401 East 59th Street

Landmarks Preservation Commission, Upper East Side

Renderings and photos by Madd Equities LLC, via LPC

In a public hearing on Tuesday, the Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewed and approved an application to open a Trader Joe’s in the city-owned space underneath the Queensboro Bridge on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The cavernous space, known as Bridgemarket, is regarded for its 5,000-square-foot Guastavino-tiled arcade as well as its unique location. Former tenant Food Emporium moved out in 2015. The bridge and the space beneath it were designated a city landmark in 1974. The LPC applauded the proposal’s “sensitive approach” to the space.

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City Living, Upper East Side

Photo by missvancamp on Flickr

Trader Joe’s footprint in New York City is growing again. The popular grocery chain will likely open a new store on the Upper East Side in a space beneath the Queensboro Bridge. Formerly occupied by Food Emporium, the space features a 5,000-square-foot Guastavino-tiled arcade and was landmarked by the city in 1974 as part of the bridge’s designation. Last month, Trader Joe’s opened a new location in the East Village, its 10th store in the city, with possible plans to move to a condo tower in Long Island City.

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adaptive reuse, Upper East Side

Photo by missvancamp on Flickr

Guastavino tiles–a design technique for thin-tile structural vaulting brought to New York at the end of the 19th century by Spanish architect and builder Rafael Guastavino and his son Rafael Jr.–can be seen at 250 locations throughout the city. Most of these spots have grand public purposes, such as Grand Central, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, or the Municipal Building. But one locale has gained famed for its very un-grand function as the home of a grocery store.

The Food Emporium underneath the Queensboro Bridge has occupied one half of the Guastavino-tiled arcade known as Bridgemarket since 1999. This Saturday at 5:00 p.m., though, it will close its doors for good, according to Bloomberg, which leaves the fate of the historic interior up in the air.

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Archtober2020