03 November 2007

Interesting Lobby, Uninterested Doorman

An apartment building at the northwest corner of Park Avenue South and 34th Street has one of the most interesting lobbies in New York City. The lobby is deep in dark wood, giving it an inviting air. But most intriguing is a plaque outside the revolving door entrance which reads, quite clearly, "Restaurant." Inside, directly across the lobby from the entrance is an old wooden door with the legend "Restaurant" written above it.

An entry to a nearby restaurant right inside the lobby! Cool! Only it isn't. The door leads nowhere, the haughty, disinterested doorman will inform you. It used to lead to a restaurant on 34th Street, but doesn't anymore. The current restaurant in none other than Mendy's, the famous kosher chowhouse.

This led to a lot of questions in my head. Why isn't the door used anymore? And, since it's not used, why does the door still advertise a restaurant behind its hinges? And why on earth is that teasing plaque still hanging outside the building? I asked none of these queries since the annoyed doorman so obviously didn't want to hear another peep out of me.

The building, for the record, was erected in 1930 as a hotel and was owned by the Community Church of New York City from 1943 to 1973. The rooms were converted to cooperatives in 1974.

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