That New York Walk – Thursday Doors

The Molly Wee Pub

When I described the “first last” meeting I attended in New York, I briefly mentioned attending a technology event at The Javits Center. I love that building, and since my train usually arrives in New York well before the show opens, there is always time to drop my bags at the hotel and walk to the Javits Center. I take a slightly different route every year, which gives me the opportunity to snag pictures of a few new doors. Of course, after I’ve seen everything there is to see at the show, I stop for lunch at The Molly Wee Pub. I know you’ve seen those doors before, but I can’t resist.

My friend Sharukh recently asked me if I wait until there are no people around before taking a picture of a door. I do try to get the doors without people, but in New York, that is often a fruitless adventure, when in that city you take what you can get.

Most of the doors are just random interesting doors, but as things are settling down, I had time to look up a couple of them and I found some interesting tidbits.

One of the photos is the back entrance to the Helmsley Building. This building started out as the New York Central Building – designed in 1913 and completed in 1929. The following is from the building’s website:

“Before the electrification of the New York Central Railroad in 1912–1913, the neighborhood north of Grand Central Terminal was one of open-air railway yards and tracks used by steam locomotives. The electrification and subsequent covering of the yards enabled the continuation of Park Avenue to the north and the construction of new buildings.

In 1913, New York Central unveiled a concept for a visual termination point in the city. Although the original plan was to have this termination point be over New York Central’s Grand Central Terminal, the concept was instead realized in the form of The New York Central Building just across the street to the north. The New York Central Railroad Company built their 34-story headquarters at 230 Park Avenue in 1929.”

If you were to follow the link in the earlier paragraph about “taking what you can get,” you would find an earlier post of mine with rules for photography in New York. One of them calls attention to the fact that you never know what history might be associated with a building. While Leona Helmsely certainly was a colorful character and frequently in the news (the Editor reminded me that ‘The Queen of Mean’ even owned a local hotel in nearby Enfield, CT), if you go back several decades, there is also this:

“On September 10, 1931, capo di tutti capi Salvatore Maranzano was murdered in his ninth-floor office here by hitmen sent by Lucky Luciano and Vito Genovese, ambitious underlings whom Maranzano had hired Vincent “Mad Dog” Coll to kill.”

Also in the gallery are doors to a few theaters near Times Square. These are currently Shubert Theaters, but they weren’t always. I found two that had interesting stories. Again, I’ve borrowed some information from the Shubert websites:

“The Lyceum is Broadway’s oldest continually operating legitimate theatre. Built by producer-manager David Frohman in 1903, it was purchased in 1940 by a conglomerate of producers which included George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. In 1950, the Shuberts took ownership of the theatre, and have operated it ever since…

…When it opened, the theatre featured a state-of-the-art ventilation system: the auditorium was kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter as air was passed over either ice chambers or steam coils on its way into the theatre.”

Nearby, is the Booth Theater. I was attracted to this theater because of the corner door, but it actually has a bit more interesting history:

“Lee Shubert built the Booth Theatre in partnership with the producer Winthrop Ames. Named for the actor Edwin Booth (1833-1893), brother to the infamous John Wilkes Booth, the venue was actually the second New York theatre to bear this name. The first was built by Booth himself in 1869 on 23rd Street and 6th Avenue. Ames’s father had been devoted to preserving the actor’s legacy, so Winthrop’s decision to name this theatre after Booth honored not only the actor, but connected his own family’s interest with the actor’s rich theatrical history.”


This post is part of the fun weekly series hosted by Norman Frampton. If you want to join us in the celebration of doors-as-art around the world, head up to Norm’s place. Check out his doors and then look for the blue frog. Click on that tadpole and prepare to be amazed as you enter the gallery of doors.

