West 12th Street: Then and Now
The view above looking west on West 12th Street from Eighth Avenue taken in 1929 shows how the northern end of Abingdon Square has changed over the years. Though the five-story building on the right at the corner of West 12th and Eighth Avenue remains today (and houses Spyros Food Mart on the ground floor), the rest of the block now houses a large residential building at 299 West 12th Street.
The construction of 299 West 12th Street would begin shortly after this photo was taken, and would be overseen by noted architect Emery Roth and real estate developers Bing & Bing. To find out some more about what 299 West 12th Street replaced (the row of houses in the photo above), we can look to the original Greenwich Village Historic District designation report, which describes the unique iron porches which can be made out in the photo:
‘The entrance doorways were approached by common stoops and were paired under attractive cast iron porches which had elaborate lacy ornament. Creating a remarkable effect of unity and continuity were the iron balconies between the porches which also had attractive ornamental railings and metal roofs like those of the entrance porches. Long drawing room windows opened onto these intermediate balconies at first floor level. The houses had rusticated stone basements and were three stories high with low attics. They were late Greek Revival in style and remained standing until 1929, when they were razed to make way for the new building which now occupies the entire site.’
Also visible in the 1929 photo is the northern edge of Abingdon Square Park (to the left). You can read more about the history of Abingdon Square Park in a previous Off the Grid post.