Monday, October 31, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

Is the Subway Inn closed for good? Not according to their Facebook page, where it says they are "Temporarily Closed...Until renovations are complete." (Hope we don't lose the aquatic green lighting.)

As Cha-Cha's and Ruby's prepare for either closure or gutting, a sad auction at Coney Island. [ATZ]

Last day (?) at Ruby's. [OMFS]

Park Slopers are dressing their kids as food trucks. [Eater]

Check out John Conn's photos of the NYC subway in the 1970s--a "house of horrors." [NYT]

Saturday's snow on flowers and greenery--Hell in a handbasket:


Will Park Slope's Ozzie's cafe become a Starbucks--and lose the TRUSSES signage? [HPS]

A melee at 7A. [EVG]

Gowanus Canal: The Toxic Playground. [Kensinger]

Bloomberg tries to freeze out the Wall St. Occupiers. [NYM]

And now the NYPD may be encouraging drunks and crazies to "take it to Zuccotti." Psychological warfare? [Gothamist]

Ray's Pizza

VANISHED

Yesterday was the last day, after 52 years, for Ray's Pizza on Prince Street. Throughout the day they offered nothing but plain cheese slices--on the cheap. "Enjoy your last slice of the original Ray's Pizza," said a sign in the window, "for only $1.50."



This truly original Ray's was opened in 1959 by a man named Ralph Cuomo. He didn't call the place Ralph's because, as he explained to the Times in 1991, "Ralph's might have sounded, I don't know, maybe too feminine. Besides, nobody ever called me Ralph. My family took the Italian word for Ralph--Raffaele--and shortened it to Rayfie or just Ray. All my life I was addressed that way."



I went in a couple of times over the weekend for a last slice--or two. The place was busy, but not overcrowded. In steady streams, people lined up for pizza. Some stayed to snap photos and say, "This makes me sad," but most just folded their slices in hand and walked back out the door.

Ray's slices came fast and hot. At a marble-topped counter, a guy in a sauce-stained apron massaged fat disks of sweaty dough into pizza-appropriate shapes, dressed them in sauce and cheese, then slipped them into the oven, one after another. At the front counter, another guy took the cooked pies and cut them into slices with a greasy circular blade. That was it. No screwing around.



This is not how it is at the new artisanal pizza joints springing up all over town, where one pie is made at a time to ensure absolute, up to the nanosecond freshness.

I tried one of these places over the summer. I asked for a slice and had to wait 20 minutes for the pizza to be assembled and cooked. The "artisan" took his sweet time, ladeling out the sauce, carefully placing each leaf of basil just so. While I waited, a young woman burbled on about how "it's worth the wait" because "it's just so amazingly good." It was good. It also took an eternity and cost too much. But people fall for this kind of medicine show every day.



At Ray's, along with no waiting, there was no performance art, and the slices had the usual price tag (except on the last day, when they went down to a buck and a half). The cashier managed to call everyone "Hon," even as she kept us briskly moving it along. And, yes, the pizza was good.

But as the Times recently said, "the 2011 version of Little Italy with its five-figure commercial rents is not designed in the interests of mom-and-pop pizza parlors."



On one side of Ray's there's a Ralph Lauren store, on the other side there's a Gant. Across the street is a cupcake shop where people obediently go for sweets, exiting with heads bowed, eyes glued to iPhones, thumbing reviews to Yelp that go: "oooh maahhh gaawwd, the dreaming princess cupcake was SOOOOOO GOOD! That was like one of the best cupcake flavors i've ever had!"

And there's nothing we can do about it.


Remains of my last slice

Friday, October 28, 2011

Maximo Change-O

Why I find this so entertaining, I'm not really sure.

The cafe on 13th and 6th began in January 2010 as a gelato place called Maximo Pino.


NSfreepress

In March 2011 it became Rockography, a "Hard Rock" kind of knock-off, complete with an advisory about "excessive alcohol consumption" and "extreme noise pollution." That lasted just a few months.



