Looking Inside the Allen Street Elevated Public Restrooms at Delancey

Posted on: January 2nd, 2013 at 11:23 am by

allen-mall-graffiti-620x465

Walk north (ish) up Allen Street using the pedestrian mall. Once you hit Delancey, right smack in front of you will be a beautiful art deco building.

Built in the 1930s for the 2nd Ave El riders, these public restrooms have sat empty since the early 1950s. Now the city is trying to find a public community use for this and other defunct public restrooms around the Lower East Side.

That beaut’ used to sit under this:

[NYPL]

[Percy Loomis Sperr, 1927, NYPL]

[NYPL]

[Percy Loomis Sperr, NYPL]

And was up the street from this:

[NYPL]

[Percy Loomis Sperr, NYPL undated]

 And a block away from this:

[LOC]

[LOC Allen @ Stanton 1928]

[NYPL]

[NYPL]

Want to know what it looks like on the inside?

You already know I do, so I went, I saw, I photographed. And while I may have gotten stuck on the cast-iron railings (above) that still line the mall, ripped my favorite pair of jeans beyond repair, dropped my handy mini-mag-lite into a questionable pile of what appeared to be wet leaves, and left covered in mud – it was totally worth the trouble.

Here’s then:

[NYPL-Copyright-Delancey-Allen-Elevated-Train-1934]

[NYPL-Copyright-Delancey-Allen-Elevated-Train-1934]

Look to the right for some brick.

[Percy Loomis Sperr, 1942, NYPL]

[Percy Loomis Sperr, 1942, NYPL]

And without further ado – present day interior:

bboogie_3

photo 4 bboogie_2344

I have more, but need to stop here because that metal device was haunting me. Immediately seeing it I thought water strainer/wringer for towels or shirts that had gotten wet, but could find nothing that stated NYC equipped its public restrooms with such wringers.

Finally, I came across picture of a nearly-identical device; ergo, a wringer it is! Machinists be proud.  Check out some antique ones for sale here and if you get one, take a picture and send it in! ‘Cause I’m sure so many of you still wash your clothes by hand.

image_2

The stairs on the backside of the building lead to a lower level which can also be accessed by an additional staircase shown here from the interior:

gadfhfhse

Next up, a tile from the inside (see above) found its way out and is now in the collection of yours truly.

bboogie_2451

(There will be a post in the future showcasing my vast NYC artifact collection so keep your eyes peeled.)

Finally, Manhattan’s Borough President seal/variant flag of Manhattan adorning the top of the restroom.

bboogie_2349

The Latin Sigillum Civitatis Novi Eboraci = Seal of the City of New York

And it appears some wannabe graff artists gave the buildings some new features. Y’all know how I feel about spray paint and historic structures – at least have some talent. Nevertheless:

photo 2

photo 5

photo 1

There is a door that opens out made of metal blocking the original door that opens inward made of wood.

You can’t get into that bad boy through the doors no matter how hard one (not me) might try.

abs boogie

I hope they rehabilitate this space.

It would be a beautiful thing.

’til next time. Peace.

Recent Stories

bieber-billboard-1
Someone Shot Paintballs at Justin Bieber’s Calvin Klein Ad on East Houston

The brief respite from Justin Bieber’s bod (which may or may not be Photoshopped) in NoHo came to an end earlier this week. Calvin Klein hoisted the second in the series of ad banners at its token spot above East Houston, this after days of indecision. And the haters have apparently come out of the […]

The Lams of Ludlow Street, Photo: Thomas Holton
This Photographer Followed One Family on Ludlow Street for 12 Years

Photographer Thomas Holton didn’t grow up in Chinatown, but felt a strong connection to the neighborhood. His grandparents had lived there, and he always saw it as more than a tourist destination. While spending a few months in 2002 accompanying a housing advocate who worked in the area, Holton met the Lam family, a couple […]

pier35-2
Looking at the Lack of Substantial Progress at Pier 35 [PHOTOS]

2015 saw the deliverance of a mostly-complete East River Esplanade at Rutgers Slip. Exercise equipment, basketball courts, and bocce sandboxes were all unveiled a year ago. But not really for the adjacent pier, which was supposed have wrapped by now. The first concrete progress (pun intended) of the future Pier 35 is now visible, albeit […]

174rivington-bar
Art Lounge Debuts at 174 Rivington Street, Replacing Red Velvet

There is a new art-themed bar that soft-launched at 174 Rivington Street this week, thereby replacing Red Velvet. The newcomer took the address as its namesake. 174 Rivington Bar – opened by Luca Carucci and Joseph Peraino – is filling the shoes of a problem predecessor. Red Velvet previously held court here for nearly five […]

Photo: Two Bridges Tower
Pile Driving Efforts for Extell’s 72-Story Tower at 250 South Street in Full Swing; Neighbors Worried About Noise

The Extell Development Company is knee-deep in the pile driving phase of its monstrous two-tower development at 250 South Street (Sauron and Saruman?). It’s the beginning of what promises to to be years of riverside construction. Ever since materials and equipment were mobilized to the Pathmark-killing project site, the earthquake-style rumbling from pylon installation has been constant. […]

  • Sabina

    Very cool! Have often wondered about the inside of that.

  • Party Time!

    Why doesn’t the City use this space for as a public art gallery?