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Voice of the W. 13th St. 100 Block Association, Inc., 143 W. 13th Street, Suite 105, New York, N.Y. 10011 Issue No. 5 February 1999
Association Lights the Way to a New Victorian Era
Our Association, under the aegis of the Greenwich Village Alliance (GVA), has obtained a $35,000 grant for the installation of old-fashioned bishop’s crook street lampposts for our block. These antique-style posts, which will replace all the modern ones on the block, will add to our street’s Victorian ambiance. The grant was obtained largely through the joint efforts of our Treasurer, Bill Borenstein and the office of Councilman (now ex-Councilman) Tom Duane. Bill is also co-chair of our Beautification Committee, and Tom is now our State Senator. We deeply appreciate their excellent work in this endeavor. We also gratefully acknowledge the GVA’s formal sponsorship of our effort and the gracious cooperation of the 12th Street Block Association (5th to 7th Avenues) and the Upper West 13th Street Block Association (5th to 6th Avenues). Together we have all achieved a glowing grassroots victory in the continuing restoration of our already historic neighborhood. ture store became a neighbor. Before moving A Message from the to our block, Siegler’s had President been on West 11th Street My most gratifying moment for over 100 years. The as the President of this Block vacant site had attracted Association came on Nov. vagrants and accumulated 17th when I received a litter. Therefore, the P M telephone call from Scott Block Association Melvin of Councilman Katherine House,118 W. 13th St. welcomed this newest Duane’s office. Scott Agenda: Installation of Lampposts commercial addition. confirmed that the City had Acquisition of Planters Two residents, howapproved our request for Sidewalk Repair ever, opposed the store New Business or Suggestions money to install oldfor reasons that were fashioned lampposts on our block. never made clear. These individuals objected to the These lamps will complement the historic charstore’s request for a variance. The store need-ed the acter of our block, further enhancing the block’s variance because the space it occupies had been vaunique charm. They will stand as a permanent shincant for so long that, under the zoning law, it could ing addition to the beauty of our neighborhood. no longer be used for commercial purposes as of Every member of the Association can take pride in right. this fine accomplishment.—Gary Tomei Earlier this year, representatives of the Association attended various meetings: first the Zoning Association Eases Traffic Flow Committee of the Community Board; second, the After more than a year of pleas Community Board’s monthly general meeting; and by the Association, the third, the Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), a Department of Transportation city tribunal that decides zoning matters. While the changed the parking rules on our Association supported Siegler’s request for a variblock last March. We now have ance, its support was contingent upon the prohibino parking 8-6 Mon., Wed. & tion of objectionable uses such as a bar or a disco. Fri. on the north side and no Over the summer, the BSA granted Siegler’s a parking Tues., Thurs. & Sat. on variance that protects the block completely because the south. Sunday parking is allowed on both sides. in the event that Siegler’s moves, no commercial These changes have improved the flow of traffic, use other than the current use (a furniture store) will decreased horn blowing, and lessened pollution be permitted. This achieves the Association’s goal from vehicular emissions. of ridding the block of areas that attract vagrants Also, the City & Country School and the Assoand/or vermin and eliminates concerns about possiciation working together succeeded in installing yelble future uses of the site. low school crossing signs on 13th St. near the school, and markings on the roadway Painter Stuart Davis Lived Here
Tuesday, February 9, 1999, 8 . .
