Longacre Square is often regarded as the “crossroads of the world”.
When the New York Times arrived in 1904,
it was renamed “Times Square” in the newspaper’s honor.
By the mid-1990’s, Mayor Rudy Giuliani launched a full scale assault on the area, transforming a gritty, urban commons rife with prostitutes and drugs into a cleaned-up and Disneyfied theme park.
But back in the mid-1970’s when I was the doorman at Sardi’s, Times Square was littered with flophouses like this.
350 West 52nd street was built in 1920, a little 2500 square foot, industrial four story.
Gatti and Lopez were masonry contractors, and it speaks volumes that a concrete business could have been located in such a tourist mecca today.
Gatti senior was an immigrant from Italy, but his son Joseph had other ideas about a career.
He tried his hand in concrete for awhile, but turned to money management until he passed away in 2008.
Since then the building, laced with asbestos and lead paint, has been abandoned.
Another bit of old New York is about to disappear.