Tuesday, October 21, 2008

575 Fifth Avenue: Urban Archeology

In 1912, the 144th Precinct Police Station House
was located at 575 Fifth Avenue.

Urban Archeology 101: "I Did Not Know That."

575 Fifth Avenue Affordable Housing.

Recent excavation has revealed the remains of an old stacked rubble-stone foundation built along the 16th street side of the construction site. This type of foundation wall is typical of many of the rowhouses in this area built around the late 1890's-early 1900's.

What's before, before.
I never really gave it much thought as to what existed before the municipal parking lot until I peeked through a hole in the construction fence and saw that old foundation. Obviously something had been built on the land before, but what? It certainly couldn't have been anything of note if it was torn down to make way for off street parking, of all things.

www.policeny.com just might have the answer as to what was there before.

Above is an old 1912 photograph of what is described as the 144th Precinct Police Station House on Fifth Avenue and Sixteenth Street. According to the www.policeny.com web site,
"between 1870 and 1929 there was to be four general renumbering of police precincts, and a number of minor renumbering. Since 1929 precinct numbers remained constant, but the boundaries and station house locations may have changed".
In 1924, the Police Station House at 575 Fifth Avenue was referred to as being in the 78th Precinct. Just a few years later, it was being called the 32nd Precinct, and then in 1929, the House was located in the 72nd Precinct.

A weird DoB side note-> Today's 72nd Precinct Station House is located at 830 Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park, but back in 1930, the land beneath their current home was most likely being used as a miniature golf coarse.

For those of you who are NYC Police fanatics, a tremendous collection of historic photographs awaits you at: www.policeny.com.

Monday, October 20, 2008

There she blows... The Armory Plaza Parking Facility exposed.

The Armory Plaza @406 15th Street
The eagerly anticipated, long awaited, Bricolaged Designs/Henry Radusky/ Jack Locicero collaboration triumphantly pulls down its construction fence sans shame.

Looking east up 15th Street, directly across the street from the newly restored, historically landmarked, $16 million Park Slope Armory Sports Facility.

The three story brick building in the foreground is what's left of Rosa's Mexican Bakery.

Access three levels of subterranean parking through this roll down garage door.

Front Entrance. Twin stair cases leading down to the cellar level "ambulatory health care facility".

A window. A wire for surveillance camera.

Sidewalk with vaulted metal grating covering the moat. The two thornless honey locust street trees fared poorly during the installation of the 60' deep foundation pilings.

Subterranean Ambulatory Health Care
=Methodist Hospital?

Couch-sized section of concrete pile cap remains exposed!?

Rear corner shot as seen from the 8
th Avenue lot line.

Quaker Parrots on 15th Street

A pair of Quaker Parrots on 15th raiding a fruit bearing street tree. Those people residing in the South Slope will appreciate the completely accidental "near miss" at the end of the clip.

Here's what was on the all you can eat brunch menu.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Windsor Terrace Double Hung Patriotism

Click on this photo to enlarge and,
see the two tiny American flag decals symmetrically placed in the corner of each upper window sash.
Witness the piercing blue sky today, hey?

Opening Soon: Gialeti's Cafe

1658 Eighth Avenue.
Promising fresh baked pastries, paninis, crepes and more... The Gialeti's will do well if they make themselves accessible to the local south Slope stroller pushing crowd. That particular corner on Prospect Avenue and Eighth Avenue is just one-block-walk away from "Grade A" PS 10 Elementary School. Come to think of it, maybe they should spring for an advert in the school's PTA newsletter.


It would be smart if they were able to salvage some part of the old tin store front. Replacing the striped canvas rollout awning would help if they plan on providing outdoor table seating. The corner sees a lot of automobile traffic coming off the Prospect Expressway exit down Eighth Ave, so a sturdy well anchored iron fence would be reassuring to lounging patrons. As for Mike's old bodega, it's a total gut job. So far this week it's still just a sheet rocked "vanilla box" on the inside.

Prospect Terrace???
Let's hope that we will finally see in our lifetimes the completion of Karl Fischer's new condo development a few doors down the street at 1638 8th Ave. and
(" Lake Windsor") , as it is now referred to by the neighbors, will no longer be just a mosquito infested hole in the ground.
Abundant crepe eaters, no doubt, await occupancy.

& More...
Wouldn't mind seeing some form of old fashioned, home made ice creme fountain type place in the neighborhood that's fairly priced. I know plenty of kids (and parents) who were disappointed to hear that the stained glass candy store on P.P.W. is actually going to be just another lousy wine store.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Architectural Voyeurism #18

The same only different.
In plain view from 5th Avenue, the rear yards along tiny Woodrow Court in Green Wood Heights.
Although these attached 1920's row houses most likely started out looking exactly the same, their exposed backsides have continued to evolve overtime, each in their own specialized way. Unobstructed views of the cemetery seem to be not as important as chain link fences and off street parking.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Inspired Windsor Terrace Garden

Bamboo, and Iron Dragonflies.

There is an amazing garden in front of a tiny brick row house positioned almost at the end of Eighth Avenue. Crowning its front facade, a massive frieze with a built up cornice painted pitch black. Cloud-like swirls reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh's painting Starry Night have been carved into all its surface.

Cast iron stars... falling.

P.S. 10 Picture Day

"Old School"