5/6/08

The Colonnade Today



In an abrupt shift from the beautiful illustration and all that romantic history below, we now fast forward to the present. This is how the Colonnade looks today. I suppose the Times was right. The formerly grand building is a bit dusty and one tourist guide book even calls it 'a decaying relic' - a totally unnecessary comment, I think. Still, like a regal dowager, it attracts both tourists and residents alike to gaze up in wonder and respect. The most common question I hear is, "What is that?". Actually, there are a few answers.

The Colonnade is still a home to about 50 people in various types of apartments - some are the original ornate rooms with elaborate crown moldings and white marble fireplaces, others have been cut up and modified into smaller units, and a couple are very swank, tricked-out, multi-story townhouses. The building is also where the Blue Man Group got their start (and still perform) in the Astor Place Theater (the three original Blue Men live above the theater along with many of their employees), and it's where Indochine, the still relevant art/fashion/media 'scene' restaurant opened nearly 25 years ago and continues to attract the power players in town.

Indochine is directly downstairs from my apartment and I share the foyer with them (not always the greatest thing), especially when I'm trying to walk my dog and a dozen guests are blocking my door, but everyone tries to get along. They're a good neighbor to have and we help each other out when there's a leak or other catastrophe in the building. Occasionally, they will use my apartment for a private party or as the dressing and make-up room for models, dancers, or other talent that are working downstairs on a photo shoot or special event. It's not such a bad thing to have a great restaurant and bar in the building when you don't want to travel to grab a bite and I like all the kids (did I just call them kids?) that work there. I'll be telling and showing you a lot about what life is like living above Indochine soon.

Today, the Colonnade is dirty, decaying, and somewhat decadent. And, frankly, that's exactly the way I like it. A lot has gone on here over the past 175 years which I will be getting into later. The facade was supposed to have been restored a few years back but that fell through and I wouldn't be surprised if it's never fixed up. I'd thought of starting a Save The Colonade non-profit, but couldn't get the cooperation of the owners and had to abandon that idea. So, for now, come visit and take a picture - it may be all you have in a few years.

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