Commenters were quick to guess that the picture above depicts a so-called taxpayer, a style of building that, according to Old House, evolved out of a land investor's need to pay property taxes on the lot as they awaited an offer from other developers. The structures were often quickly and haphazardly constructed, and rented to retail, which would help investors pay taxes on the land. Taxpayer buildings became popular in hard-to-reach destinations, areas not yet serviced by public transportation, where land prices would increase dramatically when access became more streamlined.
The particular taxpayer pictured above was found at the northwest corner of Burnisde and Grand avenues in the Morris Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. Coincidentally, the health center that stands in its place today also has a curved facade, although it's unlikely that the structure is original.
· Hint: Many Retail Stores Once Called This Building Home [Curbed]
· Cornerspotter archives [Curbed]