NYC Grocery shopping in a space with the grandeur of a cathedral

Sorry to write but this store is now closed. It was part of the A & P failure

Today’s Blog will be using other sources along with my own commentary and photos

Walking along the East River you can not un-notbridge kochice the mass of steel called the Ed Koch Bridge (Queensboro Bridge) or simply the 59th Street Bridge.



Heading up from the river to First Avenue you expect to see the underside of the bridge looking like most city bridges – closed up with ugly concrete and metal doors. What a surprise when you begin to see large windows ,terra cotta walls and large columns.






“Would you like to do your grocery shopping in a space with the grandeur of a cathedral? Welcome to the Food Emporium at Bridgemarket, nicely tucked under the Manhattan approach to the 59th Street Bridge.


The Bridgemarket was originally an open air market in the   early 1900s until the 1930s, when it became a New York City Department of Transportation facility.  It languished unappreciated and unloved until 1977, when plans for a market. Renovations weIMG_0748re begun in 2000. It is now occupied by the Food Emporium, Guastavino restaurant, a retail shop, and a public plaza.



The real pièces de résistance here are the vaulted ceilings covered with Guastivino tiles. Rafael Guastavino (1842-1908) an architect from Barcelona, came to New York with his son in 260471_219412534746904_5852115_n_cropped1881 and, in1889, founded the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company. It was initially run by Rafael and later his son, with its final contract completed in 1962.




The Guastavino tile arch system uses a timbrel, or Catalan vault of self-supporting arches and architectural vaults with interlocking terracotta tiles and mortar. The Guastavino company eventually held 24 patents for the system.


Hundreds of historically and architecturally important buildings use his system –

  • Grand Central Terminal (particularly the Oyster Bar,
  • Grants Tomb,
  • Carnegie Hall,
  • the Cathedral of St John the Devine,
  • the Elephant House at the Bronx Zoo
  • and the Ellis Island Hall.

Guastavino’s first major project was in 1888, when he was hired by McKim, Mead & White to produce the vaulting for the Boston Public Library.

Using publicly available and architecturally beautiful structures for day-to-day tasks is one of the unique things about New York City –try to visit some of the following:

  • shopping in the old Scribners Bookstore on 5th Avenue,
  • dining in a former bank with high ceilings
  • the Blue Water Grill at Union Square like that occupied by Balducci in Chelsea,
  • staying in historic hotels like the Waldorf Astoria or the Plaza

There are many things to see and do in New York City, but as I explore, I’m keeping an eye out for one name: Guastavino” Edited from nydpress

2 comments on “NYC Grocery shopping in a space with the grandeur of a cathedral

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