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What is this building?


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#16 Rail Paul

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 04:49 PM

I walked past this morning. Very mysterious. No signs of activity.

No noise from the robots milling long noodles?
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#17 Wilfrid1

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 06:04 PM

No, but I thought I could hear the faint whirr of extra-long yo yo testing.
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#18 Lippy

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 07:13 PM

Wilfrid, you are the closest.

The structure was built in 1919-21 as a New York Edison (predecessor of Con Ed) transformer sub-station, at a cost of $175,000. The architect was W. Whitehill, about whom I know nothing. It was also referred to as a transformer and storage battery station. At one time it was filled with lots of big, shiny machinery that turned DC into AC current. There were many such stations scattered around the city, until new technology was developed. New York Edison had to be granted a variance for this building. At least one neighbor tried to stop its construction on the grounds that it violated the zoning resolution (new in 1916!) on the grounds that it was an industrial use in a commercial zone and there were fears about noise and other dangers. It was stipulated in the variance that the walls of the building had to be at least 4 inches away from the adjacent buildings' walls.

A book by Christoher Payne, New York's Forgotten Substations, has an historic photo on p. 27, wrongly dated 1906. I was sorely tempted to buy this book, but resisted, and anyone who has read my threads on the taking care of books thread knows why.

In 1963 the building was altered for use as photo studios and offices, and then again, presumably in 1980, but to check that I'd have to look at the Department of Buildings records in the DOB offices and I don't do that unless I'm paid.

This is an interesting building type and even though Con Ed no longer uses the technology that required these structures, some of the buildings remain, either empty or converted to other uses. The buildings were designed to more or less blend into their neighborhoods, but often had large clear windows so that people could see the interesting machinery inside. My guess is that when these were first needed, electricity was still a novelty and the windows were there to reassure the public and satisfy curiosity.

Thank you, Orik, for the interesting question.

#19 clb

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 07:21 PM

The structure was built in 1919-21 as a New York Edison (predecessor of Con Ed) transformer sub-station, at a cost of $175,000. The architect was W. Whitehill, about whom I know nothing. It was also referred to as a transformer and storage battery station. At one time it was filled with lots of big, shiny machinery that turned DC into AC current. There were many such stations scattered around the city, until new technology was developed. New York Edison had to be granted a variance for this building. At least one neighbor tried to stop its construction on the grounds that it violated the zoning resolution (new in 1916!) on the grounds that it was an industrial use in a commercial zone and there were fears about noise and other dangers. It was stipulated in the variance that the walls of the building had to be at least 4 inches away from the adjacent buildings' walls.

A book by Christoher Payne, New York's Forgotten Substations, has an historic photo on p. 27, wrongly dated 1906. I was sorely tempted to buy this book, but resisted, and anyone who has read my threads on the taking care of books thread knows why.

In 1963 the building was altered for use as photo studios and offices, and then again, presumably in 1980, but to check that I'd have to look at the Department of Buildings records in the DOB offices and I don't do that unless I'm paid.

This is an interesting building type and even though Con Ed no longer uses the technology that required these structures, some of the buildings remain, either empty or converted to other uses. The buildings were designed to more or less blend into their neighborhoods, but often had large clear windows so that people could see the interesting machinery inside. My guess is that when these were first needed, electricity was still a novelty and the windows were there to reassure the public and satisfy curiosity.

Thank you, Orik, for the interesting question.

And you, Lippy, for that interesting answer.

clb

#20 Wilfrid1

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 07:23 PM

I still say testing yoyos.
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#21 Orik

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 07:38 PM

Thank you Lippy! I would never have guessed that's what it was (obviously their intention). As Wilfrid said, it doesn't seem like anyone is using the building at the moment, with the exception of a clandestine yoyo cult.

edit: good rock band name - clandestine yoyo cult
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#22 Wilfrid1

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 07:43 PM

Yes, the Yo Yo Mamas of the Lower East Side.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#23 Orik

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 08:09 PM

In our next episode (weather permitting, tomorrow) - Signs of the spies - how some things in Turtle Bay may not be what they seem.
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#24 Robert Schonfeld

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Posted 23 April 2004 - 09:48 PM

Great thread.

"New York Edison" is also engraved over the entrance to their building on 40th or 39th and 1st, one of the buildings that's coming down soon.
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#25 Orik

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 10:23 AM

Now it can be yours for just 25 million:

 

http://www.nytimes.c...r=rss&emc=rss#1


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#26 LiquidNY

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 03:37 PM

Wow. I bet he paid a dollar for it.

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#27 Wilfrid

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Posted 06 February 2014 - 04:53 PM

I still say it's a spaghetti factory.



#28 Orik

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Posted 07 February 2014 - 05:50 AM

Wow. I bet he paid a dollar for it.

 

Ten, actually.


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#29 LiquidNY

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Posted 21 February 2014 - 03:37 AM

Photos of the interior:  http://streeteasy.co...illage-new-york

 

70181911.jpg


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