Over the last few decades, high-income housing has replaced much of what was a kind of West Side light-industrial-transit-and-transportation corridor, roughly extending from the Holland Tunnel to the Lincoln Tunnel: countless parking and service garages, body shops, Hansom cab stables, unofficial taxi hangouts, bus lots, and even gas stations were to be found from the West Village up to the Javits Center. Most of them are gone now, yielded to more profitable development.
Maybe all the taxis hang out in Long Island City now? And the Hansoms, under probably-worthy scrutiny from animal rights activists, are going the way of their ancestral horses and carriages. I don’t have any particular nostalgia for these things, but I do believe that for a time, mostly in the last century, they contributed to the character of the City, if not its glamour or broader appeal. In any case, the shop pictured here is still around, across the street from a Hansom stable, and I won’t be surprised if it and the stable are gone the next time I’m over there.