You might catch a glimpse of this Wild West-style candy store just outside the entrance to 77 Water Street in the Financial District and think it’s one of New York City’s real estate holdouts, with skyscrapers built around it. But actually, it’s the quirky addition of an oddball developer named Melvyn Kaufman. In fact, 77 Water Street is full of surprising finds, including an astroturf runway on the roof adorned with a World War I-era model fighter plane.
Inside the candy store is your standard New York City bodega, except that there are some additional vintage details: a stained glass Coca-Cola lamp, an old cash register, and a horseshoe-shaped counter. The current proprietors don’t allow photos inside, but Untapped New York was able to snap a few!
The old-timey facade of the bodega stands out in the modern entrance plaza which is otherwise adorned with art installations and benches. The sleek, white, and silver features of the entryway are in stark contrast to the dark wooden storefront covered in vintage-style signage. Playful additions like this candy store were a hallmark of developer Melvyn Kaufman’s work, which you can see more of here.
In Untapped New York’s sit-down interview series with the late architect Richard Roth Jr., Roth spoke fondly of the creative projects his firm, Emery Roth and Sons, collaborated on with Kaufman, including 77 Water Street. Kaufman hired a team of designers to execute his unique plans for the entrance of 77 Water Street. Roth recalls in the interview that Kaufman didn’t want any retail spaces or even a lobby. He did, however, want a candy store. In true Kaufman fashion, it was no ordinary candy store. You can access the Roth interviews in the Insiders on-demand video archive!
This architectural quirk makes for a fun visit with many tiny details to appreciate, from the candy-striped awning to a surprise batch of vintage posters on the side wall.
This wild west bodega is one of the many fascinating stops on Untapped New York’s Hidden Gems of the Financial District Tour. Join us for an expert-led walk where you’ll uncover Wall Street’s turbulent history, decode the most cryptic gravestone in Trinity Churchyard, touch one of the oldest standing structures in lower Manhattan, and more!
Hidden Gems of the Financial District
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich. See more quirky NYC facts and discoveries in our “Daily What?!” series. Submit your own via Twitter with the hashtag #DailyWhat.