Anyone who grew up in the ’90s (or earlier) will be sad to learn that the house on 54 MacDougal Street, in SoHo, might soon face the wrecking ball. The house’s address may not ring a bell, but its role as the vintage jewelry store in the 1997 classic, Men in Black, surely will. In the film, Rosenberg’s Fine Watches & Jewelry is the setting of the climactic alien showdown between Rosenberg, the undercover prince of the Arquillians, and Edgar, the farmer whose body is being inhabited by a giant alien cockroach.
The makers of Men in Black chose the little red house on 54 MacDougal Street because of its old, historic look. The house, indeed, is one of the oldest buildings in Manhattan; it has been around for nearly 200 years. Unfortunately, 54 MacDougal may not be here for much longer. Hudson Square Rezoning has plans to demolish the building as part of its ongoing initiative to encourage housing development on the West Side of Manhattan, north of Canal Street. Hudson Square Rezoning is run by the New York City Department of City Planning. City Council will vote on the Hudson Square Rezoning project on Wednesday, March 13.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) is committed to protecting the house on 54 MacDougal Street, among other historic buildings in the area. If you want to become involved, you can visit their website here. Meanwhile, here’s a bootleg Youtube video of the particular scene in Men in Black: