Image: Steven Pisano via Flickr.
The Department of City Planning (DCP), along with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Council Member Margaret Chin, released on Wednesday the Envision Soho/Noho report, a comprehensive summary of findings and recommendations that address issues and guide future plans for downtown Manhattan’s Soho and Noho neighborhoods. The report represents the result of a six-month-long community engagement series on the two historic neighborhoods, aimed at addressing their unique challenges in the 21st century. Contained in the report is a detailed summary of the engagement process that presents the perspectives of participants, as well as recommendations for guiding future plans for improving quality of life, addressing housing concerns, and supporting the unique mixed-use character of these neighborhoods.
More from the report, this way
Photo by Beyond My Ken / Wiki Commons
The area south of Union Square, on the border between Greenwich Village and the East Village, is changing. The approval of the new 14th Street Tech Hub south of Union Square combined with an explosion of tech-related development in the area has resulted in the demolition of mid-19th-century hotels and Beaux-Arts style tenements, with new office towers like 809 Broadway taking their place.
Aside from being rich in 19th- and early-20th-century architecture, this area is overflowing with history connected to many of the great American artists, writers, musicians, publishers, activists, innovators and artisans of the last century and a half. As part of Village Preservation’s work to document and bring to light some of that often forgotten history, we wrote this piece last year exploring the connections to Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, Alexander Graham Bell and Leroi Jones (among many others). Now, we’ve uncovered even more history-making people and events connected to this area and its buildings, from Hammacher Schlemmer (NYC’s first hardware store) to a slew of influential publishing houses (including that which published the first U.S. edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”) to the Women’s Suffrage League headquarters.
, Thu, September 19, 2019
Rendering of the larger, 30-story tower by Dattner Architects
In 2017, the Lower East Side’s abandoned 1850 Beth Hamedrash Hagadol synagogue, which once housed the city’s oldest Jewish Orthodox congregation, was severely damaged in a fire. The following year, the Chinese-American Planning Council (CPC) and developer Gotham Organization began floating plans for a two-towered, mixed-use development on the site, and they’ve now announced that the project is entering the city’s uniform land use review procedure (ULURP). The plan includes a new headquarters for the CPC, retail space, and 488 new rental units, 208 of which will be permanently affordable with 115 set aside for affordable senior housing. Dattner Architects will also incorporate the remains of the former synagogue into a new meeting space and cultural heritage center for the congregation.
All the details this way
On August 8, 2008, Village Preservation and the East Village Community Coalition (EVCC) submitted a request to the LPC to landmark a little-known but remarkable survivor– Congregation Mezritch Synagogue at 515 East 6th Street between 1st Avenue and Avenue A. The building was the last operating “tenement synagogue” in the East Village. A young, little-known developer named Jared Kushner was planning to tear it down and replace it with condos and a new space for the tiny congregation, which had operated out of the building since 1910.
The story has a (relatively) happy ending – the synagogue and much of its surroundings were landmarked in 2012, and the demolition plan was dropped. But unlike the deservedly beloved and celebrated Eldridge Street Synagogue, now a National Historic Landmark, Mezritch is one of several unique but in many cases overlooked historic synagogues still standing in and around Greenwich Village, the East Village, and the Lower East Side, which in the early 20th century contained what was by many accounts the largest Jewish community in the world. Ahead, we take a look at the history of seven of them and what makes them so unique.
Learn about the history
Feltman’s via Boston Public Library
It’s not often that you’ll go to a New York restaurant and find “hot dog” on the menu. The meaty delight is typically reserved for baseball games (in the foot-long variety) and summertime jaunts on the boardwalk. And of course, when we say boardwalk in NYC, we’re talking about Coney Island, widely believed to be the birthplace of the modern American frankfurter.
The name Nathan’s has become synonymous with Coney Island, whether it be for the annual hot dog-eating contest or the childhood nostalgia of the boardwalk. It’s also become arguably the biggest name in the hot dog world in general. But, believe it or not, Nathan’s was not the first place to serve up franks in the seaside neighborhood. That distinction goes to Feltman’s, which was begun in 1867 as a pushcart by German immigrant Charles Feltman, considered the inventor of the hot dog on a bun.
Find out how the Coney Island hot dog got its start
Via Creative Commons
Update 3/14/19: A few days after Aby Rosen bought the Chrysler Building for the bargain price of $150 million, the real estate mogul told Bloomberg this week that he would consider converting the tower into a hotel.
Real estate mogul Aby Rosen has picked up another New York City landmark. Rosen’s RFR Holding LLC, which controls the Seagram Building and Lever House, bought the Chrysler Building for $151 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. The sale represents a major loss for majority owner Abu Dhabi Investment Council, who paid $800 million in 2008 for a 90 percent stake in the 77-story Art Deco tower.
When living in one of the most expensive cities in the country, it’s helpful to know the places in New York City that offer discounts and freebies. Thankfully, many of the Big Apple’s world-class museums and galleries offer free admission on some days, from the one-bedroom-sized Mmuseumm in Chinatown to architectural-icon the Guggenheim Museum. Ahead, we’ve rounded up all of the free museum days in NYC to let you pinch pennies and get your culture fix at the same time.
See the full list
Twenty-four years ago, when writer Ed Hamilton and his wife Debbie Martin moved into the Chelsea Hotel “everybody at the hotel was in the arts. There were always parties, and somebody was always having a show of some kind.” They’ve spent more than two decades in a 220-square-foot SRO room, and despite not having a kitchen and sharing a bathroom, they have loved every second of it. Where else could you live down the hall from Thomas Wolfe’s one-time home? Or share a bathroom with Dee Dee Ramone?
But eight years ago, the landmarked property was sold to a developer, and since then, it has changed hands several times. Ed and Debbie have lived through nearly a decade of “renovations” (it’s still unclear when and if the property will eventually become luxury condos), all the while watching their rent-stabilized neighbors dwindle as the construction and legal battles got to be too much. In true old-New York fashion, however, Ed and Debbie have no thoughts of giving up their Chelsea Hotel life. They recently showed us around their bohemian apartment, and even as they took us through the building, covered in dust and drop cloths, they speak fondly of their memories and their commitment to staying put. Ahead, get a closer look at why trading off space for history was the right choice for this couple and learn how they’ve made it work, what their wildest stories are from the hotel’s heyday, and what their most recent tenant lawsuit may mean.
You don’t want to miss this apartment tour!
Image: Steven Pisano via Flickr.
The Department of City Planning, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Margaret Chin announced today the launch of a six-month public engagement process addressing the future of NYC’s Soho and Noho neighborhoods. The series of public meetings and consultation with local stakeholders are an early phase in outlining a vision for the future of those neighborhoods; the city’s plans include updating what many consider outdated zoning laws, including the removal of rarely-enforced restrictions on ground floor retail tenancy and Soho’s Artist In Residence law.
Find out more
The area in the 1840s, via Wiki Commons
One of New York City’s most charming and distinctive corners celebrates its 50th anniversary as a landmark district this coming week. The St. Mark’s Historic District, designated January 14, 1969, contains fewer than 40 buildings on parts of just three blocks. But this extraordinary East Village enclave contains several notable superlatives, including Manhattan’s oldest house still in use as a residence, New York’s oldest site of continuous religious worship, Manhattan’s only true east-west street, the remains of the last Dutch Governor of New Netherland, and the only “triangle” of houses attributed to celebrated 19th century architect James Renwick.
More secrets of the neighborhood