I like looking down this stretch of Broome Street in Soho, mostly because of the towering baroque skyscraper (487 Broadway) that you see in the back there. Built in 1895, it was a cutting-edge building known as the Silk Exchange due to the high number of powerful silk merchants that worked there.Not long after in 1899, it was purchased by “The Western Millionaire” James B. Haggin, a duderancher who made himself big money developing Western mines and breeding horses. Haggin paid $850,000 for the whole building, and henceforth it became known as the Haggin Building. Here’s an old school photo taken from not long after its construction…Amazingly, not much has changed!
I spied a fish out of water on East 5th Street this morning. It was a Citroen DS. Lovingly referred to as the ‘goddess,’ it was first introduced in 1955 at the Paris Motor Show and must have been at least part of Hanna-Barbera’s inspiration for The Jetson’s which didn’t air until 1962. Somehow, this 1972 version has managed to make it a full 41 years after being one of only 38,000 to hit these shores out of 1.5 million produced worldwide in their 20 year run. The DS was incredibly innovative in that it used a full hydraulic system to run everything from the power steering to its clutch.It also sported the hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension system introduced the year before on its big brother, Citroen’s Traction Avant. That’s why when these babies are parked, they look like someone chopped a foot out at the knees. Don’t let that droopy look fool you, though. The Citroen DS took home 1st at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1959 and 1966 as well as a 1962 victory at the 1000 Lakes Rally. Automobile Magazine put it at #5 of the coolest cars of all time and it ranked as the most beautiful car ever by a renowned panel of judges at Classic & Sports Car magazine. This one is pretty banged up, but I’ve seen it parked around the East Village for a while now. I love its guppy-like design features and how it so seamlessly blends in and contrasts with the turn of the century tenements of Alphabet City. These Citroens were considered to be some of the most luxurious executive cars of the time, so if any of you know who owns this one, please let them know that Jesse and Greg want a ride. Maybe we can muster up a donation for them to take us to the First Annual On The Real Gala we’re planning to hold at Donald Trump’s mecca of gold and poo on the Fifth of Never! Here’s to you, Old Frenchman. We love having you in the neighborhood.
If you ride a bike over the East River in between the chosen boroughs, the Manhattan Bridge is a far easier and less treacherous passage than the Brooklyn Bridge where you are pretty much guaranteed to plow into (or nearly do) some unsuspecting camera wielding vacationer from Waxahachi. Also, you get a great view through the chain link fence of the graffiti on the rooftops of the Lower East Side!