Historical New York

Broadway and 80th Street:  Zabar’s and The Hadrian 

In 1882, one year after the First Baptist Church had been completed a block to the south, real estate developer Christian Blinn erected four three-story apartment building at the northwest corner of Broadway at 80th Streets.  Although “The Boulevard” had been envisioned as a grand throughfare, Blinn’s project was not so ambitious and his buildings were classified as tenements (Blinn, residing at 79th Street and 9th Avenue, filed himself as the architect).  In 1890 Blinn sold the properties to Julia Schwartz, a real estate investor.  They became the focus of a lawsuit in 1901, when Blinn sued Schwartz to recover the buildings, claiming he had no knowledge of selling them to her (he had been confined to a sanitorium in Flushing during the previous decade).  In 1919 Schwartz leased them for $30,000 per year to the C&L Lunch Company, owned by Aaron Chinitz.  In 1915 Chinitz had opened the Tip Toe Inn restaurant.  Chinitz retained architects Whinston & Whinston to combine the buildings, as well as to add a floor and create the Tudor facade complete with small leaded windows.  The next building to the north was also included in the combination, although not the facade overhaul.

The new building, completed in 1920, became known as the Calvin Apartments. It’s modest two-room apartments were advertised for $165 a month, and the entrance was located in a small cottage-like structure on 80th street.  In 1941 --by which time the apartments above had been converted to a residential hotel -- Louis Zabar began renting the third store to the north.  In the late 1970s, the family purchased the old Calvin apartment complex and by 1980 were able to assume all of the retail space, thus expanding into the entire building.   

In the picture above one can also just make out the real estate management firm of F.R. Wood & W. H. Olsen located on the ground floor of the Hadrian (telephone Schuyler 3800), which was erected at the northeast corner of Broadway and 80th Street in 1903.  Wood & Olsen managed and rented luxury upper west side apartment properties, including that of the Hadrian.  A 1915 ad in the New York Times noted apartments in the building of “5, 6, and 7 rooms and 2 and 3 baths” renting for between $900 and $1500.

Broadway, looking northwest towards 80th Street, c. 1894

At the northwest corner of 80th Street is August Schmidt’s bar, now the site of Zabar’s

Detail from the above; east side of Broadway at 80th Street,

notice the casino on the south side

Broadway and 79th Street, looking north;

undated (c. 1903-1909)

Broadway at 79th Street, looking north, December 1919

from the March 1910 edition