The southeast corner of Broadway and 85th Street is being readied for demolition, the latest two-story building on the avenue to face the wrecking ball. Michael Tempel took the photo below in December 2018 after the bank and Price Wise Discount vacated. Workers are now doing asbestos abatement that could last until next year before demolition begins, Tempel says.
He also took two photos of the site decades ago, showing what used to be there.
The first one is from August 1983.
Tempel explained what’s in the photo. “There’s a small luncheonette at the corner and Szechuan Taste which was a pretty good restaurant, midblock. In between is Morris Brothers, a clothing store that had been on the Upper West Side for decades. At first glance the signs in the window look like an all-too-common going out of business notice. But look closer. What’s happening is that the store is moving to the other end of the block at 84th Street, to the space currently occupied by Game Stop and Books of Wonder. Morris Brothers eventually did close some years after that move…I don’t remember exactly when.”
The next one is from February 1985.
“The renovation in progress when this photo was taken created Ancora, an Italian restaurant. The structure on the roof that you see in the photo from last December was under construction then. It had windows on both sides, and the section of roof below it was removed so it formed a skylight above the second floor dining area below. The restaurant featured a wood-burning pizza oven on the first floor with its chimney extending up through the roof. There was a large street clock out front similar to one in Madison Square and the name Ancora was embedded in the sidewalk in brass letters.
Ancora was replaced by a Mexican restaurant. Eventually the corner was bankified and Price Wise moved into the rest of the space.
You can also see in this photo that a Love Discount store appears to have replaced the Szechuan restaurant. Actaully, the restaurant we see in the 1983 photo was divided in half with the discount store occupying one side, and the restaurant the other (to the right and not visible in this 1985 photo). The restaurant became Szechuan Broadway and remained for many years…not sure when it eventually closed.”
Do you remember those businesses? Let us know in the comments!
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