This is a picture I took of a water tower on 26th Street, viewed from 27th (Here’s a good article on the ubiquitous NYC water towers, which look like relics of the past but are still very much in use). The church I used to work for had its office on 26th. Directly behind me is the “Radio Wave building,” So named because Nikola Tesla lived and experimented there. There’s a great park nearby, Madison Square Park. Once Kanye West held a free concert there and it was a *mess*. Harried police shut down several blocks and there were tons of people. Apparently Kanye came on super late. Kanye and Jay-Z own a club nearby, called the 40/40 club. I stuck my head in there once, but didn’t sit down.
Speaking of Tesla: There are two Tesla Plaques in NYC (that I know of). One on the aforementioned Radio Wave Building (which used to be called Hotel Gerlach), and one on the Hotel New Yorker Hotel at 34th and 8th, where Tesla died, destitute. This leads me to a question: how come a long time ago living in hotels used to be a thing?
Walking into Faerman’s National Cash Register store, which sells and repairs old cash registers, is like going back in time. It’s full of elegant antique cash registers that still say “ka-ching” and have rows and rows of buttons and cool florid designs. It’s got the kind of old hand-painted sign out front you don’t see much anymore. I found a 2009 NY times article on the store (Apparently the same article which is framed on the wall in the picture below). In the article Mr. Faerman is warming up one of the cash registers with a hair dryer “because machines need to be warm to work.” Apparently there used to be lots of cash register stores on and around the Bowery, but only this one remains. I took a lot of pictures inside, but only a couple turned out ok. The rest were too blurry to post.
In Chinatown, on Grand Street, there is a store called AAA Avacados that sells only avacados, at one dollar apiece. It sounds like the brainchild of a Seinfeld character (Jerry: “Really? nothing else? only the avacados?” George: “That’s right! Only avacados baby!”), or the punchline of a Mitch Hedberg Joke. A few doors down there’s a rather stinky store (Durian New York) that sells only Durian. I didn’t get a photo of that one though.
This is 817 Broadway (at E. 12th) in Manhattan. It used to be known as the Sprague building and was designed by George Post. It sits catty-corner from the splendid Strand bookstore (“18 miles of books”). This site has more photos and some history about the building. (I’d like to learn more about that “Fuller Detective Agency” shown in the 1905 photo).