Physical Graffiti Building
The East Village tenement from the cover of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 album has a tea shop on the ground floor.
Led Zeppelin’s 1975 album Physical Graffiti is considered one of their best, featuring such fan-favorite songs as “Kashmir” and “Trampled Under Foot.” Its release saw a delay due to the complexity of its cover design, which proved difficult to manufacture.
Designed by Peter Corriston, the iconic die-cut artwork portrays a symmetrical brownstone tenement block, something that could only hail from New York City, with each letter of the album’s title written on its window. The inner sleeve had a number of different images printed on them, such as those of Lee Harvey Oswald and Elizabeth Taylor, à la “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The gimmick was that, when placed inside the outer cover, they would appear inside each of the cut-out windows.
The building in question is a real tenement in Manhattan, still standing at 96 and 98 St. Mark’s Place. Since similar-looking buildings are not uncommon in the city, more than a few tourists have mistaken other brownstones for the one on the album cover. But once you know the actual location, it’s not hard to find. A few creative tweaks were made to suit Corriston’s vision, and the fourth floor of the building was cropped out of the frame, giving the artwork a somewhat different look.
Today, the East Village building is home to a basement tea shop aptly named Physical GraffiTea, boasting a great selection of organic, fair-trade tea and a reputation for offering a wide selection of loose leaf tea and medicinal blends. Quite incidentally, the building also appears in the 1981 music video for “Waiting on a Friend” by the Rolling Stones, making it a great location to pay a visit and feel the history of rock and roll.
Know Before You Go
The Physical GraffiTea shop is open every day from noon to 7 p.m.
Follow us on Twitter to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders.
Like us on Facebook to get the latest on the world's hidden wonders.Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook