Documenting the Fall of Moscot’s Former HQ on Delancey Street [PHOTOS]

Posted on: May 9th, 2017 at 8:53 am by

Photo: Nick McManus

Neighborhood photographer Nick McManus sent us the following epithet (and instant photos) about the now-demolished Sol Moscot building at 118 Orchard Street (aka 86 Delancey).

During my lifelong tenure in New York City, the small, three story building at 118 Orchard Street has always had me looking up as if it were a skyscraper. Up until four years ago, it was the main store of legendary eyewear manufacturer Sol Moscot, and when the sunlight hit its latter-day yellow facade, I could never take me eyes off it. No matter what time of day it captured the brightness from above and spread it below from its northeast corner of Delancey Street like a lighthouse. I would cozy up next to it when I was bike messenger, pause my car before it when I was a movie driver, and rely on it to pick me up emotionally as I started a late blooming art career in my 30’s.

When Sol Moscot moved from that corner in the summer of 2013 after 77 years, I started documenting 118 Orchard Street as it awaited demolition. After that and till last summer it was the home of Wallplay Gallery which hosted many leading downtown artists and gave a two night send-off party last June where almost every inch of its inside and outside were graffitied over. The city erased all the graffiti in a mixup last December; the ominous green plywood went up in February. The razing took about two months and as of this week 118 Orchard Street is completely gone.

Photo: Nick McManus

While my heart sank to what was lost my eyes almost leapt out of my head when I drove past yesterday and I saw that the footprint left behind had been painted white and now reflected more light upon Delancey Street than ever before. Though the new glass-enclosed building to be built on the site over the next two years will also have light reflective qualities, it’ll be without the giant glasses that looked out over my growth in this city and watched me become the aesthetically inclined man that will remember it for all for the rest of his life.

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