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Last year, Upper West Siders saw the shutdown of the entire block of stores between 77th and 78th Street. I spent a few minutes catching up with Flag Guy. The northern portion of the block seen in the left of the above photo (click to see big), has been gutted. The shell of these historically significant buildings will be preserved, which earns the developer a tax break.

This section of the block: nineteen stories of glorious glass. What was most recently there? Manhattan Diner (so-so, but reliable), Ruby Foo’s (a classic standby), Cosi (where have all the new moms and triple-decker baby carriages gone?), Laila Rowe (emergency gifts for teenage girls), Jewelry store (reliable repairs, reasonable pries), Subway (so what), World of Nuts & Ice Cream (OK in a pinch, but Emack and Grom were always the first choice), New Pizza Town (the loss of this icon remains a tragedy).







Brutalism is a style of architecture. It seems to explain itself well enough in this image made recently of the AT&T switching center on 10th avenue between 53rd and 54th. The sun shone bright did not illuminate. No light enters, and no light leaves. Waves riding another frequency slip in, deposit their messages and exit with others to carry off into the ether.

It is said that on particularly dark nights and lunar eclipses a body can pass through the solid matter walls only to be absorbed by them. If you find it following you, walk slowly until you find help. Never look it in the eye. Image

I shifted my gaze from the tops of my shoes and street level and there, painted long ago on the sides of brick buildings, were signs still visible decades after their businesses became defunct. 

Magid Handbags and Coblentz bags and Alan Mill, gone since the fifties. Click here for a great website and more info.

Stiner & Berlfein, again, click for the full story.  My photo is 8 years newer than the one in the story and the paint is starting to show some wear.

This restaurant last served a meal on New Year’s Eve. Normally an abandoned building in decay adds some character and history to a landscape or cityscape, delighting and intriguing anyone lucky enough to stumble upon it. But as this photo shows, this structure is clearly a blight and should be torn down and its construction components returned to the corners of the globe from whence they came.

In December, 2001, a five-alarm fire swept through the north transept of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on Amsterdam Ave. You can see signs of reconstruction and restoration – building materials, scaffolding, large granite column sections – all along the north side of the Cathedral. Visit these grounds and you’ll see wide columns that abut the sky, light streaming in unglassed windows and stairs descending from total darkness.















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St. Brigid’s Church, the oldest Keely church still standing in the US, has been closed since 2001. The Committee to Save St. Brigid’s Church has a website describing the condition of the church, photos of the interior, and their efforts to raise funds and restore the building.

The view across from Avenue B. Windows boarded, garbage accumulating on the steps.



A pawlonia tree has taken root in a crack in the base of the building. These fast growing trees do a lot of damage, widening cracks, allowing more moisture to creep in.



August 2020

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