Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Along West 21st Street

February 1988


June 2007


If not for the internet and Google, I would never have guessed that 'particle flow' has to do with fluid mechanics. Of course it makes perfect sense, in hindsight at least, that the Particle Flow Company would be located in an industrial loft in lower midtown. I just liked the juxtaposition of the signs.

It also took me a while to figure out where this scene is. Even though the company name and building number were on the sign, these places had been closed for the past nineteen years. I still had no clue as to what street this is, just somewhere in midtown. Then I took a closer look at the left side of the picture.

Gravestones.

There aren't many cemeteries in Manhattan, and only two or three that I can think of in midtown. Fortunately there's a great website for just this sort of research: Forgotten New York. A quick look through the archives there led me to West 21 Street, and the Third Cemetery of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue Shearith Israel.

This burial ground took its first patrons in 1829, when the Second Cemetery
of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue Shearith Israel in the Village was forced to re-inter many of its residents here. This was the result of 11th Street, which had only been a gleam in a city planner's eye up until that time, becoming a reality. A large portion of the Second Cemetery stood in the way of the street grid that 11th would cover. The 21st Street graveyard closed in 1851, a year before New York City banned burials within Manhattan.

A residential building called
Chelsea opened on the site of these lofts in 2000.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Nice catch on the gravestones.

What's with the new curb, though? What is it, an inch and a half high? Is this some new engineering/design theory thing?
You can't get a proper gutter going, with interesting stuff floating down in a rainstorm, not with a shallow draft like that...
I disapprove.