The forlorn stack of cast iron at 74 Grand Street is facing its final days. Now the upper floor is gone and bricks that formed the rear wall are in a growing pile on Wooster Street. Before the tilting tower started to come down, crews carefully cataloged the cast iron, numbering each piece so the facade can be stored and reassembled, as ordered by the Landmarks Preservation Commission. Over 100 sections of classically-inspired columns, lintels, crowns and pediments make up this mix-and-match facade, designed by architect George DaCunha and built in 1886. It stood proud until the overly-eager owner of the neighboring lot, shoe king and Soho developer Eddie Omari, started digging a few years back.
That excavation at the corner of Grand and Wooster eventually undermined the foundation at 74 Grand, causing it to tilt to the west. The inhabitants were forced into the streets, lawyers jumped into action and the fight has dragged on for years. The tilting increased, leading to the determination that the entire five floors had to be completely dismantled and demolished lest it come crashing down. Over the past year there were concerns that the one-story neighbor to the east at 76 Grand (best known as a Deitch Projects gallery) might need to come down as well. But internal bracing to shore that one up has been approved, and it looks like the little guy will survive the mayhem.
· 74 Grand Street coverage [Curbed]