2192-2194 Broadway

View of 2192-2194 Broadway from north west; Courtesy NYC Municipal Archive

2192-2194 Broadway

by Tom Miller

In May 1901, architect M. C. Merritt filed plans for a “two-story brick dwelling and store” for developer F. W. Saltzeider at the southeast corner of Broadway and 78th Street.  The little structure would cost Saltzeider the 2023 equivalent of $400,000 to construct.  He most likely intended it to be a taxpayer—a relatively temporary building that provided enough income to pay the property taxes until a more substantial structure took its place.  If so, his plans did not come to pass and 2192-2194 Broadway would survive into the next century.

As the plans indicated, the second floor was residential, with its occupants entering at 238 West 78th Street.  Living here in 1911 was Walter F. Weed, who did not work, but according to him “was living off his income,” according to The New York Times.  Where that income came from is unclear.  Nevertheless, it was sufficient to afford him a motorcar.

As Walter F. Weed was being taken to his cell, he said, “I hope you won’t hold this against me, Lieutenant; you see, this is my birthday and I was only celebrating.”  

July 7, 1911, was Weed’s 36th birthday.  He was driving south on Broadway when he ran down John Cunningham, a 52-year-old saloon keeper at 96th Street.  Cunningham’s right leg was fractured.  Weed kept on driving.  The accident was witnessed by William Small, a chauffeur, who jumped into his car and drove after Weed.  Apparently trying to lose his pursuer, Weed “was driving from one side of the street to the other,” according to The New York Times.  This attracted the attention of bicycle patrolman Delaney, who joined in the chase.  Finally, at 87th Street, they managed to stop Weed, who was taken back to the scene of the accident.

The victim was placed in the back of Weed’s car.  With Officer Delaney beside him, Weed drove to the West 100th Street Police Station.  Cunningham was treated there, then transported to the hospital.  As Walter F. Weed was being taken to his cell, he said, “I hope you won’t hold this against me, Lieutenant; you see, this is my birthday and I was only celebrating.”

Walter Weed was perhaps the last residential tenant in the building.  An alteration completed the next year resulted in commercial space above the ground floor store.  It became the office of dentist Arthur S. Litten by 1915 and by 1921 was Dr. Arthur S. Litten’s dental offices.

Herman ran a grocery store in 2194 Broadway by the end of World War I. His business was seriously affected by a delivery drivers’ strike in 1919. It started with a strike against the Ward Baking Company, which locked its 100 drivers out.  Those drivers were joined by the milk wagon drivers.  Both groups were part of the same international union.  While the second group did not go on strike, they refused to deliver milk to any grocers who sold Ward goods. 

Milk was an essential staple in neighborhood stores like Harman’s.  Frustrated, he and other grocers went to court.  On September 12, 1919, he testified against Meyer Uman, Joseph Forman, and Bernard Janorwitzsky, saying they “refused to sell him milk when Ward products were found on the premises.”

The ground floor held several tenants by the World War II years.  In 1941 Oscar’s Beauty Salon was on the second floor.  The corner shop was a La Primadora cigar store, and the Empire City Market operated next door.  On the 78th Street side was a small furrier.

…they “refused to sell him milk when Ward products were found on the premises.”

In November 1980, the uptown branch of Beneath It all opened at 2194 Broadway.  The lingerie store had operated from 161 Seventh Avenue South since 1978.  Upstairs a Coldwell Banker real estate office opened around 1990 and would remain through the turn of the century.  It was replaced by the 78th Street Theater Lab around 2003, a venue for small performing groups like The Magic Bridge Theater Company, which presented Happy Flower and the Weeping Willow, a musical for children about friendship, in November 2003.

In 2009 the legal firm of Marc Andrew Ladis occupied the second floor, while at ground level were a pizza parlor (on the corner), a jewelry store, a Subway sandwich shop, and an ice cream store.  Three years earlier the Subway store had been the scene of a terrifying robbery.  On January 17, 2006, a gunman shot a worker in the arm during the theft.  He stole $400 from the store before fleeing south on Broadway. 

In 2013 construction began on an apartment house at the corner of Broadway and 77th Street.  At the same time, 2192-2194 Broadway was joined internally with the two small buildings to the south and a renovation of the facades made them architecturally harmonious with the new structure.  Happily, at least the M. C. Merritt’s handsome cornice and frieze were preserved.

Tom Miller is a social historian and blogger at daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com


Keep Exploring

Be a part of history!

Think Local First to support the business currently at 2192-2194 Broadway:

Let's Keep in Touch!

Let's Keep in Touch!

Want the latest news?
Care to share about something in the neighborhood?
Be the first to hear about upcoming events?

Join the LW! email list!

You're Subscribed!

Share This