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NYC Grid is a photo blog dedicated to exploring New York block-by-block and corner-by-corner. Each post covers a new street or feature with a focus on the mundane and ephemeral.


Entries from April 11, 2010 - April 17, 2010


York Avenue Between 79th St and 77th St

All up and down York Avenue you're able to find just about everything a neighborhood would need – and sometimes more. This stretch for example has two bodegas within 50 feet of each other. Identical in just about every way, they both seem to do a substantial amount of business. Sharing the street is also a wine store, two nail salons, two dry cleaners, a post office, a magazine shop, two restaurants, a flower shop, an elementary school and several others. See? I told you it has everything.

These blocks also offer a rather unique sight on weekday mornings: A line of taxis, sitting for what seems like forever, making up the city's only sanctioned ride-sharing cab stand. For $6 per passenger the cab will take you on an express route down to Wall Street. Recently a few other ride sharing posts opened, but none have been as successful as this one, which has been around for over 20 years. It's not uncommon to see the cars lined up for two or three blocks down to 77th Street. Likewise you'll see a lot of the drivers out on the street talking  – or as I've seen, fighting.


Ave B Between 5th St and 3rd St

Alphabet City feels like no other part of Manhattan. Sure, it shares many of the same features, there aren't any individual elements that necessarily make it stand out – but there's a undeniable feeling. Once you pass Avenue A and especially Tompkins Square Park it's like a different world. Perhaps it's the overall lack of chain retail stores or restaurants...though that's becoming less true by the year. Perhaps it's the artist-fed culture and the fact that the "melting pot" mentality is still alive-and-well in this part of Manhattan. Or perhaps it's the disconnect the avenues have from the rest of the grid. Whatever it is, this truly is a city within a city.

This particular block is dominated by part of The Earth School (P.S. 364) - which feels very much out-of-place. The majority of the surrounding buildings are low-rise apartments with local stores filling the ground floor. Of course the highlight of this area are always the quirky details strewn about...and this block doesn't disappoint. On the corner of 4th Street, a seemingly simple bodega is topped off with a colorful paint job which looks simultaneously out-of-control and restrained.


63rd St Between 1st Ave and 2nd Ave

In the middle of the posh Upper East Side, this block is an ugly duckling that tries its very best to fit in. While some nice apartment buildings and local businesses make this seem like any other street, the MTA, ConEd and the DOT all have a presence that completely ruin the atmosphere. 

Starting off simply enough, you'll first encounter a large brick and steel-cased wall which seems to hold some ambiguous ConEdison equipment. It's a bit jarring, but if you look hard enough you'll find similar structures all around the city. The next intrusion is a bit harder to recover from: After traveling over a mile from Queens, about 1/3rd of the traffic from the 59th Street Bridge will inevitably end up on the offramp you encounter about halfway down the block. While the ramp graciously leaps over 60 and 61st Streets, 62nd and 63rd both bear the brunt of the noise and traffic, allowing them to go east and west, respectively. Thanks to this, the second half of this block is nothing but cars piled up on each other while they wait to turn on to 2nd Avenue.

Finally, approaching the western end of the block a large MTA Ventilating Tower sits along with an utterly inexplicable green house-like structure. The large tower, which serves the eponymous 63rd Street Tunnel, makes no attempt to fade into the neighborhood. Instead it sits like a sore thumb with its own front yard. The green house-like thing used to hold a public display of the East Side Access Project, though I honestly don't know if that's still the case.


11th St Between 2nd Ave and 1st Ave

In many ways, 11th Street is a lot like any other street you'd find down here in the village. A combination of quirky stores and restaurants sharing the space with a school and apartments – both old and new. The St.Marks Church is an easy landmark to spot from the western side of the block, but unless you count Atomic Wings, the same can't be said for the eastern intersection.

The middle of the block is wide open and airy thanks to the playground/open yard connected to the Tass Elementary School. Across from this yard a series of boutiques struggle to gain your attention with garish signs and bright colors.


77th St Between York Ave and Cherokee Pl

One of the shorter blocks ever documented on this blog, 77th Street ends rather abruptly when John Jay Park and Cherokee Place take over. However brief, the street is home to some rather interesting buildings. The Cherokee Apartments present an impressive collection of balconies which I previously mentioned in my post on 78th Street. Likewise, there's a tremendous post regarding the history of these buildings right here. Now earlier on the block P.S. 158, a classic-looking school building, stands stoically on the corner. An open court between the apartments and the school looks like it provides space for gym classes.

The Glenwood Apartments (which are apparently all over the city- but these are the Upper East Side ones) take up most of the southern half of the street. The comparison of the stark "high-end" Glenwood facade (which is really just bland, white brick – only the entrance with its fountains could be considered classy) to the ornate, vintage stylings of the Cherokee Apartments is an interesting one to observe. As far as my tastes go, I much prefer the latter, though it's easy to see how the Glenwood building could be considered much more livable.