Annual Meeting: Election of Officers
Association Assists in Zoning Victory
Last year, in a storefront at 106 W. 13th that had been vacant for several years, Siegler’s used furni-
Recently a plaque was placed on Cambridge House, corner of 13th St. and 7th Ave. The plaque reads: STUART DAVIS (1892-1964)
On this site, the American artist Stuart Davis maintained his studio and residence from 1934 to – 1954. It was here that he painted many of his most important works including: “Hot Still-Scape for Six Colors--7th Avenue Style” (1940); “Ouh! In San Pao” (1951); and “Rapt at Rappaport’s” (1952). Davis painted for six decades and was an original and important force in American art. He also was an active part of the flourishing academic, intellectual, art, and jazz life of Greenwich Village. Dedicated by Cambridge Owners Corp. 1998 Two posters in the lobby of Cambridge House advertise a 1997 exhibit of Davis’s work at the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice. Stuart Davis is generally considered the outstanding American artist to work in a Cubist idiom. Using natural forms, particularly forms suggesting the characteristic environment of American life,
Macy’s First N.Y. Site Was Here
In 1857, Rowland Hussey Macy opened a small fancy dry goods store at 510 6th Avenue. The entrance on 6th Avenue was just 100 feet north of our corner of 13th Street. Until a few years ago, on the 14th Street side of the building, the word “Macy’s” and a red star had been visible. The red star was the symbol of the whaling ship that Macy had captained just before opening his first store. The store started small, measuring some 20 feet wide and 60 feet long, and specialized in dress and millinery trimmings. The first day’s sales totaled $11.06. The year’s sales were $90. All customers paid cash – including members of the Macy family. At a time when haggling was standard practice in retailing, Macy’s introduced the one-price system so that every customer paid the same price. Additionally, Macy’s was the first retailer to quote specific prices in newspaper ads, to offer money-back guarantees, and to sell made-to-measure garments, which were sewn in a factory on the premises. Also, Macy’s appointed the first woman executive in retail. From 1857 to 1877, Macy’s expanded to occupy the complex that remains today, consisting of 11 adjacent storefronts, thus becoming a complete department store. R.H. Macy died in 1877, but the operation he founded opened successor stores in other parts of Manhattan, finally settling at Herald Square in 1902.
Stuart Davis, circa 1932 he rear-ranged them into flat poster-like patterns with precise outlines and sharply contrasting col-ors. He later went over to pure abstract patterns, into which he often Rapt at Rappaport’s (1952) introduced lettering, suggestions of advertisements, posters, etc. However abstract his works became he always claimed that every image he used had its source in observed reality: “I paint what I see in America, in other words I paint the American Scene.” Stuart Davis is represented by Andrew Kelly of the Salander-O’Reilly Gallery, 20 E. 79th St. (212) 879-6606
Please Consider Your Neighbor
The Association reminds one and all that, after 11 P.M. or so, loud music should be lowered and raucous parties toned down and confined to the inside of one’s home.
Trees and Flowers
The Parks Department, responding to requests from the Association, trimmed the block’s trees last spring. We hope this will not only help beautify the block, but will keep our trees healthy and add years to their lives. We are still also working on obtaining planters for the east end of the block. Once these are obtained, we hope that those with residences closest to the planters will make sure the trees in the planters are well watered and maintained. For the second year in a row, residents planted flowers last spring. The tree boxes were dug up, fertilized, and mulched.
Grungy Nearby Building Going Upscale
A development group has bought 510 Sixth Ave. with plans to convert the 10-story building, which extends from 13th to 14th Sts. along the east side of Sixth Ave., into 98 luxury condominiums. The building once housed Macy’s (see article below). The developer hopes to attract “good-quality retail” for the ground-floor space. The building’s main tenant, FEGS, a social service agency, is locating to a site downtown. A representative of the purchaser says the building is worth the $47.5 million paid for it. “I think it will provide as good a quality of life as anywhere in the Village.’’ Renovations should be finished within a year and a half. Several other large retailers expect soon to open large stores on 14th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues.
Change of Address
The new mailing address for the Association is: W. 13th St. 100 Block Association 143 W. 13th St., Suite 105 New York, New York 10011 Page 2
This newsletter is published by Alan Jacobs, with contributions from Gary Tomei, Nancy Deckinger, Harriet Brand, and Bill Borenstein. Submissions welcome. Drop them with the doorman at 105 W. 13th St., marked “11E.” Or e-mail them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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