Bond Street & 64th Street, Southwest Corner

Monday, May 24, 2010

Signs of change on Tenth Avenue: 13th Street – 23rd Street (2006)

A frequent failing of mine: trying to do too much all at once. Already, going through the first 42 corners of Tenth Avenue, the laundry list of things to make and things to do that I posted yesterday seems like too much (though many are things I’d like to get to on subsequent passes — I’m a big fan of many simpler rather than fewer more complicated iterations).

Tenth Avenue & 17th Street, Southeast Corner

Howie Becker suggested I look for “signs of change” and since I’m always happy to get ideas wherever they come from I’ll latch onto that one fast!

(Twenty-some years ago the painter John Hultberg told me, vis-á-vis my own work as an artist, which he was critiqueing for me, that I shouldn’t ever worry about originality. “You can’t prevent it,” he said to me.)

So, let’s at least start this 2nd pass by looking for signs of change. — It’s not so many corners, let’s just run through them and say what they are (open a second window in your browser, and go to Tenth Avenue 13th — 110th to follow along, or else toggle back and forth between the blog and the photos using your browser's forward and back buttons).

I’ll take the corners of each intersection in the clockwise order NE, SE, SW, NW.

For this post, at least, I'll list every corner and what I found; in later posts I may just summarize the results, if listing everything seems more tedious than it's worth — we'll see.

13th Street

NE — typical blue paint of a construction or renovation site, though no work appears to be underway yet; derelict structure over sidewalk (it's an overhead conveyor with hooks to move meat — whole carcasses — from trucks into the packing house)

SE — scaffolding; construction fence (same blue); truck delivering large pipes; workmen

14th Street

NE — High Line freshly painted white on north side of street; old black still visible to right; Mobil station has new look to it

SE — construction fence (same blue as 13/SE), same derelict overhead conveyor structure as 13/NE; at this end of the block, vacant lot behind fence.

SW — no obvious signs of change in progress though brick work looks to have been cleaned fairly recently; "stucco" on ground floor definitely not original

NW — no obvious signs of change in progress except if you know that the brick bulding at the right rear was originally a Nabisco factory building

15th Street

NE — scaffolding

SE — High Line pillars freshly painted white on Mobil Station property, black/rust on left; again, Mobil Station looks new; ditto store fronts on left

SW — no obvious signs of change in progress, but banners for "Hudson River Park" betray recent origin of this "mini park"

NW — orange plastic construction netting on sidewalk, workman (?), caution sign

16th Street

NE — construction wall (brown this time) with signage for new condo building ("The Caledonia") going up behind it

SE — none

SW — no obvious signs of change in progress, but this is, again, the former Nabisco factory building

NW — sections of concrete Jersey barriers; also the recently painted brickwork

17th Street

NE — Red Rock West Saloon may be new (?) but Earth Restaurant is definitely new and not in keeping with style of old neighborhood

SE — vacant lot with signs of construction — must be "The Caledonia" seen advertised on the wall at 16/NE; upscale furnishings shop new to old building; dog (breed) not typical of old neighborhood either

SW — no obvious signs of change in progress, but "ghosts" of prior structural elements above windows to the right betray fairly recent renovation

NW — construction netting on High Line; some scaffolding there too

18th Street

NE — store fronts are newish on left; "La" Lunchonette is new neighborhood style; van on right is delivering new stuff apparently for new business

SE — Star Diner probably ancient (?) but restaurant next door is new neighborhood style

SW — construction netting on High Line

NW — construction netting on High Line; scaffolding on left

19th Street

NE — no obvious signs of change in progress, but restaurant, especially sidewalk table awnings definitely new neighborhood style

SE — vacant lot; construction visible at far left

SW — High Line scaffolding at far left

NW — none

20th Street

NE — construction; scaffolding; signage for new building

SE — no obvious sign of change in progress, but Cookshop is definitely new neighborhood style

SW — none

NW — none

21st Street

NE — none except (maybe) recently cleaned brickwork

SE — none

SW — none

NW — none

22nd Street

NE — none

SE — none

SW — no obvious signs of change in progress except dog breeds (but see NW)

NW — veterinarian is new neighborhood style

23rd Street

NE — none

SE — restaurant closed / being renovated

SW — vacant lot with construction fence

NW — none (I don't think — I remember the very modern gallery building on the corner being there as many as a dozen years ago or more)


31 out of the 42 corners on Tenth Avenue from 13th Street to 23rd Street — 74% — show signs of change that are either obviously change in progress (15 corners, or 36%) or else evidence that would (I think) be apparent to anyone who knew the neighborhood of recent change (16 corners, or 38%); only 11 of the corners (26%) showed no signs of recent change.


Tomorrow I'll go back through these corners and have a second look at the kinds of change that are visible in the photographs (construction; renovation; cleaning up; new "style").

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