24 November 2009

Dirtiest Block in Midtown?

Hey, what's with W. 48th Street between Sixth and Fifth? I don't mind a little grit in my New York streets; if fact, I welcome it. But this block of tiny eateries is really, really dirty, especially when you consider its proximity to super-clean, spic-and-span Rockefeller Center. Part of the block faces directly on the plaza where the Rocky Center tree stands. There's all kinds of mud and garbage in the gutters, as if a street sweeper hadn't been through here in weeks.

The stained and muddy state of most of the awnings made me wonder if any of the business owners had ever thought of investing in a hose. Or maybe the City cut off their water supply some time ago.

Down below that dirty Le Monde awning is this dry erase menu board which instructs us to "Taste the difference of high quality food service." Based on the facade, I'm not confident what I'd be tasting would have anything to do with "high quality food service."

There's a second-floor Chinese restarant halfway down the block which was dealt some high praise by the New York Times and New York magazine in the 1990s. But you can hardly read the reviews. There're behind a pane of glass that hasn't seen Windex since Obama took office.

The steps leading up to the restaurant look like they've recently suffered through a California mudslide.

And the sign itself has made many a pigeon happy over the years.

Pigeons also like the sign outside the Plaza Arcade.

The arcade itself is about as dreary and dusty as you can imagine. Most of the shops are shuttered.

Finally, it doesn't help matters that about half the block is covered with either scaffolding or police barricades.

Strangely enough, the OTB, while hardly promoting a wholesome atmosphere, has one of the cleanest frontages on the block.


Ken Mac said...

I'm feeling nauseous

Jack Womack said...

That's been one of the seedier blocks in that part of midtown for the past thirty years, easy. It's as if the greatest possible contrast with Rockefeller Center was desired -- mission accomplished! The OTB parlor has a lot to do with that, I suspect. The Szechuan restaurant is extremely good, though pricey. (Prior to that the space was Pig'N'Whistle, bright green neon...)There was another pricey Chinese restaurant -- Pearl's, I think -- where that new luxury coop is, and next door was Bun & Burger, a long-gone chain, where the cheese on said burgers was squirted onto each patty from a faucet. Burger wit', as it were.