How To Make Other Doors Jealous

Spotted next to the Queensboro Bridge: Boring building…


…Rock star door handles:


Sort of makes up for it.



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  1. I like how you just threw down your bike to take those photos. 😀

  2. Reminds me of the LS&A building in Ann Arbor, Michigan. ( I always thought the building was ugly, but I’ve gained new appreciation for it because of the interesting Deco details.

    • Gasp! Thats a gorgeous international style building. Nothing ugly about it. I hope this country doesn’t tear down all of its great modernist buildings before they realize what they have. I have seen to many times, these building being torn down and replaced with a faux-historic building. Thats just wrong. Not all modern buildings are worth saving just as not all historic buildings are worth saving. But this is a beautiful example. And a very nice photo.

  3. My husband took this picture of a great door in Tribeca on our way to dinner one night– so many hidden gems on big buildings downtown if one takes the time to look at the details…

  4. I seriously enjoy the blog, but the building is not ugly. Its a nice art deco meets international style building. it looks like it is missing a vertical sign. A little facelift could help certainly, but it has really nice bones. (imo) Thanks for sharing all the finds.

  5. This is a great modernist building, which might have lost some of its appeal when it had its original windows replaced?

  6. Could be the entrance to the Hall of Superheros.

  7. I like that building. It needs some TLC, but it’s got a nice shape. The door handles are, however, out-of-control awesome.

  8. Ok ok, I was too harsh – definitely not that bad, just doesn’t really excite me either.

  9. Yes, a great way to make other door jealous!

  10. I’m sure they was once a great logo or company name on the vertical portion near the door. It would great to find an old photo of this building in its heyday. The combination of unbroken brick surfaces and long bands of windows like that shows up in a lot of 1940s public housing projects around the country. That door is the jackpot!

  11. Agreed – this was probably a much less boring building before the windows were replaced.

  12. is the building a power company?

  13. I’m reasonably sure that’s the old Petrocelli Electric building, which would explain the design of the door handles. They used to have a sign on the flat “smokestack” at the top of the building. On top there was also a digital clock that rotated so you could see it from the Queensboro Plaza station or from the train as the old RR went down towards the tunnel. I remember seeing it every day as I went from Long Island City down to Union Square on my way to high school in the mid to late ’70s. I also have a vague recollection that there was a clock on either side of the flat part before the rotating version, but I’m not quite sure I’d trust those memories all that much.

    The point about the clocks is that it emphasized the “electrical-ness” of the company as well as how modern they were since at that time digital clocks were new and amazing, especially large public ones.

  14. If I am not mistaken, that is the old GrayBaR building. It is right next to the N/Q/W tracks. They moved out earlier this year, or last year – I forget when.

    GrayBaR is an electrical supplier.


  15. It was built in 1948 or so for the Broadway Maintenance Corporation (and electrical contracting firm). Freed & Gordon, architect. In a rendering of the project published in 1948, the firm’s name was shown in large letters on the vertical slab over the entry (no clock that I can see).

    Scout misses the money shot – if you back up towards 23rd Street (check it on Google Street Views), the southeast corner of the building has a lovely curve to it – very Art Moderne/International Style.

  16. Boring building? Hardly!

    Once, Queens Plaza (and surrounding areas) was the engine that drove NYC’s industrial might.

    There were dozens of research companies as well as television and radio manufacturers located there. Admiral, Polarad, etc., etc…

    Their R&D was also tightly connected to much bigger facilities in LI.

    This building, and others like it, were greatly influenced by the architectural aesthetic of the post-war era. This ideal was realized, in all it’s spectacular glory, by the Lever House building on Park avenue:

    Possibly the most beautiful building in the world.

    Well, for modernists such as myself at least.

    I know that architecture is a personal thing and I appreciate that. In my eyes, this building is a realization of a powerful time.

    It is absolutely gorgeous.

    Unfortunately, industry has left NYC and USA and now many of these buildings are converted into offices or condos.

    I personally try to keep a history of such buildings in this area (LIC, Astoria, Greenpoint, Sunnyside).

    There are many hidden gems. You wouldn’t believe!

  17. I’m not a big International Style fan, but those door handles are AWESOME!

  18. How can rectangular boxes be boring? In this case it appears the stone monolith from 2001 fell from the sky and sliced right into a few lesser rectangles just like a playing card thrown into a cuboid watermelon.