Saturday, December 15, 2007
NYC: Making big $$$ underneath bridges and down dark alleys (and not by selling drugs!)
I recently wrote about an incredible space we found on a recent trip to NYC - an upscale grocery store set underneath the amazing vaulted underside of the 59th Street Bridge.
That expedition prompted a certain father-in-law of mine, who shall remain nameless, to (rightfully) razz me about my unusual taste in "tourist attractions." I proved his observation correct when we were in NYC together last weekend and- where did I take people?- among other places, to a restaurant located underneath the Park Avenue Viaduct and second, to another hipster restaurant located at the end of a scary, dark, graffiti and razor-wire covered alley!
The first place is called Pershing Square, and it's directly across the street from Grand Central Terminal in mid-town Manhattan. (If you are reading this and wondering whether I was drawn to the place because it shares a name with Downtown L.A.'s most famous park, you are correct!) The first photo, above, shows the entrance to the place, and the second photo gives an idea of the crazy context- the joint is shoved into the right-hand-side armpit of the viaduct where Park Avenue has to jog around Grand Central (look for the bright lights under the viaduct- that's the "Pershing Square" sign).
The cool thing about this bizarely-located restaurant is that it is actually housed in prime retail space, where literally a hundred thousand people must pass by each day. The thing that is really striking about NYC is that real estate prices are so sky-high, particularly right now with the strong economy, that they are making use of every nook and cranny, no matter how odd it would seem. The New York Times gives this thumbnail history of the disused Pershing Square Restaurant under-the-viaduct space:
"The viaduct site was once home to a trolley barn. Later occupants included a U.S.O. center and the city's first Convention and Visitors Bureau. Its last incarnation was as a discount store, which closed in 1992." Sounds like an enticing spot for a fine dining establishment, right??
Next example of this hermit-crab theme: Freemans Restaurant. I think I'll move this one to a separate entry . . .