83 thoughts on “That New York Walk – Thursday Doors

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  1. You know, if ever I would get to New York, as it has never been high on my want to list, there are 3 major places I would want to see. Manhattan, Broadway with its theaters, and the Library. Librties are like churches to me. As always, great photos and history notes, Dan. Thanks for the tour.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The main branch of the library is one of my favorite places. I love just walking around the city. When Faith was younger, we did a series of day-trips, usually hitting one site or museum each time, and then walking around the rest of the time. There’s just so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “The things you can’t see are scarier than the things you can.”
    I like that, though I don’t know how effective it is as an ad. I thought the building was called The Hater Building. I didn’t understand and I had to read the name twice. I like the blue shade on the road outside the theater with Kerry Washington poster. And what is it that cranks the chaos up to 11 in the Lyceum Theater? Some of the writing is obscured by the buses. Anyway, really nice places you captured in the photos. You guys have some superb-looking places over there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Peter – “The Play that Goes Wrong” is currently on stage at the Lyceum. I don’t know much about it. I also had to zoom in to find that it wasn’t the Hater Building. That used to be a bank. It grew into one of the largest banks (by deposits held) until the 80s when banks were deregulated here. That caused our banking system to compete itself from hundreds of favorite regional brands into a small handful of greedy national institutions that nobody really likes. I worked as a banking consultant during the run-up to that period and it was awful. the building has been bought and sold several times since then.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks GP – The Molly Wee always makes me smile and not just because of the beer. I almost always meet someone and have an interesting conversation while there. It could happen in any NY bar, but that’s mine. It’s such a nice break from the crowds.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your photos of NYC look exactly how I remember NYC looking. Huge buildings jumbled together with smaller unique buildings along long streets that all looked about the same to me. Nice photos, relatively people-less which is quite a feat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ally. It seems you can have less people, after the morning crush, but then the streets are filled with delivery trucks. It’s always fun to walk around, though. I love the little buildings that are sandwiched in between 30 and 40 story buildings, but look like they belong there.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dan, next life you must be either a history teacher or a historian. Incredible post which gave me information (again) I did not know. Thank you for the tour. I really enjoyed it and so appreciate the time it took to put this post together. I’ve been to NYC once and did not like it. Yet I really am grateful for your history lesson. Thanks, Dan! 💝

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Molly Wee Pub is a knock-out of a building. Love the trim over the windows. I thought the sign said HATER building until I read your caption! The Lyceum Theatre is an amazing architectural feat. All the doors are special. And I do like that pink hippo on the party truck!! Nice way for me to tour NYC.
    🔹 Ginger 🔹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ginger. I thought it was Hater as well, until I started digging into the history. It’s so hard to tell from a photo of the carved letters. I’m glad you like the Molly Wee because i will probably be in every NYC post I ever write ;-)

      And the hippo? Seriously, who can resist a big hippo butt?

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  6. Can’t go past the back end of a hippo, Dan. There are some fantastic places you’ve captured here Dan and the excitement of Broadway, which has strong appeal to our family with my daughter’s involvement in the performing arts. One of her dance teachers played Billy Elliott on Broadway and lives over there now. Broadway was almost an place of fiction for me. Somewhere that existed in the movies. I haven’t been to the States but would love to see a few shows there.
    At the same time, can’t go past the Molly Wee Pub.
    Hope you’ve had a great week. It’s dance and violin concert weekend here. I’ve actually been practicing like crazy and hope to keep it up. It’s so obvious but I sound so much better!
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Rowena. I’m glad you liked this eclectic mix from bars to hippos. I’ve been to plays in NY and to road shows by touring companies. I think the location in hte city adds a measure of excitement that is hard to duplicate. Once inside, they are all good, but before and after, NYC has it by a mile.

      The Molly Wee is my happy place.

      Good luck with the dance and concert! I’ll be over to your place before too long.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Dan. I know what you mean about the excitement of going into the city to see something and you get all dress up and you’re in the thick of it. Sydney also has that buzz and I really enjoyed attending a piano concert at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music recently. We were also invited to the reception afterwards, which really ramped things up another notch. I don’t get to the Sydney Opera House very often but we went two years ago when our daughter was playing her violin in a school ensemble. They hold these huge primary school recorder concerts there but they also have a small group of string players and the repertoire was quite demanding as she’d only been learning a year. It was amazing going there although I couldn’t actually see her playing.
        I don’t know whether you’ve read a post I wrote about Silent Night but I think you’d enjoy it. This Christmas Eve marks the 200th Anniversary.
        My biggest concern with all these performances is the organizational side of things and making sure everyone’s in the right place at the right time. I need to be an Event Manager. Poet doesn’t cut the mustard.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ll have to look for that post (unless you care to rerun it for your new fans). Managing events, big or small, is a huge undertaking. If it goes well, it looks like nothing – it’s just what you expect to see. If something goes wrong, it’s chaos.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Nice pics and history Dan. And nice coincidence. This morning I was online buying tickets for the Lion King… next August event here at the Cleveland Playhouse Square. Even though this is just Cleveland the commotion was similar. The ticket purchase site is on a timer. So there was an automatic time out. I bought the tickets for the play and then it was okay where is the buy parking tickets ? Like all good intuitive web sites it was there – just not quite a straight path. The good news with this is the event means we get to spend some time with the three oldest granddaughters. Free commotion included. We will be competing with events surrounding the Allen County Fair. So they will get to dash into town and back out of town. Never a dull moment.

