New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, August 23, 2010

Just Around the Corner

Nooks and crannies are not only the obsession of urban jungle lovers and explorers. They are also big business - Thomas' has built a $500 million dollar business around the famed nooks and crannies of their English muffins. Chris Botticella is one of only seven people who knows the entire secret process to produce the legendary muffins with signature air pockets marketed as "nooks and crannies."*

Finding nooks and crannies in a city like New York is just as delightful as a Thomas' English muffin. However, unlike the muffin which can be found in any grocer, special pockets of the city are much harder to locate. I have explored many of these on this website.

The financial district is the oldest area of New York City, and remnants of Nieuw Amsterdam still exist amid the towering structures. In tandem with the areas, extremely narrow streets create a uniquely cavernous feel. The area is largely overlooked by visitors and residents, excepting for the more obvious spots such as South Street Seaport, Ground Zero and Battery Park.

It is remarkable that places like Mill Lane and Stone Street were completely unknown to me until Sunday, while combing the streets of the financial district in the rain. Temporary scaffolding on Mill Lane provided the necessary shelter and an opportunity to see a bit of this historic area in a deserted state. Mill Lane is one of the shortest alleys in New York City. It lies between South William and Stone Streets.

I love turning a corner to a pleasant vista like coming around a hairpin turn on a mountain precipice that opens to a jaw-dropping panorama. Looking around the corner at Stone Street from Mill Lane was a throwback in time. The restored street is a beauty, what the New York Times called "Turning an Alley into a Jewel."

Stone Street was originally known as Brewers Street by the early Dutch settlers. In 1655, when the street was paved with cobblestone, it became known as Stone Street. In the 1980s, the street was divided to make way for the Goldman Sachs building. The short historic block, "a back alley filled with graffiti, a garbage pit; used for low-level drug dealing", was completely restored with redone buildings, New York bluestone sidewalks, new Deer Isle granite paving blocks, and period street lights. Most of the buildings date to 1836, rebuilt following a fire in 1836. In 1996, the eastern portion of the street and surrounding buildings became protected by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as the Stone Street Historic District. It is pedestrian-only.

I look forward to going back in better weather. I recommend taking a stroll down the narrow streets of the area, exploring the nooks and crannies, and looking for that surprise just around the corner :)

*Thomas' was purchased by Bimbo Bakeries USA in 2009. In January 2010, Botticella left the company to work for Hostess Brands, who had been trying to learn the secrets of Thomas' muffins. Bimbo, however, was successful in getting a court order barring Botticella from taking the new position. See the article here.


MHJ said...

I love the blog. I have been very interested in all things NYC since visiting the city last September for the first time. I think I have a picture of Stone St. from the same vantage point as yours. We found this spot and had a couple of pints while walking downtown for the day, after doing the circle-line cruise and then walking through downtown and Battery Park in the afternoon.

this too will pass said...

great stuff

Randy said...

Nice photos. Interesting post, I love Bimbo!

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you didn't know about this. It's a place i take guest in town for lunch because it hasn't been discovered by any tourists.

Annie said...

yes, wished I'd known about it too. Took my sister to the financial district briefly when she was visiting. Loved the look on her face when we emerged out of the of instant recognition.
Always far to much to see in NYC for tourists on limited time!

re the guessing game in the previous post...I wasn't aware that a word processor would do much more than correct spelling. Do they correct your grammar and sentence construction too? Shows just how much I know about them!!

But it did prove my hunch that by engaging readers in the story and asking a question, you did indeed mostly more than double the number of commenters on your post!! t least by a quick check of posts from this first page!

btw, I can't really for the life of me, figure out the question mark on the butterfly, unless it is in the placement of the spots? But thanks for the reference... interesting to see the caterpillar and the eggs!

MHJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MHJ said...

Just checked our NYC pictures. we were at the Stone St tavern, which I can see up on the left. So I was facing Goldman Sachs while having a beer. I had thought yesterday that it was behind me :)

Ron said...

Awesome photos of an awesome area in NYC. It looks like a movie set! My first year in NY, I live close to the financial district, but this area was totally unknown to me. Thanks for sharing!

Leah Sian Photography said...

Your blog is fascinating - keep up the good work!

galimatías said...

......que recuerdos me trae todo esto, enhorabuena por las fotos!