Union Square

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Behind the Scenes, Features, More Top Stories, Union Square

All photos by James and Karla Murray exclusively for 6sqft.

When the Union Square Greenmarket opened in 1976 as GrowNYC’s second-ever market, there were only seven farmers set up. At the time, the area was quite empty and crime-ridden, but the market, along with the opening of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe and a major renovation by the city in the ’80s, is credited with turning Union Square into the vibrant hub that we now know.

Today, there can be as many as 140 vendors, selling everything from produce to fish to meat to cheese to lavender, as well as 60,000 shoppers (and local chefs!) on a given day. And though every season is beautiful and fruitful at the market, fall is perhaps the most colorful, which is why photographers James and Karla Murray thought it would be the perfect time to capture the essence of the market and get to know some of the vendors personally.

Take a tour and watch a special video

Restaurants, Union Square

Via alphabetjenn on Flickr

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. In June, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York confirmed the rumors after learning that an application by the bank to open a branch on the 16th Street and Union Square West corner was approved by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Now, Gothamist tells us that the bank will be joined by fast-casual vegan spot by CHLOE, shooting down rumors that an Outback Steakhouse was moving in. The two spots are planning to open in December.

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Landmarks Preservation Commission, Union Square

Image via Wiki Commons

Following a City Council Land Use Committee vote on Monday that confirmed the landmark designation of The Strand, store owner Nancy Bass Wyden said she will sue the city. Wyden has been staunchly opposed to the designation since the building at 826 Broadway was first calendered, citing concerns about costly construction and renovation work that could force her out of the business her grandfather started 92 years ago. Wyden will sue the Landmarks Preservation Commission in Manhattan Federal Court “to start,” according to the Daily News, who spoke with her lawyer, Alex Urbelis. Politicians “picked the wrong bookstore and they certainly picked the wrong woman,” Urbelis said.

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Landmarks Preservation Commission, Union Square

Via Wikimedia

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.

Full scoop this way

New Developments, Policy, Union Square

124 East 14th Street, union square, tech hub, GVHPS, preservationists

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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Landmarks Preservation Commission, Policy, Union Square

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 Update, Union Square

44 Union Square East, Tammany Hall, BKSK Architects

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.

Construction shots this way

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Features, Greenwich Village, GVSHP, History, Union Square

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.

See the full list

Landmarks Preservation Commission, Policy, Union Square

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.”

Find out what happened at today’s hearing

New Developments, Union Square

124 EAST 14TH STREET, ANDREW BERMAN, CIVIC HALL, GVSHP, PER SCHOLAS, TECH HUB, union square

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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