29 March 2011

Rockefeller Center's Grimy Southern Border

I like the way the block of W. 48th Street between Fifth and Sixth continues to act like a real Midtown block, stubbornly providing a grimy southern bracket to the polished swank of Rockefeller Center. There's an OTB (now closed) and a string of sketchy restaurants housed in crumbling townhouses.

You can see two of those eateries above, at 28 and 30 W. 48th Street, not to mention assorted psychics, palm readers and nail salons. What attracted to me to these building this particular day, however, were the upper floors. Obviously built as a pair, they sport some very unusual windows and lintels, more and more gently rounded on the top as you go from the first story to the top story. Very unique and attractive.

As far as history, 28 W. 48th was a store back in the 1920s. There's more info about 30 W. 48th. It was offices in the 1940s; an eatery and bar in the mid-50s; and a greeting card story, with a beauty parlor and barber, and a portrait studio above, in the 1960s.

30 W. 48th's secret history is much more interesting. It was raided by police at 4 AM one February 1977 night as an illegal casino.

1 comment:

Grade "A" Fancy said...

This has always been a favorite block to linger and look (until you get jostled by the throngs). It's a slice of what the whole area looked like before Rockefeller Center, and the overall feel of busyness is sorta charming.