This summer it was totally renovated as the Blitz! Brasserie, the "neighborhood sports grille." But, apparently, the Blitz! hasn't worked out either.



Now, just months later, it's been renamed AGAIN--this time as The Pint of No Return. If all else fails, try a beer-related pun? They're serving craft beers and "chocolate stout cupcakes." They will also be participating in the Halloween Pub Crawl.

Craft beer, cupcakes, and pub crawls? This one might just have the winning combination.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Say No Back to Cooper

After more than 43,000 people signed the petition to Save St. Mark's Bookshop, after Michael Moore rallied the troops at a packed house and Salman Rushdie wrote to the school president to say that not supporting the bookstore would be an "unforgivable" and "irreversible cultural mistake," Cooper Union still said no.



They were asked to reduce the rent on the bookstore from $20,000 to $15,000 per month, and they said no. They said they are "broke."

Broke? Reportedly, Cooper Union has a $600 million endowment, $60 million of which goes to their annual budget. They just spent $150 million building a shiny new academic building at 7th St., and in 2008 they sold 51 Astor Place for close to $100 million to be developed into a corporate office tower. But they're broke. They own the land under the Chrysler Building (bringing in millions annually), but they're broke. The Wall Street Journal said they're doing great financially--better than most colleges.

What do they really want? Said bookstore co-owner Contant to PW, "We were told yesterday we wouldn't be able to afford a renewal on our lease." Cooper Union officials told the bookshop owners they want to rent the space for $40,000.

Who can afford to pay $40,000 a month? A bank can afford it. Starbucks can afford it. Marc Jacobs can afford it. Do we need more of those?



In my open letter to Cooper Union, I said I would launch a campaign to boycott any business that moves into the space at 31 Third Avenue should St. Mark's Books be forced to close. This tactic was used by Upper West Siders to save their local pharmacy, and it worked. It can work again. So I'm starting with a petition. Please sign it--then tweet it, Facebook it, blog it, share it with as many people as you can.

Click above or copy and paste this link:
http://signon.org/sign/boycott-coopers-future

Sign the petition if you love St. Mark's Books. Sign it if you just love books. Sign it if you're sick and tired of watching New York City's cultural touchstones go down the toilet day after day. Sign it if you miss the East Village before it became a frat house. Sign it if you hate having a bank on every corner and a chain store on every other. Sign it because you're mad as hell and you're not going to take it anymore!

And, yes, of course--go buy some books while you're at it.


Read more on this story:
Paris Review for St. Mark's
Michael Moore at St. Mark's
Columbia's Precedent
An Open Letter to Cooper Union
Buy A Book Weekend at St. Mark's
Xmas in September
St. Mark's Vestibule

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

Cooper Union says NO to St. Mark's Books. [NYDN]

Salman Rushdie asked Cooper Union to Save St. Mark's Books. [DNA]

After losing their Upper West Side shop, now H&H Bagels might be evicted from their million-bagel bakery. [Gothamist]

A baby becomes an objet d'art as he's born into a Bushwick gallery: "remnants from the birth will be added to the exhibition along with a video of the birth." [RS]

Filming The Warriors while surrounded by the real gangs of New York. [VV]

Is it Halloween or a hipster? [HOW]

Rocky's owner responds on Eater: "I would like to clarify that we will be forced to shut our doors not for economic reasons ...it is my understanding that in regards to the increase in rent they will be paying what we agreed to pay or that there were tons of other offers or who would want immediate access or not as the owner of Balboosta has stated. It has everything to do with them...It was for one reason and only one because she decided that she wanted the space..plain and simple. We were on numerous occasions led to believe that the lease would be extended to us. The end result was we were not considered because of personal issues with the landlord and his relationship with the owners of Balboosta. You should respect your neighbors and the businesses they have built. Some people are business first and despite her protestations, Einat's actions show her true intentions."

Newsstands

A few people have asked about my story on the city's newsstands and their history, originally published in Forgotten New York, September 2008. So I thought I'd reproduce it here, with a few updates and new photos of newsstands lost.

