The curious case of two neighboring tenements

Did these two buildings, on Third Avenue near 57th Street, start out as twins?

They’re about the same size and width, and it makes sense that both began their life a hundred years ago or so as typical five-story walkup tenements, the kind New York is famous for.

Unfortunately at some point—the 1950s? 1960s?—the one on the left underwent a serious facelift and had its lovely windows and ground-floor space modernized and uglified.

The only old photo I could find captures the building on the right—a classic Berenice Abbott shot from 1936, when the ground level of this now-restored beauty housed an antique shop.

[Photo link courtesy of the New York Public Library Digital Gallery]

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6 Responses to “The curious case of two neighboring tenements”

  1. Lady G. Says:

    Sweet! the one with red awnings is so charming!

  2. wildnewyork Says:

    Yeah…and the other one just is not. It’s a shame.

    • T.J. Connick Says:

      The two were covered in a series of July, 1878 newspaper accounts of a local flood caused by broken water main.

      No. 942 was home to famed Le Moal restaurant for many years.

  3. Ricky Says:

    The one with the red awing is the to-the-trade interior design fabric showroom Scalamandre.

  4. Dave Says:

    I was just reading about Laver’s Law, which is what this kind of thing always reminds me of: http://wunderbuzz.co.uk/wonders/lavers-law/. Unfortunately the one on the left seems to have overstayed its welcome in “Ridiculous.”

  5. Lisa Says:

    I’m a longtime fan of “Laver’s Law”, Dave– it explains the not-so-easy-to-explain cycle of fashion so well!

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