When will it no longer be necessary to write posts about how Tin Pan Alley is endangered, I wonder?
I first wrote about the uncertain future of the stretch of old buildings on W. 28th Street—the historical home of the American Songbook—in 2008, when it looked like the former homes of myriad music publishing houses would be levels in favor of apartment towers. The media coverage that ensued and the economic crash of late 2008 helped save the buildings then. But the (still!) un-landmarked structures they're never been quite out of danger. Every year, it seems, a new threat arises.
In April, I reported that the strip of low-slung edifices—47 through 55 W. 28th Street—were again on the block. Read the Massey Knakal notice: "This Chelsea/Madison Square Park nighborhood has experienced a unique renaissance of hotel conversions, recent residential developments, office building restorations, trendy eatery's [sic] and excellent shopping. All retail units could be delivered vacant."
A reader now informs me that 45-53 W. 28th Street have been sold as a parcel, apparently to Yair Levy, developer of less than sterling character. This is arguably the worst possible news. You can read about the travails of Mr. Levy here. Though Levy is no longer allowed to sell real estate in NYC, he apparently is still permitted to buy real estate. (If you can figure out the logic of that one, please contact me.) It's doubtful Levy cares about the street's former life as the musical soul of America.
According to this reader, Levy has already approached one of the tenants offering to help them find a nice apartment in an elevator building and has told others he wants to build condos. It seems the as-of-right FAR for the buildings reaches up 10 stories.
This was never a matter that our departing Mayor cared about. (The preservation of any building was a non-issue for him.) Maybe incoming Mayor de Blasio will show more concern about our City's cultural heritage.