Welcome to the sunny, steamy, sultry second week of July on Faces of New York. It’s a great time of year to be an occasional photoshop creative type because that usually means both getting outside and returning to air conditioning. Computers, like their users, work best in climate controlled environments. This week, I took a short jog down to Irving Place just south of Grammercy Park in Manhattan. It’s a funny little street that gets blissfully little attention, and is one of the only truly local roads on the island because it only runs for 5 blocks north-south. It starts at Grammercy Park, and has the dubious honor of ending adjacent the former meeting site of Tammany Hall. The old tigers have gone north with the property values, their original headquarters is replaced, and it’s quite the sweet spot today.
My charge this week is 81 Irving Place, an Italianate co-op building constructed in 1929 based on designs by prolific Manhattan architect George Pelham, home today to 102 apartments and a dentist’s office. This building has been on my radar since the inception of this project because it is really close to my favorite coffee shop in New York, 71 Irving Place. It’s my favorite mostly because it is on a quiet street and has outdoor seating that is, unfortunately and this time of year especially, almost always full. So in a way, it’s my favorite coffee house that I can never get in to. Sort of like a general message from the City to her denizens: “Hello! Welcome! I have many nice things for all to enjoy! The food is amazing! The coffee just finished roasting! Now, please wait in this line…” New Yorkers, I should add, and though we do it often, don’t wait well in lines.
I hope you enjoy the gargoyles, plaques, friezes and sundry statuary that dot this fine old residential building as much as I have, in passing, for the past year. And if your teeth are feeling fuzzy, brush please, and then stop on by the dentist while you wait for your coffee. And while you wait in that line, walk around the corner and you might just hear the door-lintil dragon screaming “Atreeeyuuuu!”