In the fall of 2007, the old, ramshackle, idiosyncratic newsstands that long graced our city’s streets began to vanish, replaced by “ticky tacky boxes,” the identical steel and glass street furniture brought to New York by the Cemusa company of Spain. When their task is completed, they will have installed 330 franchise locations, seizing over 200 once-private businesses from their long-time owners. (As the New York Times explained, "Before 2003, newsstand operators paid the city a licensing fee, but owned and paid for their newsstands and, under certain circumstances, could sell them. Now the newsstands are owned by Cemusa" and "the newsstand operators do not share in advertising revenues.")

Plans to replace the city’s newsstands have been in the works for years. It was part of Giuliani’s quality of life campaign. But it was Bloomberg who made it happen when he signed the street furniture bill in 2003, aiming, in his own words, “to rationalize the streets of the city, where right now it's a hodgepodge of unattractive things.”

That sentiment was hardly a new one. It seems the city has been waging war on its newsstands for the past century.


West 4th: Before


West 4th: After

In 1911, the city tried to revoke news vendors’ licenses for obstructing the sidewalks. The vendors revolted. William Merican, president of the Newsdealers’ Association, argued eloquently on their behalf, saying, “Why, there are some men who cannot eat their breakfast without a newspaper. Think of the women in the crush of the subway and elevated. They are exposed to every kind of indignity and hardship. They buy newspapers to make them forget their misery. If the public cannot get their newspapers on the street, they will find the inconvenience intolerable.” Mayor Harrison agreed and the newsstands stayed put.

Pressure to remove these so-called obstructions continued through the years and still goes on today. Along the way, every decade also had its “smut drive” to stop the sale of salacious materials. The city pushed and the vendors pushed back. But it was perhaps in 1923 that the unstoppable drive to beautify the newsstands was born.

The New York Times wrote that year, “Why should the sidewalk news stand remain in the architectural class of the squatter’s shanty and the chicken coop? Why shouldn’t it be beautiful or at least not offensive to the eye? The Municipal Art Society asks these questions and replies: ‘There is no reason why the news stand should not be in artistic harmony with the splendid skyscraper at whose feet it nestles.’” They offered the following design:



In 1950, the newsstands in the IND subway were to be “dolled up” with chrome, pastel colors, and attendants in uniform who were instructed to say “thanks.” In 1963, to “improve the city’s appearance for the New York World’s Fair” the newsstands got another proposed overhaul: “The gun-metal gray stands will be made of sturdy insulated steel with a baked enamel finish,” and come complete with heating, burglar alarms, and fluorescent lighting.

Throughout the 1970s, it seems the city was too busy with other issues to waste its time hassling news vendors. But in the 1980s, they were back at it. A competition was held in 1988 to redesign the stands. The winner said the old stands were “terribly disorganized. They also produce visual clutter because of their tendency to grow with add-on attachments.”


14th and 8th: Before


14th and 8th: After

I don’t know what became of all these plans and designs. Maybe a few of the old stands were replaced, here and there, but that only increased their variety. Even the overhaulers of 1988 wanted variety. Said architect Bartholomew Voorsanger, “What's appropriate for Fifth Avenue might not be right for the SoHo cast-iron district.” But Giuliani and Bloomberg wanted uniformity from one end of the city to the other, and that’s exactly what they’re getting. By the end of 2009 the job will be done. (Update: In 2011, it's still not complete.)

Until then, take time to enjoy the cluttered, unruly, iconoclastic newsstands that remain. Like birdwatching, hunting down the endangered stands, identifying their particular colors and characteristics, can be sport photography.


14th and 6th: Before


14th and 6th: After

While hunter green is the most popular color, they can also be found commonly in white, black, brown, and red. Some have striped fabric awnings that roll out, while others feature skylit overhangs or dilapidated duckbills. Some roofs are flat, others are pitched, and a few are topped with copper flashing and finials. One breed comes with heavy-duty storm lamps protected by metal cages, lending it a sturdy tugboat look. Here and there, a showpiece is found, like the Italian-made cast-iron pagoda at West 4th and 6th Ave, or the sprawling multigonal kiosk at Union Square Park.


