When it was completed, in 1904, the IRT powerhouse at Eleventh Avenue and 58th Street was a colossus of industrial might, a coal-eating brute that kept the new subways rumbling. Today, the gracious McKim, Mead & White façade, which sits on the building like a tuxedo on a defensive tackle, has frayed, and two young zealots, Jimmy Finn and Paul Kelterborn, have begun an effort to get it landmarked. It’s easy to fantasize about sunlight falling through the clerestory windows of its empty, block-long hall onto Richard Serras; acres of produce piled on stands; music buzzing through the rafters while crowds dance in the nave. It’s not exactly endangered—yet. Con Ed still uses it to make steam, and says it has no other plans for it. Finn isn’t convinced. “This is the last parcel [in the neighborhood] that’s not a tall glass building, so at some point Con Ed is going to sell it,” he says. “This could be a drawn-out fight. We need to start now.”
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