[The John Q. Aymar name on the facade was airbrushed out in yesterday's photo so as to not make Cornerspotter too easy.]
It didn't take long for Cornspotters to pick this one out the skyline-up of New York buildings. It's the John Q. Aymar Building at 270 8th Avenue, between 23rd and 24th Streets. The building, built in 1932, is remarkably unchanged after all this time, although it now sits camouflaged with exterior signage for commercial tenants affixed to its facade. Another change is the alteration of the street-level picture windows that beckoned shoppers in from the sidewalks. These have mostly been replaced with geometrically banded masonry that really minimizes shopper interaction from the stores' exteriors.
It's too bad that the changes have altered the building's tone from beckoning—"Come inside and see what else we have"—to demanding—"Come inside or you won't see what we have for sale"—because it's a rare building that has retained its two-story profile as the neighborhood has risen around it. A blurb in a 1989 issue of The New Yorker magazine appreciated the address:
The John Q. Aymar Building, at the corner of 23rd Street and Eight Avenue, radiates enormous pride. It's the sort of building you might see on Main Street in Anytown, U.S.A.: a two-story limestone affair, vaguely Deco with classical overtones, housing a a five-and-dime, a restaurant, and a few smaller shops on the ground floor, with offices upstairs. If this were Anytown, the Aymar Building would also sport a big American flag outside, because it would contain the local post office; it would look substantial, if not imposing, and would tell you at a glance that Mr. Aymar was the biggest deal in town. Only this is Manhattan, and the place looks like a peanut; and what sort of person, you wonder, as you double back down Eight Avenue in disbelief, would inscribe his name in such big, bold, classical letters on the side of a peanut? A person who's proud of building something on a human scale.It's actually unclear why John Q. Aymar's name is on the building. He appears to have been a prosperous merchant, and his 1833 painted portrait (along with his family), hangs in The Metropolitan Museum. Congrats to commenter CLA for being the first to identify where this week's Cornerspotter is located. And thanks for playing!
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