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    1. It sounds like you are going to have a busy time and a fun time ahead in August, John. Good for you for planning ahead and snagging the tickets. And parking? I would have never thought about parking.

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      1. It is one of those plan ahead or forget it. Both the show schedule/ tickets and the girls calendars fill up quick. The oldest two were up her for Hamilton this summer. Tickets sold out quick and not surprisingly their schedules were no less busy. The oldest two are now counselors at 4 H summer camp. There is always something on their calendar. The Christmas band concert is coming up soon. Road trip to Lima.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. It’s such an eclectic mix of doors as you walk around. Funny how I always seem to end at the Molly Wee, but it’s a nice break. The food trucks were just setting p as I walked past. Good thing because some are hard to walk by.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Leona Helmsely

    You know….. at your tax evasion trial, you really don’t want the jury to hear you being quoted as saying, “We don’t pay taxes; only the little people pay taxes”.

    After she got out of prison, she hung out with Imelda Marcos and the Noriega family. Like who else would hang out with her?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. LOL — a moving door is still a door. I got a kick out of the pink hippo!
    No wonder you like the Molly Wee Pub so much. What a lovely building.
    As for the one with “a lot going on” I like all of it too. What’s not to like? Color, and swirly shapes. Yes.
    Have a thriving Thursday. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Teagan. When I first saw the Molly Wee about 20 years ago, I thought, “I have got to go in there.” I’ve been going ever since. The hippos is just so cool. I’m glad you like these. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love your pub and hey, every post should included a pink hippo shouldn’t it?
    Having been around there a few times I can almost feel the energy that pulses through the theater district coming through these pics..
    This post is a good cross section of NYC – nicely done Dan :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Norm. In the past, I’ve always tried to organize them by subject. This time I thought I’d just choose them from the walk. There is an energy in the city that you can feel. It’s like no other place I know.

      Like

  11. Another great collection for #ThursdayDoors! I really love the busy one as you do, caught my eye before I even opened the gallery! Really nice find on the corner curve, too. And who doesn’t love a hippo at Christmastime?
    I had forgotten all about The Queen of Mean until I read Helmsley building!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I couldn’t resist the hippo. I had forgotten that they called her the Queen of Mean, and that she owned a nearby hotel. I also forgot her comment about how “only poor people pay taxes.” Nice lady 🙁

      Liked by 1 person

  12. The Lyceum is simply gorgeous. And who doesn’t love round buildings with a door. I wonder if there are actually rounded doors on any buildings with rounded corners. When I Googled, I only came up with a link to the Pennsylvania Architectural Field Guide. I need to look into this. Why do I think Norm had some in Italy…hmm. Wonderful post, Dan. New York has so much history and beautiful architecture, including doors.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have a good memory, Jennie. Norm showed us a building with round doors on a round corner. I found round doors in the historic club in Washington, DC. I studied them for a bit to try and understand the construction. Thanks for the visit.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you, Dan! I thought Norm had shown us one. I’ll have to go back to your DC post and the historic club. It was a good one! I’m intrigued that Philadelphia came up in Google, but not surprised. That’s another “world” of doors!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Oooo, the curved one would be perfect! Yes, Philly has amazing doors. When my husband and I left Carpenters Hall and looked across the street at the gorgeous skinny old stone bank and it’s striking doorway (now a museum), we had to see it for ourselves. That was the beginning of Milly and quilting. So, I always say if a door strikes you, follow it. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  13. Not sure if I will ever visit NYC in my lifetime but I have no regrets because I have toured it virtually in many different ways and one of it is through your blog posts. I’m very good at remembering the places so cities like Chicago, San Francisco, even Atlanta and Miami (that are so common in movies) I can spot them quickly. Thank you for one more round of NY trip, Dan. The pictures are excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

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