Posts Tagged ‘Garment District New York’

Why are these Dutch-style houses on 37th Street?

March 22, 2014

West 37th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues is a gritty, mostly sunless stretch of Manhattan in the heart of what’s left of the old Garment District.

Dutchstylehouse37thstreet

So what in the world are these two houses that look like they belong in Amsterdam doing sandwiched between tall loft buildings and rickety old walkups?

Dutchstylehouse37thstreet2

The top one, at 18 West 37th Street, is actually quite charming—a stepped gabled gem masked by a tacky storefront.

Dutchhouseswallstreet1746The second one closer to Sixth Avenue looks like a poor man’s version of the first.

No original Dutch buildings from the 17th century survive in New York. But this 1880s sketch gives an idea of the kind of Amsterdam-like architecture that existed on Wall Street centuries ago.

These two replicas on 37th Street must be leftovers from a faddish 1890s revival of Dutch-style architecture.

The foxes of a Fur District building entrance

July 1, 2013

The early 20th century loft buildings that crowd the streets of the Garment District feature some nifty surprises—like these two magnificent fox statues, which guard the entrance of 242 West 30th Street.

Foxes30thstreetentrance

They must be a remnant of the heyday of the Fur District, once a thriving part of the Garment District now populated by a fraction of the manufacturers who once had factories and showrooms in the upper West 20s and lower West 30s.

Fox30thstreetentrancecloseupNewspaper archives show that fur manufacturers did occupy the building. But it’s unclear which company commissioned the statues, stately homages to the animals whose furs brought the company fortune.

This Fur District building has another interesting entrance: two grotesques handling a couple of furry creatures destined to become coats in some rich person’s closet!