Bond Street & 64th Street, Southwest Corner

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Random corner #3: Fifth Avenue & 76th Street, Southeast

This Wednesday's random corner is Fifth Avenue and 76th Street, the southeast corner. As usual, I'll just run through a quick sampling of what turns up in a handful internet searches and some of the standard reference works.

Fifth Avenue & 76th Street, Southeast Corner

Both Fifth Avenue and 76th Street were defined by the Commissioner's street plan of 1807-1811, though the plan envisaged this as a full, four-corner intersection.

Today 76th Street is interrupted at Fifth Avenue by Central Park (it resumes on the other side of the park at the Commissioner's Eighth Avenue, now known as Central Park West. So 76th Street tees into Fifth Avenue — actually it tees away from Fifth Avenue, in accord with the Manhattan one way street rule that "it's odd to be going to Jersey, even to Queens" — and offers only a northeast corner and today's southeast corner.

Originally about halfway between the Commissioner's Hamilton Square and Observatory Place (two of four small parks in the area provided for by the 1807-1811 plan), today the intersection is about halfway between the Frick Collection (between 70th & 71st Streets) and the vast complex of the Metropolitan Museum (main entrance at 82nd Street).

So at Fifth Avenue and 76th Street we are deep in the heart of the famous "Museum Mile," which also includes the Neue Gallerie (at 86th Street), the Guggenheim (between 88th and 89th Streets), the National Academy of Design (at 89th Street), the Cooper-Hewitt Museum (at 91st Street). The Museum of the City of New York is just a little further up Fifth Avenue (at 103rd Street).

Prime real estate, this, though as is usual with such neighborhoods, the visual interest to the photographer is in inverse proportion to the ambient wealth ….

The Harkness House at the other end of the block (northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 75th Street) gets a mention by White & Willensky; otherwise there's little to see on this side of the street except piles of limestone, canvas awnings with well-polished brass stanchions, and uniformed — not to say liveried — doormen.

De gustibus non est disputandum — I suppose everyone has to live somewhere.

The Sabrett hot dog stand graces this corner with a little real color and an excellent hot sausage as well.

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