Untapped Cities writer Brian Orce sent us this photo of a quirky lighthouse atop a building in the Bronx, which he noticed while stuck in traffic along the Major Deegan Expressway. How did a beacon of the sea come to guide the commuters of New York City?
The building at 945 Summit Avenue was once the headquarters of H.W. Wilson, a publishing company, known for its Readers Guide to Periodical Literature. The lighthouse was part of the company logo, symbolizing the mission of H.W. Wilson: “To give guidance to those seeking their way through the maze of books and periodicals, without which they would be lost.”
The interior of the building still made use of pneumatic tubes, the once ubiquitous means of delivering mail in New York City, but is unclear if those details were kept after its conversion into the headquarters of Tuck-it-Away storage, who painted the lighthouse orange. H.W. Wilson merged into EBSCO Publishing in 2012, while Tuck-it-Away lost the famous eminent domain battle with Columbia University in West Harlem, forcing the move to the Bronx. The Bronx Times reports that Tuck-it-Away is considering a business incubator in the space as well.
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Before they became the voices of the Beat Generation, the still unknown Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg were involved in a story of intrigue and murder that played out on the Columbia University campus and Riverside Park. As we learned from the article, “The Last Beat,” in Columbia Magazine by David J. Krajicek, former professor at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, this long-forgotten story centers around the enigmatic character of Lucien Carr, a forgotten cornerstone of the Beat Generation.
Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area we had influence from the music of New York City in waves over the years. My first sounds of the streets were from lowrider car cassette decks playing old R&B songs but with intervals of the sounds that were coming from the streets of New York from groups like Los Hermanos Lebron, Eddie Palmieri, The Fania All Stars, Hector Lavoe, and Ruben Blades to name a few. I always imagined that these sounds filled barrios across the United States with the feeling that our voice was being heard even though the mainstream media did not play it on the radio. (more…)
This round-up of the unique laundromats of New York City began because I was wondering if I could drink and do my laundry at the same time. These multi-use locations, often referred to as “laundrettes” exist in European cities, but don’t seem to have cropped up in New York City (yet). Why is something that seems like a no-brainer so difficult to come by here?
While I originally thought it might be a zoning issue, I spoke to someone who came very close to opening a laundrette and she tells us that the startup costs are high, $100,000-$150,000 alone for renting equipment. Layer on top of that bar costs, energy and water costs, and retrofitting a space for washer/dryer hookups if needed. She says that in some cases, “depending on your location (differences as minuscule as being located on one side of the street as opposed to the other) your water hookups and taxes could either be a huge cost or a moderate one.”
Nonetheless, New York City may be getting one soon. In February, EV Grieve reported that a “Laundry Bistro” was in the works for 44 E. 1st Street called The Wash House. In honor of this momentous change, we decided to do a roundup of unique existing laundromats. Let us know some of your personal favorites in the comments!
Sunshine Laundromat (860 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint)
This Greenpoint spot has five pinball machines and a tiki-club feel. The door is full of signs like, “Try our Gourmet Vegetarian Washing Machines and Vegan Dryers.” It’s only entrance is of course, a self-proclaimed “VIP Entrance.”
As we come to the end of Black History Month and the beginning of Armory week here in Harlem, I thought it fitting to explore a street where some of black history was made – 125th Street. Here you will find a bustling thoroughfare of shops and colorful street vendors beneath the awnings of historic sights like The Apollo Theater and The Victoria Theater.
The former Loew’s Victoria Theater designed in 1917
With a tsunami of advertising since right after Christmas, we are right down to it – the week of Valentine’s Day. So in thinking of the people who occupy our hearts, I give you… flower shops. The watercolor images of the flower shops all around me. The ones I frequent with great pleasure all throughout the year.
And who do we bestow our heartfelt gifts upon? It’s time to start giving that some thought lest you be left behind in the dust – literally. For those of you who have too many to fit your budget, you’re guaranteed to have something for all your Valentines with a stroll down west 28th Street’s flower district. You can say Happy Valentine’s Day in so many ways. Valentine’s Day is not just for lovers but also for lovers of life, and a day to let the people who make your day know it.
While the one I love will probably be at one of the above, I’ll be at the Barney’s Warehouse Sale which, as luck would have it, starts on Valentine’s Day, and then on to the Racked recommended eight in Harlem! So from 110th Street to 125th Street in watercolor, Happy Valentine’s Day.
You can follow AFineLyne on Twitter or on Facebook at Harlem Sketches or Greenwich Villages Sketches. Stop by the Untapped Shop for a special Valentine’s gift.