1551 Broadway: Before


1551 Broadway: After
Some newsstands stand out as expressions of their owners’ personalities. A favorite in Harlem, Mike’s Newsstand and Candy Land, run by Michael Chappell out of a 75-year-old stand, features cartoon characters on its sign. Writes Mary Miles in Harlem Live, “This is more than just a location to get your daily newspaper and candy. It is a warm, friendly place where everyone knows each other.”


University near 9th: Before


University near 9th: After

Petrella’s Point was perhaps the most famous city stand. “For 30 years,” writes EV Grieve, “Adam Petrella ran the funky newstand with the directions at Bowery and Canal called Petrella's Point. (You might remember his portraits of Bruce Lee and Marilyn Monroe that adorned his stand.).” Petrella was removed in 2004. He died not long after. The remains of his stand are preserved in the City Reliquary.

In 2006, photographer Rachel Barrett began seriously capturing the old stands with her camera. On her website, where you can see samples from the collection, she writes, “I was driven by a sense of nostalgia, a need to hold on, a refusal to let go. Photographs allowed me to do that, not just document something but record the end of an era, the what was that will never be again.”


Union Square: Before


Union Square: After

Another victim of New York’s massive shift towards uniformity and away from the renegade eccentricities that long made our city great, these fading newsstands recall to mind the following words from Jackie Kennedy Onassis:

"Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of all her proud monuments, until there will be nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children? If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future? …this is the time to take a stand, to reverse the tide, so that we won't all end up in a uniform world of steel and glass boxes."

For these stands, it’s already too late.


See Also:
More Newsstand Deaths
Newsstand Slaughter
Hojo's Lost Newsstand
Another Newsstand
Union Square Newsstand
Jerry's Newsstand

All my newsstand photos on flickr

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

Don't forget--the Real Original Ray's closes this weekend. [Gothamist]

Tonight at St. Mark's Books: Reverend Jen and Jonathan Ames read and sign books at 7pm. [FB]

10/27: A lecture on Yiddish theater by David Freeland. [GVSHP]

Mars Bar the movie by Jonas Mekas. [EVG] & [OMFS]

Masks at the new Village Paper "Halloween Party Store" on 8th St:


Does your building need a tiny bedbug hotel? [NYO]

The former Navy Yard Cocktail Lounge gets wrapped in glass. [BSr]

Bloomberg sees the silver lining--OWS is a tourist attraction. [CNY]

More on those OWS Citibank arrests. [NYO]

Rocky's Italian

VANISHING

A reader called Rocky's Regular passed along word that Rocky's Italian Restaurant, on Mulberry and Spring, will soon be shutting its doors after more than 30 years in business.

The Regular says, "I was talking to Emma the owner about it, and my heart breaks for her. This restaurant is her life. She is a real New Yorker--a hard-working chick from the Bronx and such a part of the neighborhood."



The owner shares the news on Rocky's Facebook page:

"Rocky's Italian Restaurant ...first opened it's doors in the 70's and has been family owned and operated since myself (Emma) and Family took it over in 1994.....through the years we have welcomed friends, family, locals and tourist who come to Little Italy to enjoy a real authentic homestyle Italian meal....our dining room has become yours.

We look forward to continuing welcoming you to what we call home...but sadly we are forced to close our doors after many months of negotiations our landlord decided not to give us our renewal. He choose to give it to our neighbor Balaboosta Restaurant who is new to our neighborhood just about a year. So it is with deep regret that we will be shutting our doors the end of 2011."


Rocky's interior

Says Rocky's Regular, "It's the story of the old-school Italian joint vs. the foodie new kid on the block who gets all the attention in the press but doesn't have any soul."


