With Hyatt and more, Fourth Ave. becoming second to none | East Villager & Lower East Sider

With Hyatt and more, Fourth Ave. becoming second to none

salute-coverBY LAUREN VESPOLI  |  Fourth Ave. has long been known as a pipsqueak among Manhattan’s boulevards. However, this eight-block stretch has recently been enjoying a renaissance, and is closer than ever before to holding its own against its more illustrious and lengthy neighboring avenues.

“Fourth Ave. has seen an enormous amount of growth in the past couple of years,” said Jennifer Falk, head of the Union Square Partnership.

At the end of last April, the Hyatt Union Square opened at the corner of Fourth Ave. and 13th Street, along with its two in-house restaurants and a bar. Visitors to The Fourth, an American brasserie, will be struck by the hanging sculpture of wooden bedframes and chains by artist Brinton Jaecks. Singl Lounge, the hotel’s first-floor bar, takes its name from its selection of 100 single-malt  Scotches. At the subterranean level is Botequim, a South American restaurant serving small plates.

“The Hyatt has spurred a lot of businesses to move in,” Falk said, “but many of the existing businesses also took notice.”

Perhaps Walgreens was inspired by the Hyatt’s gourmet cuisine when it reopened its remodeled Fourth Ave. flagship store this January. This two-story outpost of the nation’s largest drugstore chain has its own made-to-order food counter — Up Market — with a sushi chef crafting fresh seaweed rolls, in addition to offering juices and frozen yogurt. Upstairs, amidst the toothpaste and deodorant, customers will find yoga mats for sale.

Further south, popular fast-casual restaurants, such as taco joint Dos Toros, Glaze Teriyaki Grill and Pie Face, which opened last year, are enjoying the growth of the neighborhood.

“Many of these businesses, like Dos Toros, are doing extremely well,” Falk said.

After all, tech workers on the square and a few blocks south need somewhere to pick up lunch. South of the square near Astor Place, 770 Broadway houses Facebook’s New York office. Last May, the social-networking giant took 100,000 square feet in the building, and added 60,000 square feet to its office at the end of March.

“Lease signing in the tech industry is driving secondary improvements throughout the district,” said Falk.