Currently used for self-storage, this classically styled edifice was built in the late 1920s as a "furniture warehouse", according to a 1998 NY Times article. "The columns and pilasters mask a cavernous interior, containing over 1,000 storage rooms and vaults, built of thick concrete and steel and dispersed over 14 floors. Roughly half the floors are built below street level, far below the [Riverside Drive] viaduct" (on which I'm standing). This view from down below on the Henry Hudson Parkway makes the actual size of the building a little clearer.
The architect was George S. Kingsley, who "designed several other historically inspired storage warehouses", including the similar Atlas Storage building in Philadelphia and the Egyptian Revival Reebie Storage Warehouse in Chicago. Even given the different architectural standards of that era, it seems kind of odd that such refined designs were employed for these utilitarian structures. The reason for this, I think, is obscured by the vague descriptions of these facilities as "furniture warehouses" or "storage warehouses". What does that mean exactly?
We start to get a better sense when we find out that Mr. Kingsley's architectural specialty was "secure storage for shorebound summer vacationers". And a while back, when passing by the Portovaults of Day & Meyer, Murray & Young, we learned that the well-to-do once "stored seasonally . . . When people went away for the summer, they rolled up their rugs and took their silver and put it in storage." So I'd imagine that the clientele of these former businesses was considerably wealthier than the budget-conscious customers of today's self-storage warehouses. Perhaps the grand, imposing architecture was important for appealing to that snootier demographic.
of part of Columbia University's future campus in Manhattanville. Standing atop the Riverside Drive viaduct, we're looking east at the skeleton of the new Jerome L. Greene Science Center, with the elevated 1 train crossing 125th Street in the background at right. 130th Street used to run right down the middle of this scene, and eventually will once again.
Owned by Columbia University since 1949, this 1911 building was originally a milk processing plant operated by Sheffield Farms (whose "Class I gravity milk plant" — one of only two in the country when it opened in 1914 — we saw in the Bronx). Sheffield was later joined in the neighborhood by Borden, who converted the nearby Studebaker building into a milk plant in 1937.
Erected around 1923 as a finishing facility for newly manufactured Studebakers, this building has subsequently served as a milk processing plant and has housed, among other things, a doll factory and part of the American Museum of Natural History's Polynesian antiquities collection. Columbia University has rented space here for over two decades and now plans to incorporate the building into its new Manhattanville campus, making it one of only a few existing buildings within the bounds of the future campus that will still be standing when construction is complete in two decades or so.
Peering west across Columbia's construction site toward the Riverside Drive viaduct
West 130th Street between 12th Avenue and Broadway is only the second section of road I've encountered that's been closed not just to cars but also to pedestrians. (The first was East 146th Street/Canal Place in the Bronx.) I'll have to come back and walk it once it reopens, although it's not clear when that will happen. It's already past the date on the sign, and, as you'll see, the street is nowhere close to being open, or even to being recognizable as a street...
These kitty condos, two of the dozen or so I saw today at the northern end of Morningside Park (there's a third one partially visible higher up on the rocks), provide shelter for the park's sizable feral cat population. They read: "NYC Animal Research Do Not Remove". I called the phone number written on the boxes; the guy who answered told me they're spaying and neutering the cats, trying to find homes for the friendly ones, and putting out these little huts so the wild ones can stay warm through the winter.