New Owners Whitewashing the Warhol Name on Historic Bldg.

Celebrated downtown artist Andy Warhol lived uptown at 1342 Lexington Ave. in the 1950s and 60s with his mother. She’s reputed to have bought the Campbell’s tomato soup cans that became one of Warhol’s most iconic paintings at the supermarket across the street. But now the name on the canopy at 1342 is being obscured.

| 13 Nov 2023 | 09:53

Andy doesn’t live here anymore–The address of 1342 Lexington Ave, one of five or six townhouse originally known as the Rhinelander Houses, was home to Andy Warhol and his mom in the late 50s to early 60s in the years Andy Warhol was making his name and gaining fame as the painter of that famous Campbell’s soup can. Word has it that his mom stocked up on the soup cans at the store located across from the house which was then a Finast supermarket. Today it’s a Gristedes. The current owners of 1342 have a maroon canopy at the entrance. On the side facing south on Lexington is the full townhouse address, 1342 Lexington. On the narrow section of the canopy that faces across Lexington Avenue only the number 1342 appears. Immediately below is/was printed “The Warhol.” However, “The Warhol” has been brushed over so as not to be seen. Well, I saw it. Actually, I had seen it before it got the brush over. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one and they let it be known, I’ll assume, with a cease and desist letter to the present owner.

A bark in the park–As part of Spectrum NY1’s In the Neighborhood Series, NY1 reporter Eric Feldman met with Community Board 8 chair Russell Squire. He asked Squire to choose a neighborhood in the CB 8 area which covers the UES and Roosevelt Island. Squire chose 91st St between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, known as James Cagney Plaza, which is a closed-to-traffic street and pedestrian plaza, and the location of Ruppert Park which now includes a dog run thanks to a collaboration between CB 8 and the NYC Parks Dept. Initially the Parks Dept. came before the board with a plan for a redesign of the park which did not include a dog run. In the course of community board meetings and public input, it was agreed that there was a need for a dog run. The Parks Dept. went back to the drawing board and redesigned the park to include a dog run, making people and pooches good neighbors.

The stretch of 91st St between 2nd and 3rd Avenues is also an example of government and community board collaboration for public benefit. When Carolyn Maloney represented the UES in Congress and Jim Clynes (now Judge Clynes) was chair of CB 8, their collaborative efforts made it possible to have the street closed to traffic and used as a public plaza and allows for safe travel for groups of children. The street now serves an extension of Ruppert Park. There are benches lining the street. And thanks to the efforts of CB 8’s David Rosenstein, there’s a Citi Bike station along the street. The street is also where CB 8 has an art exhibit each year.

Empty storefront solutions–Tearing down dining sheds has been tough on restaurant owners. The existing sheds–originally set to come down on Oct. 31 but and now have been granted a one-time reprieve until year end for this year only–afforded them the opportunity to make up for the loss of business due to the pandemic. And tearing them down is costly. But some restaurants have been able to tear down the sheds and take over empty abutting storefronts at what is probably a reduced rent. One is Yasouvlaki at 88th St. and 3rd Ave. They have a shed along 88th between 3rd Ave. and Lexington Ave. and are now expanding to an empty storefront in front of the shed. The storefront is separated from the main restaurant by a building. No matter. They’re doing it. The other is Siena on the same 3rd Avenue block, closer to 89th Street. Siena has taken over what was a nail salon. Hard to tell so far if they are just using it for storage. The door’s open and you can see chairs stacked up. Would be nice if they are going to be bringing in tables and waitstaff.

Where’s Papaya King?–Everyone heaved a sigh of relief when they heard that Papaya King wasn’t leaving Yorkville. They were relocating across the street. Hasn’t happened. For a time, there was activity making it appear that they were opening. Then there was a Marshal’s notice promising eviction. Another notice gave a breakdown of payment defaults. That all disappeared. Still no Papaya.