Why this Blog Exists

To make the case for expanding the Park Slope Historic District

Friday, October 17, 2008

5th Ave. Contrasts

Today, two perspectives on Park Slope's 5th Avenue.

At Garfield Place, these 19th-century buildings, with their narrow storefronts, house many "mom-and-pop"-style businesses. The buildings are multi-purpose, with commercial on the first floor and apartments above. We particularly like the quoins on the corner building.

5th Ave. at Garfield Place

Meanwhile a bit further south at 10th Street we find an entirely different kind of building. This one, built within the past few years, houses a national chain store. It is entirely commercial; i.e. no apartments above. Except for a parking lot, this "little box" store is identical to those found in suburban strip malls anywhere in America:

5th Avenue at 10th Street

These pictures starkly highlight how physical buildings themselves can foster (or suppress) a particular business climate. Which structures are welcoming, which encourage strolling, lingering, and window-shopping? Which structure says, get what you need and then get out of here? Which corner has a unique "sense of place"?

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