Posts Tagged ‘bank building 14th Street 8th Avenue’

The elegant buildings now home to chain stores

January 4, 2012

It’s the story of New York City’s retail life.

The original tenant of a beautiful storefront or commercial building bites the dust.

The now historic storefront remains—but the new tenant is nothing like the well-heeled old one.

Consider 597 Fifth Avenue, at 48th Street (left, in a NYPL photo), a glass and iron beauty with three stories and a commanding grand staircase.

It was home to Scribners bookstore from 1913 to 1989.

Today it’s a Sephora, the beauty porn chain store.

I’m surprised Duane Reade didn’t take over this gorgeous space on Eighth Avenue and 14th Street, the longtime headquarters of New York Savings Bank (from a 1940s Life magazine piece, clearly at Christmastime).

It served as a rug store in the 1990s and then put in a brief run as a Balducci’s before CVS moved in.

Those superhigh ceilings and marble walls make it a very imposing place to pick up cold meds and soda.