Volume 74, Number 55 | May 25 - 31 , 2005

Focus on Union Square

Villager photo Jefferson Siegel

Villager photo by Josh Argyle

The former Paterson Silks building, designed by Morris Lapidus, as demolition was about to begin in March, left, and earlier this week, right.

Bid to landmark quirky retail building is rejected

On Tues., May 17, the Landmarks Preservation Commission denied a motion, by a vote of 9-1, to grant landmark status to a building that was most recently home to Odd Job Trading at 36 E. 14th St. at University Pl. Commonly referred to as the Paterson Silks building, it was built around 1949.

Designed by Morris Lapidus, it started life as the home of Crawford Clothes. The building was noted for several elements; a brick face on its University Pl. wall and upright panels on the 14th St. side, but the most notable was a three-story glassed-in staircase on the corner.

In the 1970s, Crawford Clothes yielded to Paterson Silks with its distinctive, multicolored panels that lined the windows. In 1998, Paterson Silks moved Downtown and a branch of the Odd Job Trading discount store moved in. Several years ago, Odd Job reorganized as Amazing Savings but closed soon afterwards.

Last year, the building was bought by a new owner. It stood untouched until March 2, 2005, when scaffolding was suddenly erected. Within a week, the distinctive glass staircase had been disassembled. Preservationists demanded a stop-work order and the restoration of the staircase. Work stopped, but on May 17, LPC declined a motion to grant landmark status, on the basis that demolition had already started. A published report and a sign on the building’s construction scaffolding says a Bank of America branch will be the new tenant when work is completed.

Jefferson Siegel

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