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by Michael R. Allen
A few random notes:
Thomas Crone has found much of the material salvaged from St. Aloysius Gonzaga Church — in a new bar on Manchester Avenue fittingly called “The Church Key.” Read his review of that new establishment here.
Some readers may have noticed that the Syndicate Trust Building is undergoing both removal of its older coats of paint and repainting. Apparently, the cost of total restoration is prohibitive because the old paint damaged the original buff brick quite badly. The new paint is similar in color to the old paint, and returns the monochrome look to the building.
Long-needed rehabs of the Metropolitan and Woolworth’s buildings in Midtown are on hold. Meanwhile, with the completion of the new building on Live just west of the Continental Building’s parking garage at a similar height to that garage and the Scottish Rite garage across the street has an ill effect. While before vacant land took away from the visual quality of the block, now bland architecture and a lack of variety in form and height give the block the feel of a wind tunnel. The new building is a modest contemporary structure that is the least offender compared to the two dreadful parking garages, neither of which has any street-level retail. Add to the mix that the Continental Building’s storefront remains empty four years after the building re-opened — wasn’t that supposed to be space for an “upscale restaurant”? — and Olive Street just west of Grand is a very poor place to be a pedestrian these days. Once upon a time, this was the busiest intersection in the city and observers thought Midtown would be the “second downtown.”