Diesel: All smoke and mirrors
The nine-story 1 Union Square West, where Lantern has its offices, used to be the tallest building in New York City. "For about fifteen minutes," says Gene Warren, who with Norman Buchbinder, are Buchbinder and Warren
, our landlords. In those days, it was the Lincoln Hotel, and it's now a national landmarked building. They've kept the original molding on the staircase, and judging by the clanking and hissing in the pipes come winter, it seems they've kept the original boiler. The building's top floor used to be a garrett, and as you might expect, after the hotel closed, that's where the artists lived, and there's still an interesting mix of small businesses here that work in the creative professions (boldly, Lantern numbers itself among them).
Norman and Gene remember when Union Square wasn't the hot, hot, hot location it is today, and where you could actually afford to live on the Square if you weren't a millionaire or attending NYU
. Buchbinder and Warren's retail tenant on the ground floor back when they began their company in 1958 was a beauty parlor, with 200 dryers, charging $2.35 for what was then called a "permanent." The illusion of everlasting beauty is still being vainly sought on the ground floor, but today youth pays through the nose at Diesel
, which I've heard changes its look once a week in all its stores around the world. I guess it only goes to prove that the more things change, the more they stay the same.