Posts Tagged ‘New York Savings Bank building’

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.

The insects that adorn New York

February 7, 2011

Why would designers choose to decorate some of the city’s loveliest facades, fences, and clocks with bugs?

When it comes to the honeybees on this once-working bank clock on 14th Street and Eighth Avenue, it probably has something to do with what bees symbolize—industry.

The clock—affixed to the Roman Temple–like 1897 New York Savings Bank building—once featured a beehive, a symbol of thrift.

The moth-like critter on the right comes from one of the posts surrounding the entrance to Trinity Church Cemetery, the burial ground in the 150s off Riverside Drive that gently slopes down to the Hudson River.

The dragonfly and caterpillar mosaic, by Andrea Dezso, are part of the Bedford Park Boulevard subway stop in the Bronx.

Why two garden bugs? It must have something to do with the fact that this is the New York Botanical Garden stop.

Carved into the concrete of the Schwarzbock Building on Lexington Avenue and 32nd Street is this moth surrounded by mulberry leaves.

It makes sense: The building was once the headquarters of Schwarzbock looms. Another insect image, a silkworm adorns the building’s beautiful clock.