The Strangest Building in the East Village has gotten a makeover.
Back in 2008, I told the odd history 62 E. 4th Street, how it came to possess its odd figure in 1889, first as a two-story affair, then five stories, and how it thereafter went through tenures as a meeting hall, a German music hall, Astoria Hall, Manhattan Lyceum, the Astor Ballroom, a gay cinema, a hang out for Andy Warhol and Jim Carroll, and a performance space.
The picture above showed how the old girl was faring in 2008: plywood, rust and decay.
But last week I walked past the building and was pleased and dazzled to see this:
What an enormous change! Workman are still finishing the restoration. But, as it is, the Strangest Building in the East Village is now also one of the most beautiful. The brickface has been restored, the paint job made uniform, the windows inside the great arched lintels replaced, the windows up top given custom panes that fit their shape, and the rust on the cylindrical fire escape sanded away.
The bricked-up window/door on the top floor is now a window again, and the faux balcony that one stood outside it replaced. The loggia looks useable. And I love how clear the message "Built 1889" now is from the street.
You can also now see the lettering in the middle: an "M" overlaid with an "S." The initials of the builder, I should guess.
The building is now home to Rod Rodgers Dance Company and Studios and Duo Multicultural Arts Center. They received city funds to restore the edifice. They've been trying for more than 20 years to rehabilitate the structure.
Here's how the building looked back in its days as Astoria Hall. I think it actually looks better now.