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

orchard-night-chinatown-soup
Chinatown Beatdown: Canal Street Brawl Sparked Saturday Night [VIDEO]

WTF is going on at Chinatown Soup? We thought this was an “arts space for the neighborhood,” not a breeding ground for violence. For the second time in as many weeks, we hear about another troublesome occurrence near the gallery-events space. Last Friday night, a birthday party turned into mayhem after rumors circulated that rapper Theophilous […]

250south-video-rendering
Extell Releases Bonkers Video Showing 80-Story Tower in LES Skyline [VIDEO]

What’s better than an architectural rendering of a Lower East Side eyesore? An animation of the changed skyline, of course. That’s precisely what Extell Development Corporation has assembled to extoll the virtues of its One Manhattan Square development, and the lesser-pimped affordable building adjacent. Take a look at the edited drone visualization, which illustrates the sheer […]

rivington-house
‘Restore the Deed, Restore Rivington House,’ Locals Demand with Press Conference

Armed with the grammatically correct slogan, “More care, fewer condos,” locals continue to rally (and rail) against the de Blasio Administration for its mishandling of the Rivington House boondoggle. It just seems like every week there’s another headline about how one of the Mayor’s top advisors possessed secret knowledge of the controversial deed lifting that […]

abc-no-rio-farewell
Exile on Rivington Street: ABC No Rio Closes After Final Show, Demolition Imminent

Tonight the people were so fine They waited there in line And when they got up on their feet They made the show And that was sweet But I can hear the sound Of slamming doors and folding chairs And that’s a sound they’ll never know -Jackson Browne, “The Load Out” That’s all, folks. ABC […]

thor-vandal
Atop the Hotel on Rivington, Street Art Takes Hold

It’s not just nightlife tune-ups, the Hotel on Rivington is seemingly trying to reinvent itself. Last month, we noted the nightlife reboot on premise. The Shanghai-themed lounge, Jia (formerly Viktor & Spoils), and an as-yet-unnamed Mediterranean restaurant in the adjacent space. Both are by the collective hand of Roberto Buchelli (Beautique, Provocateur) and Corey Lane (partner […]

  • 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?