Friday, December 28, 2007

Yes! This Is Charlie's

After spotting this sign in the window of a five-and-dime on 14th Street between A & B, I went inside and took a look around. The 41-year-old place is exactly the way it was described in the Voice 7 years ago. Ancient wooden tables hold plastic tubs full of greeting cards, each hand-labeled according to its intended receiver: Niece, Nephew, Mother, Father, etc. Bigger tubs hold a random assortment of books.



There's a toy section on the wall where you can find small bags of plastic dinosaurs or cowboys or zoo animals. There are paper streamers, paper plates, paper cups, and an abbreviated collection of piggy banks, figurines, and coffee mugs. For the season, you can also find foil-paper party hats and noisemakers that say Happy New Year.

I talked a bit with the manager, Danny, who is the grandson of Charlie. He told me they used to have many stores in the area, each with a different theme. "We're a community service more than a regular business," he said, "People come in here and tell me they still have glassware they bought from us years ago, or shoes or furniture. The old people come in from Stuyvesant Town, just to visit and talk. If we weren't here, they wouldn't come out at all. It gives them some exercise."



About 15 years ago, the landlord tried to raise the rent 400%, but protesters, politicians, and newscameras came and Yes! This Is Charlie's stayed. Now they need help again. Protests and politics aren't going to cut it this time. They need financial help. They need a grant. Or an angel investor.

If anyone knows an angel, please send them to Charlie's. And even if you don't know any angels, go to Charlie's anyway and buy some paper hats and noisemakers. They may not be there long after the New Year.

12 comments:

Chris said...

This has to be the most depressing blog on the web--but the most important at the same time.

It's so sad to see all these old buildings vanish. All that architecture, all that history, smashed like it never had any worth.

These greedy-ass developers and so-called architechts have no respect for history or sentiment. They should all rot in hell.

Keep up the good work.

Carol Gardens said...

Great store. When I lived in the East Village I bought all my wrapping paper and greeting cards here.

kingofnycabbies said...

Time to get the book deal, Jeremiah. After that, Tinseltown for the movie. And you can simply stay out there, because--after reading about the Cedar Tavern, Sophie's, Mona's, Sucelt, etc.--it is quite clear NYC is done. Let the yupsters live in their bland corporate wasteland as employees in the branded business of Manhattan LLC.

NYC, 1625-2007. R.I.P.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i am writing the novel as we speak.

Todd HellsKitchen said...

I hate it when delightful small family businesses like this are forced out!

Jeremiah Moss said...

"most depressing blog on the web." i like it. truly, i get depressed writing the thing every day.

Barbara said...

Are we going to get an especially depressing year-end wrap-up? I both look forward to and fear one.

Barbara said...

Jeremiah,appropos of absolutely nothing, there was a red-tailed hawk perched on a chimney on Ridge Street yesterday. Let me know if you want a link to my picture.

Jeremiah Moss said...

barbara, you got your wish for the year-end wrap up. i hope it's good and depressing.

Barbara said...

Thoroughly depressing. Good work.

laura said...

w/all the time i spent on e.14th street, cant believe i missed this place. was it on the north or south side? east 14th is a cool street!

laura said...

soooooo? what happend to this place? do a followup on the new tenent.