Manhattan.
This was meant to show the country where New York City stood and what it represented. These were not just buildings but statements to the optimism that a country that had just been through a Civil War could accomplish. While this trend was followed by cities all over the country growing between the wars, New York stood out by doing it first and doing it bigger.
This is why Manhattan is the capital of the World.
The Poster House is a little gem of a museum that I must have passed many times and never knew it was a museum. I had never heard of this museum before. The Poster House is dedicated to the history and art of posters and how they impact our lives as a way of communication. I got a chance to see the whole museum in about two hours.
The first exhibition on the first floor of the museum was “Utopian Avant-Guard: Soviet Film Posters of the 1920’s”, a retrospect on the film industry during the Silent Era…