Years ago, shortly after I moved to New York, I lost my wallet in a taxi and it wound up here, at 1845 Broadway. The woman who got into the taxi after me had sat upon the wallet, looked me up in the phone book, called me (an example of the kind of New York good samaritanism that I’ve found is not uncommon) and arranged for me to pick it up at the ballroom dance studio where she was attending classes, on the second floor of this building. The ballroom studio closed a couple of years ago (evidently the owners are now having trouble renting the space, as evidenced by the realty sign, which has been up for some time), but the building has remained – a curious survivor from the 19th century, in a neighborhood that has succeeded in obliterating almost every trace of its architectural past [the building to the immediate left, 1841 Broadway, is another Columbus Circle anachronism – it once housed Atlantic Records].
Although 1845 Broadway is clearly not in the best of shape, its design – particularly the gables on the top story and the symmetry between the left and right sides – has always interested me. I also am curious to know more about its history. Exactly how old is it? Given that Columbus Circle was a theatrical and entertainment center (sort of a northern extension of Times Square) up through the middle years of the 20th century, prior to the construction of the massive Coliseum complex (which, of course, is now gone as well, replaced by the Time Warner Center), was this particular building ever used for theatrical purposes? Beyond the ballroom dance studio, what else has been housed here? Are there any old photos that might indicate how the structure’s design has been modified over the years?
I’d love to know if any readers have more information about 1845 Broadway. In the meantime, I’ll see what I can dig up this week.