Urban archaeology: Astor Place's mystery doorway
Photo by Jefferson Siegel
As you leave the downtown No. 6 train at the Astor Place station, just to the right of the stairs is a bricked-over archway. Above it are the words "Clinton Hall."
According to forgotten ny, Clinton Hall was the building just above, at 13 Astor Place. It was home to the Astor Place Opera House in the early 1800s. The building then housed the Mercantile Library of New York from 1855 to 1932. The building was torn down in 1890 and a new, 11-story Clinton Hall rose to house the library.
It is believed the doorway, which dates to 1904, was bricked up in the 1940s. The building, which housed the beloved Astor Riveria Coffee Shop (now a Starbucks) in its ground floor, was converted to condos in 1995.
-- Jefferson Siegel