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Then & Now: 117 7th Avenue South

Photo by John Barrington Bailey, c. 1965-67, for the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Earlier this month the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approved a revised design for a new building at 192 7th Avenue South, corner of West 11th Street. It will replace a one-story structure. This is the second of two new buildings that the LPC has approved on 7th Avenue South this past year, no. 130 being the other.

Catty corner from 130 7th Avenue South is no. 115-125, which is more familiar to locals as the home of Gourmet Garage. All three sites are triangular in shape, a result of 7th Avenue having been extended southward from Greenwich Avenue in 1919.

After that time, a one-story building was constructed on the lot at 115-125 7th Avenue South in 1923. It was designed by John E. Nitchie for John Wyeth & Brothers, Incorporated. The “then” photograph shows the building in context with the neighborhood c. 1965-67. Taken by then LPC staff photographer John Barrington Bailey, it provides a glimpse of the neighborhood a few short years before the creation of the Greenwich Village Historic District in 1969.

According to the designation report for the historic district, the building, which operated as a night club, had recently been remodeled in a “Gay ‘Nineties” theme. It goes on to describe the structure, “Bracketed gas lamps, on stone piers between the windows, and a row of gas globes along the brick parapet all accentuate this theme. Veneered demurely in brick, it has leaded casement windows and a corner door with marquee. In its low height, it accords with its neighbors along the Avenue.” The report also notes that the southern part of the building housed a cleaning establishment.

Google street view.

Fast-forward to today, and that building has been replaced with the Gourmet Garage structure. Designed by the Liebman Melting Partnership and Terry Van Dyne and completed in 1994, the building celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. In 2009 an application to construct a rooftop addition was presented to the LPC, and after two rounds of revisions it was finally approved in June 2010. The approved design called for the third floor to be clad in brick and the fourth and fifth floors to be made of glass. For whatever reason, that design has not been built, and it is unclear whether or not it ever will be.

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