An East Side supermarket’s lovely vaulted ceiling

Grocery shopping is an inspiring experience at the Food Emporium at 59th Street and First Avenue.

Instead of a box-like store with bad fluorescent lighting, this giant supermarket tucked beneath the Queensboro Bridge is like a cathedral, with graceful arches and pillars and beautiful vaulted ceilings lined with Guastavino tiles.


Bridgemarket, as the site is known, is one of many spaces in the city designed by architect Rafael Guastavino.

“Guastavino, an architect from Barcelona, pioneered the adaptation of a centuries-old vernacular building technology called the boveda catalana, or Catalan vault, in which long flat tiles are laid in courses and mortared together with a special mixture of portland cement and cow bay sand,” states Architecture Week.


“Guastavino vaults can be found in numerous grand interiors, including Grand Central Terminal, the U.S. Customs House, and the main hall at Ellis Island.”


Bridgemarket didn’t get its name from its association with Food Emporium. The site actually housed a farmer’s market in the early 1900s.

Guastavino also designed the vaulted ceilings of the long-closed, absolutely beautiful City Hall subway station.

Tags: , , , , , ,

10 Responses to “An East Side supermarket’s lovely vaulted ceiling”

  1. radicalhope Says:

    Reblogged this on Shapeshifters: Living With Dissociation and commented:
    Wow! Wow! Wow!

  2. thegreenockian Says:


  3. Says:

    I would love to see this!

  4. Untapped Staff Picks: Crowdfunded Skyscraper for South Street Seaport, Jazz Age Murder Mysteries, 1930s Paris, | Untapped Cities Says:

    […] An East Side supermarket’s lovely vaulted ceiling [Ephemeral New York] […]

  5. P. Gavan Says:

    Wow, I’ve seen this from the outside many times — I used to work just a few blocks away — but I never took the time to go inside. Next time I’m in the neighborhood, I’m definitely going in! Thanks for letting us “see” this gorgeous place.

  6. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I’d seen it from the outside many times too, and this was my first time indoors. It’s incredible! There’s a mezzanine level where you can sit and gaze at the beauty.

  7. Freezing Cold, Egypt and “No Pants Subway” | Patience and Fortitude in New York Says:

    […] […]

  8. The whispering gallery in Grand Central Terminal | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Rafael Gustavino and his son designed this part of the terminal “based on architectural principles that have been used for centuries worldwide—from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing to the Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur, India,” according to New York Curiosities. […]

  9. Ann Haddad Says:

    Another Guastavino marvel of design is the Church of the Holy Trinity on West 82nd Street. It is the only Byzantine style Roman Catholic Church in New York City.

  10. Blue and white tiles line the Queensboro Bridge | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] these are the decorative lampposts at the entrance to the bridge, and vaulted, Cathedral-like ceilings lined with famous Guastavino tiles under the Manhattan-side bridge approach, the commercial space […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: