Gene Warren and Norman Buchbinder
It's Suite 201, Marisa. Suite 201.
aren't your typical landlords. They like artists, always have, and they're willing to accommodate their whims and needs. Their tenants can't all be dentists and opthalmologists, they say, adding that "artists make a neighborhood," and pointing to the revitalization of the SoHo
in Manhattan, and Williamsburg
They're doing their bit for artists: Tony Kushner
, Susan Sarandon
, and Marisa Tomei
all have offices in our building. I imagine you'd be hard-pressed to find another office building in New York with one Pulitzer Prize-winning and two Academy Award-winning tenants. I ain't got the talent, but I'm hoping that location, location, location will at least stimulate the creative juices.
Norman and Gene are partly responsible for the rise of this neighborhood from the dark days of the mid-1970s. Union Square was always a place where something
was happening. Protests following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory
fire of 1911 a few blocks down in Washington Square occurred in Union Square. Gene Warren used to come as a boy to hear speeches by his name sake, Eugene Debs
, and Fiorello LaGuardia
. In the early decades of the 20th century, Union Square was the entertainment district. According to Gene and Norman, the legendary Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwyn
started working at 108 Fifth Avenue, while 14th Street itself was populated by cheap movie theaters, or Nickelodeons
. The Square itself was filled with department stores, like Klein's
and Orbach's, and later on a different kind of working environment sprung up when Andy Warhol's Factory
sited itself at 860 Broadway at 14th Street.
Tomorrow, Gene and Warren tell me something about 1 Union Square West, where Lantern has its offices.