Rediscover the UWS's Main Street!
"West Seventy Today" introduces you to your business neighbors along West 72nd Street, from Central Park to Riverside Park in weekly installments.
Meet your neighbors, NOW:
Creative Drinks and Neighborhood Vibe
By Claudie Benjamin

Living, working and going to college in Manhattan has to have had its challenges for Amber Zachweieja after she first left Long Island and arrived in the city. But she’s been making this all happen and having fun too.
Having earned a BA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College, her hope is to go for a Master’s in psychology once on-site programming is fully in place.  “Fingers-crossed,” her hope is to continue bartending at Lilly’s where she’s been working for some time. 
Amber describes her bartending job as endlessly interesting and creative. Initially, she spread her workweek between Lilly’s and two other bar restaurants owned by the same partners.  More recently, she has mostly been working only at Lilly’s.  She likes that “it’s a real neighborhood spot.”  In bartending, she says the connection and relationship with customers is key. Though complicated by the Covid distancing restrictions, establishing a rapport and engaging in easy conversations with customers makes them feel comfortable—and keeps them coming back.  She says she may start a conversation by commenting on a customer’s shopping bag.  “Oh, I like shopping at that store too.” But, once rapport is established, she and they may talk about anything.  “We talk about vacations, jobs, dating…” 

Then, importantly for Amber, is the creative part of mixing and making drinks.  She’s been building upon her instincts and picking up skills since she first snagged a job at a tiny midtown bar.  At Lilly’s, during the down time, she experiments with creating cocktails based on her own imagination or improvising on classic drinks and borrowing here and there from drinks she’s heard about or tasted.  

Best creations at Lilly’s?  KEEP READING
...and THEN:
Gangsters and Showgirls--Often Both!

By the mid-1920’s the rows of fashionable private residences that had lined West 72nd Street at the turn of the century were being replaced with commercial and modern residential buildings. In 1926 a group of investors, the 48-56 West 72nd Street Corp., hired the architectural firm of Sugarman & Berger to design a residential hotel on the former site of five high-stoop houses.

Residential hotels differed from apartment buildings in that they offered the services of a hotel—maid service, for instance—and did away with kitchens and dining rooms in the suites. Residents ate in a large restaurant-like dining room or had meals delivered to their rooms. The concept eliminated the need for most personal servants.

Called the Hotel Ogden, it was ready for occupancy in 1927. Sugarman & Berger’s 1920’s take on the Renaissance Revival style placed 15 stories clad in rough-faced brick upon a limestone base that held retail space. The second and third, and the top three floors, were given handsome terra cotta detailing in the form of elaborate pilasters, rows of shell-like corbels, and stylized shields within the tympani of the arches.
There were 209 apartments with a total of 330 rooms. Among the upscale amenities available to the tenants were the Stern’s Hotel Ogden Orchestra which played during the dinner hour (and was broadcast for an hour on the radio) and a roof top golf course. On September 10, 1928 the Jamestown Evening Journal wrote “Upon the roof of the Hotel Ogden, where one of the most elaborate roof courses is laid out, there are miniature reproductions of some of the famous golf spots in the world—replicas of a famous tee, of a certain famous hazard, a lake and all the rest.” It became a popular spot for “midnight golfing.” The article said “Brilliant arc lights stream across the course. Gents in evening suits menace the trim tailoring of their shoulders…Ladies in evening gowns and glistening jewels look out. Other gentlemen who have stopped in the ‘whoopee parlors’ for a few cocktails, grow boastful of their prowess, but find difficulty connecting with their ‘tee-off.’” (Prohibition would not end for several more years and a “whoopee parlor” was a speak-easy.) KEEP READING
KEEP READING the history of 50 W72 at 72 Crosstown
72 Crosstown highlights the architectural and social histories of the buildings along West 72nd Street.

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45 West 67th Street NY NY 10023