Lispenard is Tribeca’s northernmost street, just parallel to and south of Canal Street a short block away. It’s only two blocks in length and the last one in Triburbia (or Tribeca, a neighborhood in transition on the lower west side of Manhattan) to be gentrified with fancy shops and expensive loft residences. It’s one of the few Manhattan streets that long-time cabbies have never heard of, but that is about to change.
Not only is the street finally gentrifying, but it now has a line of beautiful furniture named after it. Herman Miller’s Lispenard sofa line is designed by architect Neil Logan. The collection by Herman Miller is elegant and contemporary, befitting its Manhattan origins. Emphasizing balance and proportion, the stumpy round legs keep it real—offsetting the sleek, cushioned seating proportions—like the street: funky and a little grody.
Looking back, I have lived on the street since the 1970s and have always appreciated the streets: narrow, dirty, and raffish. Images come to mind of the dilapidated marble and weathered brick buildings at Canal Street, so many that drew little attention from most at the time. What we now see as routine storefront and luxury residences, I lament as corroboration of the loss of the former Tribeca.
Fortunately though, Miller’s Lispenard sofa line reads to me like a kind of tribute to that bygone era. Swathed in a rough-hewn upholstery, the collection comprises a club chair, three-seat sofa, sectional, and ottoman. I think it would look perfect in my polyurethaned oak floored loft, the place I have called home for nearly five decades. More so, I like to see the series not as an impediment to the character of the neighborhood, but actually as a part of the character of the neighborhood, only in a contemporary context.