14 February 2010

Can a Parking Garage Be Beautiful?

Yes, I say!

As evidence, I present this handsome structure on E. 31st Street, near Third Avenue, a fine, six-story face of red brick interspersed with tooth-and-groove stripes of cream brick. The window are fine, with old wooden panes.

The red, vertical neon sign is simple and attractive.

Four large, globular lights adorn the first story. The place even has a great name: Red Ball Garage.

Red Ball is part of the Garage Management Company, which operates 70 locations throughout the City, and has been in business since 1920. A few are equally handsome. Some are kinda cute. Many are butt ugly.

The building's been there a century. Used to be used for storage.


Adam said...

Of course they can - and even when they are not beautiful, there is always something fascinating about them. And I write that as someone who doesn't even have a driving licence!

Josh said...

That is, in fact, the Red Ball Garage. It was the starting point of the real Cannonball Run back in the early 1970s (That's right -- there was an actual Cannonball Run, on which the movie of the same name was based.) Photos of the rooftop with all the cars can be found in Brock Yates' book "Cannonball!"

VisuaLingual said...

You may be interested in a first-of-its-kind exhibit that's currently at the National Building Museum in DC, entitled House of Cars. It's all about parking garages!

Weirder still, I took a photograph of a really cool parking garage in downtown Cincinnati -- cool because it's covered by a large-scale Op Art sculpture by Julian Stanczak. The museum asked my permission for using the photo in the exhibit, so I get to play a teeny-tiny role in it. You can see it here.