*Update:
Eater talked to the owner of Balaboosta, who told them, "she will open a second location of her super successful falafel joint Taim in the location. And she wants to make it very clear, both to the people in the neighborhood and the restaurant world nostalgists, that this was not a standoff between her business and Rocky's. She was not the one to push them out."

Monday, October 24, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

The 99%: A Halloween costume suggestion from Uncle Sam's Army/Navy on West 8th--complete with handcuffs:


Call Cooper Union's president today--as the school decides on the fate of St. Mark's Books. [EVG]

Save the Coney boardwalk from turning concrete and plastic. [ATZ]

20x200 offers shots of CBGB by Joseph O. Holmes: "alone in the dark among the empty beer bottles and broken guitar strings and abandoned drum sticks, waiting in the silence for the shutter to close." [20x200]

A tiny library pops up in Williamsburg. [Curbed]

Remembering Manhattantown--and a block party without a block. [MF]

Following poet Hart Crane through the seedy Barbary Coast of Brooklyn now known as DUMBO. [ENY]

In Tompkins Square Park: "The resolution of the rat problem will lead to a cultural and ethnic cleansing of the park, leaving it to the yuppies and the middle-class families in the park." [SLES]

Look into the renovation of the Bowery's Prince Hotel and "see the direction of America’s economic future." [BNN]

New Waverly Revealed

We got a glimpse of the new Waverly diner recently that began to allay our fears that the beloved Village restaurant would turn into something sterile and unwelcoming after its renovation. Now, photographer Joe Quint offers an exclusive sneak peek that should provide great comfort.

He writes in, "I passed by this AM and Nick invited me in. The renovations look awesome and I can say with certainty that fears of the Waverly's demise (or suburbanization) are greatly exaggerated."


Joe Quint

Joe spoke about the renovations with Nick who said that "he's keeping the same basic look (right down to the 8x10s of the has-been actors and, yes, the eggs served in frying pans) but just giving everything a much-needed update. Longtime fans will not be disappointed in the least."

Photos of has-been actors! Eggs served in frying pans! Dark-wood paneling! And those watered-down oxblood, diamond-tufted naugahyde booths! It looks like the old Waverly already.


Joe Quint

When will it open? Nick told Joe "it'll be another 2-3 weeks...so figure a month and a half."


Joe Quint

Friday, October 21, 2011

More Newsstand Deaths

We hear the old newsstand on Water and Fulton has been Cemusaed. Grieve has a shot of how it was before, a battered green box, tough and reliable-looking, like an old lunchbox. And now it's another blank spot in the world.



In the Village, here's the one that replaced the lovely, lively brown stand at West 4th. Another nothingness.



What remains? Lately, the Village's newsstands have been slaughtered. But here's one lone survivor at 6th and Waverly. It's a beauty with its pitched roof and caged storm lights, its jaunty awning like the short bill of an umpire's cap, its hunter green coat of paint. How long will it last?



See Also:
Newsstand Slaughter
Hojo's Lost Newsstand
Another Newsstand
Union Square Newsstand
Jerry's Newsstand
Lots more about Bloomberg's destruction of the old newsstands
&
All my newsstand photos

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

Is it a real miracle? The Post reports that Zamperla's plan to shutter the Coney Island boardwalk is falling through--Ruby's and Paul's Daughter might be staying. [NYP]

Serenading for St. Mark's Books. [DNA]

On the little time capsule of Jones Street, Strider Records is shuttering. [Stupefaction]

The MONY weather beacon has lost its incandescent bulbs and neon for LED technology. [NYN]

Joe's Bar in the EV really, really looks closed. [EVG]

LaMama celebrates 50 years of theater. [LM]

Naomi Wolf on her arrest at Occupy Wall St: "if DHS now has powers to simply take over a New York City street because of an arrest for peaceable conduct by a middle-aged writer in an evening gown, we have entered a stage of the closing of America." [Guardian]

Harry Chong (Again)

VANISHING?

A reader in the Village spotted a FOR RENT sign in the window of the former Harry Chong Chinese laundry, now the Snip N Sip hair salon, and it looks like Snip N Sip is getting snipped in half.



