02 May 2006

The Deathless Temerity of Developers

When press agent Sidney Falco in the film "Sweet Smell of Success" said, "Your gaul is gorgeous!," he wasn't talking to a real estate development, but if he had been, the comment wouldn't have been out of place.

Take the tact-challenged folks behind the new Greenwich Village condo complex call 181 Sullivan Street. If the address seems familiar to you, you're probably a theatre geek. This chuck of Sullivan used to be the home of the Sullivan Street Playhouse, where "The Fantaskicks" played for decades upon decades. The show finally closed a few years back—the landlord wanted them out, and made plans to tear down the theatre and throw up a five-apartment luxury unit tout suite. What can you do? Nothing lasts forever. That's the New York way.

But it's the way they're doing it. Not content to stomp on the bones of New York and theatre history, they must also exploit the site's history to ease the flow of lucre into their pockets. In a bit of marketing spin to make theatre nostalgists wince, the new housing structure is trumpeted as "Five fantastic condominium residences."

These guys would tear down Grand Central Terminal if they could, and they crow about how "grand" and "central" the new condos they were offering were.

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