22 April 2010

Work Being Done on Strangest Building in the East Village

It's a brand new world for The Strangest Building in the East Village.

After years of rusting, being boarded up, being painted an awful shade of tan, and just being plain weird-looking, old No. 62 E. 4th Street is getting a new lease on life. The ugly paint has been scraped off and the brickface is being repointed.

All this and more a workman told me about the building, which is currently draped in netting. There was an inch-thick layer of paint on the facade, he said. If you look at the above picture, you can seen how the taupe hue has disappeared and the brick is looking newly vibrant. (Still need to lose that graffiti.)

Of course, when the building is all restored, it will still look strange. There's nothing you can do about that. It was built that way back in 1889, complete with bizarre, frontal, cylindrical metal fire escape, enclosed by a tubular metal grill, completely different windows on every floor, and the column-framed loggia on the fourth floor. There it is below in scrappier times. 

It will also retain it's colorful history, having been, at various times, home to a German music union in the 1880s; Astoria Hall in the 1920s; the Astor Ballroom back in the 1940s; and a gay cinema in the 1960s, when it was rented by none other than Andy Warhol and managed by Jim Carroll. It's now a theatre.


BrooksNYC said...

I've always loved that building!

For a while (ten or fifteen years ago, maybe?), the building was so beautifully lit at night that the circular fire escape looked like sculpture.

Check out this old post on Gothamist:


The last photo shows one of the cool painted murals.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Yes, I know that post. It was actually posted back in 2008 in response to my original post about the building.

BrooksNYC said...

HA! Just found your original post. I commented then, too, and made a similar remark about the lighting. (I need to cultivate some fresh observations!)