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The Starrett-Lehigh Building Spotlight

A few great things about having a friend living in New York City are, in random order: discovering eateries without the tourist crowd, staying in the know on good/bad/ending-soon museum exhibitions, having someone to re-teach you the subway system, having someone to re-explain the neighborhoods and which one you are standing in at the moment (“Is there a Midtown North?” “Oh, wait, that’s a Park”), knowing which antique market to visit on which Sunday, and avoiding the tourist crowds altogether (but not the lines… still have to wait in the lines)… and more recently, sending me informational tid-bits on amazing historical NYC architecture!

So my good friend, Megan, an architect & lighting designer, was recently meeting with a consulting architecture firm in the Starrett-Lehigh building at 601 West 26th Street (that’s in Chelsea! Points!) and sent me this photo of a plaque explaining the history of this wonderful structure.

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The Starrett-Lehigh was a joint project between the Starrett Investment Corp and the Lehigh Valley Railroad, to maximize the efficiency of distribution of goods via freight trucks driving in and out of the city from the west side car float pier.  An interior system of large freight elevators carried the load trucks from the pier up through the building to a loading dock at each floor. A Highly innovative design for the 1930’s, the building’s façade is a curtain wall (takes no structural load) with continuous glass and brick horizontal striping.

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Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Photo by Marc Zahakos

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Photos below are from the website, http://www.starrett-lehigh.com/, where you can get more information on this now-adapted building, fitted out for various office, retail, and studio tenants. The site is extremely informative and gives facts about the building, including that the ceiling height is at 13 feet per floor, and that is it rumored a giraffe was photographed in the building.

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Today, the adapted freight elevators carry adapted trucks – food trucks – to the tenants of the building for a quick coffee & lunch.

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Thanks, Megan, for telling me about this amazing building… Next time I’m in the city, we’ll have to chase down some of those food trucks! Yum!

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