New York Daily Photo Analytics

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Met Lumber

Visitors frequently ask where essential services like gas stations or lumber yards are located in New York City. Many of these businesses have relatively unassuming presences and are not readily noticed, especially with the distractions of so many other city stimuli. But shoe repair shops, laundromats, grocery stores, gas stations, auto repair shops, hardware stores, and locksmiths do exist, tucked away here and there
Many, however, are disappearing. Operating costs, particularly rents, have soared to levels making it extraordinarily difficult for all but the well-heeled or chain store to survive. In some cases, ownership of the building by the business owner gives lifetime protection from the slings and arrows of a gentrifying environment. Not so long ago there were 4 lumber yards in the SoHo and neighboring Village areas. Now only Met Lumber remains.
Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware owns and occupies an entire stone building at 175 Spring Street. The building, with its colorful exterior graphic, was previously a power generating plant. Met Lumber is a well stocked, full service operation with cutting facilities. Keep in mind if you patronize a place like this, you may be subjected to a New York style reception. Regular customers/contractors are steady, larger buyers and typically know exactly what they want. But there are many do-it-yourselfers who are unknowledgeable. The volume of these customers, combined with the barrage of questions and time needed to educate the customer in a busy operation, makes a rough retail environment. Unlike chain stores, many with poorly trained employees and high turn over, Met Lumber has a staff of seasoned people who know their stuff. But, they have been taking a beating for many years ...

4 comments:

Litsa Dremousis said...

The mural almost has a Keith Haring vibe. Great shot, sad story; both depicted beautifully.

• Eliane • said...

I nearly chocked when I saw this picture on the portal: but, it is my picture! Which it is not, of course. I just happen to take this same façade in picturea few weeks ago and since then, it is "my" building. Amazing how we can appropriate sites and buildings and make them our own.
I love that mural and agree with litsa - it has that little vibe.

babooshka said...

It's a wonderful mural. Art can be found in the oddest places.

Lily Hydrangea said...

I used to go there all the time! I actually forgot all about it. I'll have to make sure I walk by there the next time I'm downtown. I can't believe it's still around. That's cool.