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A Little Land, A Lot of Building

Again, some convoluted history with multiple buildings on the same site. The picture above, taken while I was standing on the west sidewalk of Broadway looking east, shows the triangular vacant lot at the intersection of Park Row and Ann Street, just barely north of where Park Row hits Broadway on an angle. The big building on the left is the Park Row Building; the big building on the right is 222 Broadway, which replaced the St. Paul Building. Here’s that site in 1857:

I apologize for the upside-down writing but I’ll be rotating the maps so that nominal north is up. The vacant lot in my picture above is 1, 3, and 11 Park Row; the Park Row Building is 13-21 Park Row and goes by the address 15 Park Row. There’s no surprise that the mid-1800s had a bunch of small buildings here, some of which were already old. Here’s 1879:

That map has unfortunately very little information about the buildings at the corner. The most interesting thing is the awkward loop tracks for street cars, which have been replaced today by an awkward loop for cars. Next up, 1894 and a big change:

The corner lot (which they insist on calling 1 and 2 Park Row) has been replaced by an 8-story building, 90 feet high. That was the Clark Buidling, constructed in 1893. Number 3 and number 11 are both still five stories, so probably the same old buildings. 1905 gets us the next changes:

3 Park Row is now an 8-story fire-rated building, so it has to be new; 13 to 21 have been demolished and replaced by the Park Row Building; and 11 is now only 2 stories. Most likely it was cut down rather than demolished and replaced. 1923 is similar, except that 11 has grown back to 3 stories:

The last map is 1955, and 3 Park Row has been cut down to three stories:

What did this look like? Here’s an Irving Underhill photo of the Park Row Building from 1912:

That’s Park Row in the center, St. Paul on the right, the old General Post Office on the far left, and some awkward street-car tracks in the foreground. This is roughly the same angle as my photo up at the top of the page. Our site is to the right of Park Row, so let’s zoom in on that:

1 Park Row, the Clark Building, is quite nice underneath all the signs – Drummond’s Detective Agency at the third and fourth floor, sewer pipe at the fifth – and 3 Park Row has a plain facade reminiscent of the narrow loft buildings common further uptown. 11 Park Row can barely be seen behind the signs.

Demolition plans for the Clark Buidling were filed in 1994. After some delays, it was gone by 1997 and a new store building constructed that filled the 1, 3, and 11 lots. I don’t know when 3 and 11 were demolished, but it was earlier than 1994, because I distinctly remember a vacant lot between Clark and the Park Row Building. The new 1 Park Row didn’t last long: demolition started in 2020 and was completed, covid-delayed, this year. A new building will be going up shortly: the drilling rig for new foundations can be seen in my photo at the top.

At the very least, this little triangle has seen the mid-1800s 1, 3, and 11 Park Row; the 1893 1 Park Row (Clark); the circa-1900 3 Park Row; the 1990s store building at 1, 3, and 11; and the near-future building at 1, 3, and 11. There may well have been something there prior to the mid-1800s buildings, and I’m assuming that all this height changes were the existing buildings being modified rather than replaced. So a minimum of four generations of building and maybe more.