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Last fall 6sqft reported rumors that late-night Union Square model-spotting icon The Coffee Shop would be replaced with three new restaurants and possibly a Chase Bank. The rumors have been confirmed, says Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York; an application by the bank to open a branch on the 16th Street and Union Square West corner has been approved by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The popular coffee shop, which had a cameo role in “Sex and the City,” closed in 2018 after anchoring the corner for nearly 30 years.
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The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted on Tuesday to designate The Strand bookstore as an individual landmark, despite opposition from the store’s owner and local community members. Nancy Bass Wyden, who owns the Strand building, did not support designation because she worried that restrictions placed on landmarked buildings would prevent timely construction or renovation of the store in the future. While more than 11,000 people signed a petition opposing the designation, according to Wyden’s attorney, the commission voted unanimously in favor of landmarking. “Although this is not the outcome we hoped for, we’ll continue to serve our customers as we have done robustly for 92 years,” the Strand wrote in a tweet Tuesday.
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Rendering via NYCEDC
The city’s plans to create a tech hub at 124 East 14th Street near Union Square have been embroiled in a preservation battle since they were first announced. Community organizations like the Cooper Square Committee and Village Preservation have advocated for the past year that any rezoning should come with protections for the adjacent neighborhood, which is largely residential. As the Daily News reported, Village Preservation recently criticized the city for its lack of transparency in the development process, while claiming that it gave out a “sweetheart deal” based on political alliances and campaign donations.
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Photo via Wiki Commons
In a heated second hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the owner of the iconic Strand Bookstore, Nancy Bass Wyden, continued her fight to keep the famed bookseller’s building from being designated a city landmark along with seven buildings on Broadway between East 12th and 14th Streets. Instead, Wyden is offering to put in place a historic preservation easement on the storefront, Gothamist reports. The easement would be the result of an agreement between the property’s owner and a nonprofit group that would serve as a steward for the building’s preservation, ensuring that, in this case the building’s facade, would be properly preserved. At a previous LPC hearing The Strand’s owner voiced strong concerns that a historic designation would place crippling restrictions on the scrappy business and potentially threaten its future.
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Construction progressing on site; photo via 44 Union Square on Instagram with permission and Newmark Knight Frank
Construction of the glassy turtle shell-shaped dome on top of Union Square’s landmarked Tammany Hall building is officially underway. The building at 44 Union Square, formerly home to NYC’s Democratic party machine, is being transformed into modern office and retail space. New construction photos provided to 6sqft show the start of the unconventional dome’s installation, with the diagonally intersecting glass and steel now visible from the street.
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Straddling Greenwich Village and the East Village, the neighborhood south of Union Square between Fifth and Third Avenues was once a center of groundbreaking commercial innovations, radical leftist politics, and the artistic avant-garde. With the city’s recent decision to allow an upzoning for a “Tech Hub” on the neighborhood’s doorstep on 14th Street, there are concerns that the resilient and architecturally intact neighborhood may face irreversible change. While they’re still here, take a tour of some of the many sites of remarkable cultural history, nestled in this compact neighborhood just south of one of our city’s busiest hubs.
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Photo via Wiki Commons
Earlier today, the Landmarks Preservation Commission held a public hearing to consider landmarking seven buildings on Broadway between East 12th and 14th Streets, one of which many already recognize as an unofficial NYC landmark — The Strand bookstore. In advance of the hearing, The Strand voiced strong concerns that the designation would place crippling restrictions on the scrappy business and potentially threaten its future, as the New York Times reported. Referencing the recent tax incentives that Amazon received to relocate to Long Island City, Strand owner Nancy Bass Wyden said, “The richest man in America, who’s a direct competitor, has just been handed $3 billion in subsidies. I’m not asking for money or a tax rebate. Just leave me alone.”
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The New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) has filed permits to construct a 22-floor tech hub at 114 East 14th Street near Union Square, CityRealty reports. Officially known as the Union Square Tech Training Center, the 254,000-square-foot, $250 million, facility has big plans to ramp up NYC’s high-tech firepower: In addition to affordable office space for startups, market-rate office space for tech companies, and a retail and market area run by Urbanspace, the nonprofit Civic Hall will be running a new digital skills training center at the midblock site once occupied by a PC Richard & Son electronics store.
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Today, flea markets, pop-up shops, and food halls are an everyday part of city life, but 25 years ago, this wasn’t the case. In 1993, after working for several years at Urban Space Management in the UK, Eldon Scott arrived in NYC with the goal of opening a holiday market similar to those he’d worked on developing in London. He quickly set up the Grand Central Holiday Fair and shortly thereafter the Union Square Holiday Market. Modeled loosely on Christkindlmarkts, traditional holiday street markets held during advent that began in Germany, the Union Square market is now a holiday tradition for New Yorkers and out-of-towners alike, with 150+ vendors.
More history and info about this year’s market
The listing for this 3,000+ square-foot gem at one of downtown Manhattan’s busiest crossroads calls it a “splendid chateau,” and it’s certainly that. The most sparkling element of this rare pre-war condominium penthouse at 10 East 14th Street, asking $6.995 million, may be the 600-square-foot all-glass conservatory leading to 1,300 square feet of magical rooftop garden.
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