5. The Liquor Store, J. Crew Men’s, 2 White Street, 2 White Street House
This humble three-storey white building can’t help but stand out on the corner of West Broadway and White Street beside the glassy skyscrapers and cast iron lofts/luxury apartments of Tribeca. While the building has inevitably undergone several renovations since it was built in 1809, the top two floors retains most of its historic character.
The multiple renovations speak to many methods of adaptive reuse. From family home to Civil War-era underground dance hall to dry goods store, the building reincarnated itself once again after Prohibition as the neighborhood liquor store. The name was evidently a popular one and was kept when the building was repurposed once again as the “Liquor Store Bar” in the 1980s, slightly predating the drastic makeover of the neighborhood. NY State Federal law requires a certain length of distance between places of worship and places that sell alcohol. When a mosque opened, the Liquor Store Bar was ordered to close. The mosque’s spokesperson tried to stop this, saying they would rather not be a cause of unemployment but a member of the community. Nevertheless, the liquor license was denied. The structure though remained hardy and was refreshed once again by its current occupant, J. Crew which has leveraged the vintage design as a branding tool, keeping the historical details there today.
Stay tuned for our next installment of unique house transformations in NYC. Meanwhile, take a look at these former asylums converted into apartments and more.