Everywhere In Manhattan I’ve Ever Lived

Manhattan
I WAS BORN on Staten Island, I grew up in Connecticut, and I moved back to New York for a summer job with Bob Stern during graduate school—but I didn’t go back to school for 4 years.

While I had that summer job I lived on Duane Street, when artists in SoHo were still new-ish and TriBeCa was full of egg and dairy buildings. I shared a loft that was 150 feet deep, with the only windows at each end. Mine looked out on the World Trade Center, and I came to see why some artists were fascinated with the bland building. It was so bland that it constantly changed in different light.

The second half of the summer I lived in the Moses-ian Penn South, built by the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union on boring super-blocks. Chelsea then (the time when “the Bronx [was] burning”) had few restaurants, supermarkets, or even bright street lights. When I left for work in the morning, there would frequently be half-dressed night-clubbers straggling up Ninth Avenue after a night at the private S&M club The Mineshaft, in a very different Meatpacking District.

After that, I lived in three apartments on the Upper East Side, always between Madison and Lexington Avenues. I found living in New York was like drinking coffee all day, and I wanted to live near Central Park, a great release. Also near two of the apartments were the Metropolitan Museum, the Frick, the Guggenheim, the Museum of the City of New York, Cooper-Hewitt, and a private but inexpensive library with the misleading name of “the New-York Society Library.”

In a few months, we’re moving to 99th Street and Riverside Drive, a much longer walk from Central Park. Riverside Park certainly has its virtues, but no park in New York equals Central Park. Riverside Drive, however, is one of New York’s best streets. We should have put it in Street Design, but the day Victor and I went to photograph it was a grey, unflattering day, and it never quite made it in.

That’s too bad. It is one of the streets that gives much-needed variety to the Manhattan grid, and it has long beautiful sections, with some beautiful buildings. I will have to write it up for this blog and the Street Design blog.

riversidedrivepostcardRiverside and the Upper West Side may not have the Metropolitan Museum and the 92nd Street Y, but our new street does have handsome Classical apartment buildings and great Classical monuments, like Grant’s Tomb, the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Monument and the Firemen’s Memorial. More on these and the street to come. And maybe I’ll come to see that Riverside Park is great too.

FiremensMemorialEastFiremensMemorialWest

riversideparkpostcard

PS: I’ve also worked at 72nd and Broadway, 57th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues, 38th and Fifth, 16th Street between 5th Avenue and Union Square, Fulton and Nassau, and Bleecker at Broadway (not to mention Bedford, New York, Florence, Munich, and Paris).

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3 Responses to Everywhere In Manhattan I’ve Ever Lived

  1. Jonathan R says:

    Sir, you absolutely called it correctly with the restyling of Riverside Drive between 97th and 102d Streets. I had not realized that the yellow wide median would go in between the uptown and downtown lanes (but you had) in that section.

    I was bicycling up the hill yesterday, and instead of being able to go at my own pace between the traffic and the parked cars, I was obliged to stick in the center of the lane to maximize my visibility. This is an abomination and ugly as well (as you pointed out). Why are we forced to accept this kind of design?

  2. Thanks, did I say that on Streetsblog?

    • Jonathan R says:

      Yes, it was most certainly on Streetsblog, but I feared you wouldn’t see my follow up if I didn’t post it here.

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