One of the things I love most about New York and other great cities is the mind-boggling variety of visually interesting things you can see by just walking down a street: people, of course, mostly wearing black clothing, but enormous variety within that, Korean markets with their flowers displayed in front, ornate old churches, Art Deco bistros and thousands of businesses, every one different (unless it's a chain, and there are relatively few of those in great cities). (See Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities for the importance of diversity in big cities.) In addition, over time older cities naturally accumulate a great number of buildings with different architectural styles; and sometimes these styles are even mixed together in the same building; and sometimes they have decorated tops that can’t even be seen from the street.
To celebrate the abundance of this architectural diversity, I took photographs of several buildings along one of the many streets in Manhattan that yield unexpected delights — the eastern end of 29th (the western end of 29th Street is unfortunately pretty bleak). This isn’t a grand area like the Financial District, nor is it festive like Times Square or Fifth Avenue, and it isn’t quaintly beautiful like the West Village; in fact the street as a whole isn’t at all charming or even particularly different — but that’s what makes coming across these buildings such a joy.
Starting from the farthest west is this brick carriage house and next to it one of the rare wood clapboard buildings left in Manhattan — both on the National Register of Historic Places.
|201 E. 29th Street
|143 E. 29th Street
|Resto - 111 E. 29th Street (Between Park and Lexington)
|The Carlton Hotel, Madison Avenue at 29th Street.
|Lobby, Carlton Hotel
|The Church of the Transfiguration surrounded by high-rise buildings, 1 E. 29th Street.
Marble Collegiate Church is another active and welcoming church on the street. Although its Sanctuary is currently undergoing renovations, people are encouraged to visit their 29th Street lobby. The colorful banners hanging from the fence represent prayers for the thousands of soldiers and civilians killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
|Marble Collegiate Church, 5th Ave. at 29th Street.
|Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel, 20 W. 29th Street.
|29th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenues.