Wagons on Warren

An inviting display of carriages and sleighs welcomed customers to the Warren Street wagon building (see full photo below) and on the right, the site today.

This delightful photograph, taken in 1894, shows a building at 36 Warren Street (just west of Church) that contained not one but three separate wagon companies, each of which proudly proclaims its identity on the facade. The sheer variety of wagons offered for sale is impressive, ranging from the farm wagons offered by the O-We-Go company (presumably a branch of an upstate company named for the town where it was located) to the more citified vehicles such as the phaeton, a light, open carriage like those that haul tourists around Central Park, sold by Miller, Knoblock.

Conveyances did not have to be wheeled: note the sleigh on the sidewalk. But all are hauled by the noble creature who shares the sidewalk—the horse.
When this part of Tribeca changed from residential to commercial in the middle of the 19th century, most of the manufacturing and wholesaling structures were occupied by textile and dry goods dealers, as happened in the blocks north of Chambers Street.

As the years passed, however, other kinds of activities and concerns moved in, until by the turn of the 20th century all sorts of unexpected businesses were represented: hardware and cutlery dealers, china and dinnerware importers, wine and liquor dealers, publishers, and the wagon folks shown here. You never knew just what you might find along Warren Street.

Today number 36 Warren is long gone, but just in the street’s two blocks between Broadway and West Broadway there are plenty of surprises.

The first block contains both the Wall Street Humidor Company, of­fering fine cigars as well as humidors, and the Foun­tain Pen Hospital. The second contains the Mys­terious Bookshop, Philip Williams Posters and—most unexpected—Korin Japanese Knives, possibly the most discriminating purveyor of sushi knives in the city.

The wagon folks at 36 Warren would feel right at home.