Pocket of old Manhattan poised to disappear
Ninth Avenue between West 17th and 18th streets is a remarkable pocket of Manhattan the way it once was -- homegrown shops that cater to their neighbors. That's it. The eastern side has a barber shop (with hand-painted sign), a liquor store (alive with bold neon), a dry cleaner (with 1960ish plastic sign), and so forth. And these are long-running businesses, with the kind of patina and roots that enrich the neighborhood. You take them as a group and you ask yourself how such places can hang on -- and what can be done to save them.
Th building that houses them has a new owner seeking to lure high-end retail -- that was the plan back in November. Now, Jeremiah at Vanishing New York reports in a compelling read that most of the shops have been told their days are numbered.
As he observes, "I've been wondering when the block would begin to vanish, but I didn't know it would happen with just one real estate deal."
It's a thought we've had from time to time about this stretch. We made a point of walking by here occasionally just to soak in the old-school flavor.
After the jump are a few more cell-phone shots we took of the street back in October. We plan to make another visit soon. Time is of the essence, as it is for so many of these places in today's New York.
-- Rolando Pujol