Under the Floorboards at Long-Vacant East Houston Lot
Bereft of substantial activity in nearly two decades, the long-vacant parcel at 49 East Houston Street is in deterioration overdrive.
An eagle-eyed tipster notes that the floorboards atop the existing foundation are now busted. Creating a pseudo entryway into the cellar level.
Before its demise fourteen years ago, 49 East Houston had been a one-story structure built in the 19th century, and later owned by Steve Stollman. In this storefront, the owner sold bars and classic automat machines. But the space also doubled as a haven for bicycle activists – Time’s Up and Critical Mass.
Stollman sold the building back in 2008, and in came the wrecking ball. He netted $5.5 million from telecom entrepreneur Michael Hirtenstein and then-partner restaurateur Sean Largotta. The economic meltdown hit that year, and the investors started suing each other.
The space received renewed interest in 2017, when Stollman erected a tribute to a host of historical figures with connection to the area, including Nikola Tesla (lab was across the street), Mark, Twain, and Teddy Roosevelt.
Then last spring, neighboring Botanica Bar briefly considered occupying the spot as an outdoor dining annex. But those plan didn’t stick.