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, NOW:
Ageless and Cool
by Claudie Benjamin

Swatch is iconic. The brand has practically spelled durable and cool from its birth in Switzerland in the 1980s until today. Swatch watches with ever-evolving colors and bold styles, bands and faces fashioned out of fluorescent plastic green, pinks, violets and turquoise, shiny metallics, sleek black or gray or even transparent materials, communicate creativity with a kind of whimsical irreverence. 
The "starter watches" have been and continue to be worn by children. The subtler styles are worn by men and women of all ages. They're particularly popular among people in their 30s according to Assistant Manager Elena Jovan. Even in this digital age, watches continue to be worn banded around a wrist as a convenient way to consult the time. Swatches also make a fashion statement more than any cell phone. 
The holiday season always is particularly busy at Swatch when gift giving may involve splurges on limited edition watches. The watches Elena is currently wearing are the SKIN IORNY and BIG BOLD CHRONO. "We always wear two watches. The BB is our latest model," explains Store Manager Nadia Nichol. Her own BB is black and blue with a stopwatch feature.
The first Swatch store in Manhattan opened its doors at its present location at the southwest corner of 72nd Street. The shop windows display the current highlights of the season - a draw, even if you already have a number of watches. Durability and a kind of ageless cool always make sense. 
"We have been located at this particular location [100 West 72nd Street] for more than 20 years. We don't just consider ourselves just a store but as part of the neighborhood. Most of our shoppers are locals. Moms and Dads who remember when they got their first watch are now bringing their children back for their own first watch." Nadia says.  
...and THEN:
A Grocery or a Work of Art?
by Tom Miller

In 1840 25-year old John M. Tilford partnered with Joseph Park to form “in a small way,” as described by Men of the Century in 1896, the grocery store named Park & Tilford. By 1886 Park & Tilford had four New York stores as well as a branch in Paris (used mainly for merchandising and exporting). The term “grocery” had little to do with the word we commonly use today. Park & Tilford catered to the carriage trade and stocked a dizzying array of goods–wines, confectioneries, gourmet foods and delicacies, cigars, and personal items.  The New York Times deemed Park & Tilford “The very beau ideal of what a first class grocery store should be.”

The year following John Tilford’s death in January 1891, his son, Frank, recognized the developing Upper West Side as a prime location for yet another store. In March 1892 the firm purchased the one-story business building at the southwest corner of Columbus Avenue and 72nd Street.  The Real Estate Record & Builders’ Guide reported, “Park & Tilford will shortly commence the erection of the fire-proof building…to be used entirely for their business.”
McKim, Mead & White received the commission to design the new structure. The firm filed plans on April 22 for a “six-story brick, stone and terra cotta building” to cost $85,000 (more than $2.25 million today).

The Renaissance Revival style building opened on September 23, 1893 and, according to The Times, “was attended by hundreds, who admired the building and the artistic display of goods.” The article added, “There is no business building more handsome on the west side” and the New-York Tribune called it “a decided architectural ornament to the neighborhood.” KEEP READING
KEEP READING the history of 100 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!
SUGGEST a business:
See you on West 72nd Street again, next FRIDAY!
45 West 67th Street NY NY 10023