In New York City, where retail space comes at a high price, shopping malls are not exactly abundant. They tend to be high end, like Rockefeller Center and the Time Warner Center, where Fernando Botero’s bronze Adam and Eve statues stand in front of Williams Sonoma. If there’s a food court, it probably contains a Starbucks, not a Taco Bell or Burger King.
The rest of America (yes, there is life outside New York City) has seen the rise and rapid decline of the suburban-style shopping mall. These malls, and their food courts, featuring familiar inexpensive chains like Subway and Sbarro, started popping up in the 1950s. The Viennese architect Victor Gruen, who first outlined his plan for a shopping mall in a 1952 article in Progressive Architecture, had hoped that creating these huge retail spaces would combat suburban sprawl, and create a sort of simulated downtown for the suburbs that could be found in cities. (more…)
At 249-253 East 50th Street, sits the remains of a restaurant that keeps reappearing in pop culture. The Lutèce was recreated in AMC’s Mad Men and referenced in the film Crossing Delancey. In the 1980s, Zagat named it America’s best restaurant for six years, but since the place closed in 1994 it hasn’t been the same. Though the building that housed this world-renowned restaurant is now empty and decaying along with its sister buildings, home to Kate Kearney’s and The Leopard, the myth of the Lutèce has captured the imaginations of many a writer. (more…)
Photo from inside the now defunct Atlantic Avenue Tunnel. (Image via BHRA by J. Blakeslee)
Back in 1844 when the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel was built, the City of Brooklyn was not one of the five boroughs. For the commuters of the Brooklyn and Jamaica Railroad, better known today as the LIRR, the Cobble Hill Tunnel was meant to reduce the congestion caused by a street-level train. In 1980, about 120 years since the City of Brooklyn had banned steam locomotives within city limits, ending the use of the tunnel, Bob Diamond stumbled upon the hidden underground gem. From 1980, he gave tours of the half-mile span to interested gawkers only to have his permit mysteriously taken away by the city in 2010. (more…)
As we’ve previously covered 6 of Paris’ abandoned subway stations, we were excited to see this proposal to reuse decommissioned stations as nightclubs, restaurants, a swimming pool, theaters and more, put forth by mayoral candidate Nathalie Kosciusk-Morizet. Among the stations included are Haxo, Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower, Porte Molitor, and Croix Rouge, a Red Cross Station closed since 1930. The plan, if executed, is to open up proposals to the public using an open platform, with final designs selected by a committee.
An abandoned boat wades in a narrow cove between Calvert Vaux Park and the vacant lot.
It seems like every square inch of New York City has been categorized, labeled, and filled beyond capacity. But if you know where to look on the fringes of the city, you can still find places without names.
On the waterfront of Gravesend, Brooklyn, such a place still stands. It’s an all but untraveled wedge of vacant land, nestled between aging marinas and the northern border of Calvert Vaux Park on Bay 44th St. It’s a place we can only call “the secret park,” but there’s no mention of it on the department’s website. In its place, the all-knowing Google maps shows only a dull gray transected by the mysterious Westshore Avenue, though no such road exists.