Rediscover the UWS's Main Street!
"West Seventy Today" introduces you to your small business neighbors along West 72nd Street, from Central Park to Riverside Park in weekly installments.
Meet your neighbors, NEW:
Vietnamese Street Food served at Pho Shop on West 72nd
by Claudie Benjamin

“We survived Superstorm Sandy and 9/11,” says Allen Ng, co-owner of Pho Shop at 141 West 72nd Street. No question: the restrictions on restaurants, combined with escalating anxieties related to the Covid pandemic, are taking a toll on everyone. But Allen Ng shares a can-do attitude with his partners, brothers Daniel and Billy Chau.
The three opened their first Vietnamese Pho Shop restaurant five years ago on the East Side. Now, at 141 West 72nd Street, their new location, enthusiasm and hard work are showing results. The available, distanced seats are usually all filled in their outdoor shelter. Upper West Siders are flocking to the restaurant for Banh Mi sandwiches filled with pork, beef, sole, or tofu. They’re also very enthusiastic about Pho, Vietnam’s hallmark street food, historically sold by vendors seated on stools as they stir pots of the soup over charcoal fires. Pho soup, adapted for the modern palate, has achieved international popularity. Today in Vietnam it is served both on the street and in upscale restaurants.
Customers are also coming by to pick up take-out containers of mouthwatering menu offerings such as vermicelli grilled shrimp and chicken in Viet style spicy lemongrass sauce. Can’t go out? No problem – deliveries are available through services like Uber Eats, DoorDash, Seamless and GrubHub.
Like numerous other restaurants that transitioned to delivery-only during earlier Covid months, Pho Shop owners are still thinking about whether it’s safe to accommodate customers inside. [note, this was prepared prior to the governor's most recent shut down] KEEP READING
...and OLD:
Engagements: Broken and Otherwise
by Tom Miller

As a flurry of construction took place along West 72nd Street in the mid-1880’s, the architectural firm of Thom & Wilson was kept busy by developers. In June 1885 it filed plans for five “four-story brick (stone front) dwellings for real estate operator Robert Irwin. The high-stoop homes were completed in 1886, with two of them, 137 and 139, stealing the show from their siblings. But 141 West 72nd Street held its own with a brownstone facade liberally trimmed in ruddy terra cotta, a faceted three story bay at the parlor through third floors, and a bowed balcony at the fourth.

Described in an advertisement as a “magnificent four story and basement brown stone dwelling, with dining room and bedroom extension; open plumbing, hardwood trim, parquet floors,” it became home to the Nathaniel Hess family. Hess was a retired woolen merchant. Living with him and his wife were her two children by a former marriage, Mary Britton Leary and Joseph Britton Leary. The family’s name appeared in the society columns regularly.
On December 14, 1893, for instance, newspapers reported that “Cards have been issued by Mrs. Nathaniel Hess of 141 West Seventy-second Street for the afternoons of Wednesdays in January.” (It was necessary for socialites to announce when they would be “at home” to receive so as not to confuse schedules.) And four months later The New York Times announced “Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Hess and family…will leave town for Italy on March 17 on the steamer Kaiser Wilhelm. They will remain abroad until late in the Fall.”

Following Joseph Leary’s wedding, he and his bride lived elsewhere. After her death in 1900, he chose to live at his club.  Now, in 1902, when he was remarried to Janet Graves Ford, he was 28 years old and vice-president in his father’s brewery, the Leavy & Britton company.  The Sun mentioned in its article on the wedding that the bride “is rich in her own right.” KEEP READING
KEEP READING the history of 141 W72nd at 72 Crosstown
72 Crosstown highlights the architectural and social histories of 1/3 of the buildings along West 72nd Street. If you have a building you'd like us to prioritize, or a business you think we should feature, let us know!
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45 West 67th Street NY NY 10023