Documenting the Fall of Moscot’s Former HQ on Delancey Street [PHOTOS]

Posted on: May 9th, 2017 at 8:53 am by

Photo: Nick McManus

Neighborhood photographer Nick McManus sent us the following epithet (and instant photos) about the now-demolished Sol Moscot building at 118 Orchard Street (aka 86 Delancey).

During my lifelong tenure in New York City, the small, three story building at 118 Orchard Street has always had me looking up as if it were a skyscraper. Up until four years ago, it was the main store of legendary eyewear manufacturer Sol Moscot, and when the sunlight hit its latter-day yellow facade, I could never take me eyes off it. No matter what time of day it captured the brightness from above and spread it below from its northeast corner of Delancey Street like a lighthouse. I would cozy up next to it when I was bike messenger, pause my car before it when I was a movie driver, and rely on it to pick me up emotionally as I started a late blooming art career in my 30’s.

When Sol Moscot moved from that corner in the summer of 2013 after 77 years, I started documenting 118 Orchard Street as it awaited demolition. After that and till last summer it was the home of Wallplay Gallery which hosted many leading downtown artists and gave a two night send-off party last June where almost every inch of its inside and outside were graffitied over. The city erased all the graffiti in a mixup last December; the ominous green plywood went up in February. The razing took about two months and as of this week 118 Orchard Street is completely gone.

Photo: Nick McManus

While my heart sank to what was lost my eyes almost leapt out of my head when I drove past yesterday and I saw that the footprint left behind had been painted white and now reflected more light upon Delancey Street than ever before. Though the new glass-enclosed building to be built on the site over the next two years will also have light reflective qualities, it’ll be without the giant glasses that looked out over my growth in this city and watched me become the aesthetically inclined man that will remember it for all for the rest of his life.

Recent Stories

What You Missed at the ‘Uncapped’ SIGNS Group Show [Recap]

Have you ever walked by a fallen street sign plowed down by a car or ons swapped with fancier new models and thought, I really like that, and I’m taking it home. Luckily for a group of likedminded people, there is a collection of weathered or shiny, sparkling or grimy, flat surfaces to litter with the […]

Trees in East River Park Get the Axe Ahead of Resiliency Project

Timber! Monday was the first day of a new reality inside East River Park. From here on out, it won’t be the same; razed and rebuilt based on a controversial $1.45 billion resiliency plan. With much of the park sealed during the phased construction period – the whole capital project carries an estimated five-year completion […]

‘26Red’ Revives ‘90s Streetwear with Orchard Street Boutique

The nineties called, it wants its apparel brand back. Indeed, the recent resurgence of 26Red this year – revived from obscurity by owner John Bernard – has resulted in a new Lower East Side boutique. There is now a dedicated, 600 square-foot store at 145 Orchard Street in Hell Square. (Inside the former DaRucci leather […]

101 Delancey Street Sells for $10.4M

An anchor tenement on situated on Delancey Street within the orbit of Essex Crossing just changed hands. The pre-war “Karg Building” at 101 Delancey – with Popeyes and HSBC bank on the ground floor – is now under the ownership of investor Zack Hering of 33 Equities. His company spent $10.4 million on the transaction. […]

Armed Man in Wheelchair Fires Shots into Crowd on Madison Street

An armed man in a wheelchair allegedly fired shots into a crowd of people outside a Lower East Side bodega Friday night, police said. Leroy Mensah, 28, brandished a (stolen) 9mm gun outside the Stop 1 Deli on Madison Street and Rutgers Street shortly before 10:00pm on Friday. Officers on patrol reportedly chased down the […]