14 February 2007

So That's What That Is

Thanks to Curbed.com for identifying for me the mysterious building that sits lonely and sad at the southeast corner of Third Avenue and Third Street. It was apparently—and oddly—the New York and Lhttp://www2.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifong Island Coignet Stone Company. "Whassat?" you say. Well, it was a company that manufactured Coignet for all of New York City and all of Long Island. "Manufatured what now?" Coignet was a type of concrete invented by Francois Coignet in Paris in the 1850s. The building was just one small part of what was a five-acre industrial complex. From what I understand, Coignet was produced there only from 1872, when the structure was built, until 1882.

Why did they need an lovely, elegant, Italianate, two-story buidling replete with graceful columns and cornices to do this work (even if the thing is actually made entirely of concrete)? Good question. But I'm glad they decided theirs was a lofty pursuit deserving of a grand building. I've stared in wonder at Third Avenue's lone post of architectural beauty countless times while taking the B71 from Park Slope to Carroll Gardens, and hoped against hope that it wouldn't be torn down. Well, Curbed tells me it won't: it was landmarked last year. (I know I'm behind on this story.)

More people than those who ride the B71 will see the Coignet in the future, since Whole Foods is buidling its Gowanus outlet right next door. In fact, Whole Foods owns the building. They better be nice to it.

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