The reader writes: "I asked the retro hairdresser next door what's up. He said he is staying but giving up the former Chinese laundry space. He said that he hopes whoever comes in keeps the 'Harry Chong' lettering on the windows. When I expressed skepticism that would happen, he added that the landlord would like the sign to stay too! I found this surprising as well as ironic if the landlord is the same one who doubled the rent which put them out of business."


gothamistllc's flickr, 2005

In 2006, Harry Chong was forced to close after 60 years on this corner. Locals called the Chinese hand laundry a "landmark"--photographers took its picture and painters painted it. They worried what would come to the spot, like a Starbucks or a Keith McNally restaurant, as reported in the Villager at the time. Instead, it became part of the hair salon, with prices from $80 - $180.

The salon opted to keep the HARRY CHONG lettering, while removing the words LAUNDRY and DRY-CLEAN.


Piro Patton, flickr, 2006

More vanished Chinese laundries:
Chin's
Lee's

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

Today at noon: Greet the Cooper Union president with song and pleas to save St. Mark's Books so it's not "fed to the sharks." [EVG]

Chelsea Hotel tenants under attack: "Eviction notices have been sent to tenants in several of the 80 rental units. Other tenants say their last rent checks weren't cashed." [NYDN]

Elaine's finds a buyer--and will likely be demolished. [NYO]

A multimedia look back at New York in the 1970s when "It wasn’t all crime and misery." [COS]

Popeye's Chicken gets a new space in Coney Island's Popper Building--and that means the weird little ragtag flea market will vanish. [ATZ]

An interview with filmmaker Josef Astor who is currently raising funds for his important film Lost Bohemia about the evicted tenants of Carnegie Hall. [NOTR]

Get your heartbeat drawn by artist Sasaki at the Ivy Brown Gallery in the Triangle Building. [IBG]

Chumley's Onscreen

The vanished city comes back to us, now and then, in scenes from old movies. You don't expect it, then there it is. You squint at the screen, thinking "Is it?" You recognize a piece of the decor or a certain familiar ambiance. It is.

Watching Woody Allen's lovely 1988 film Another Woman, a scene appears in Chumley's.



Chumley's before the collapse. Chumley's without the Sex & the City girls and the Wall Street guys who discovered it somewhere along the line and made it impossible except on quiet afternoons. Chumley's on a quiet afternoon where a philosophy professor, a stage actor, and a director are drinking together, playing out their drama. One says, "I used to be a devoted Brechtian." And it feels like the Village when the Village was the Village.

You wish the camera would pan across the entire space, capturing every detail of that lost world. But it doesn't. The scene is tight and brief. Then it shifts. It's over. And you remember that it's gone and you can never go back there again.

So you press "rewind."


2006, my flickr

Monday, October 17, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

The majority of New Yorkers love Occupy Wall Street. [NYO]

Bloomberg spent $5.6 million on his own PR to defend his record--and more to overcome "the challenge of convincing New York City voters that billionaire Mike Bloomberg was different." [NYO]

Big-time authors support OWS with Occupy Writers site. [NYM]

The corner of 1st and 13th seeks a chain store--in the former home of the late, great Mee Noodle shop. [EVG]

Should St. Vincent's Park be a privately owned public space or an AIDS memorial park? [NYT]

From the Facebook of Councilman Vincent Gentile: "Hinsch's is coming back! New owners are renovating but its still going to be Hinsch's! Owners from Skinflints made a deal with the landlord and saved the place. They're hoping to be open by November 1." More at Brooklyn Paper.

Enjoying a cheeseburger at Neptune in the EV. [MAD]

An interview with LES photographer Rebecca Lepkoff. [TLD]

10/26: Slavoj Zizek comes to St. Mark's Books. [FB]

10/29: Ruby's of Coney Island's closing party "after 77 years on the boardwalk."

Steve Jobs Ergo Sum

Last week, in preparation for the new iPhone launch, the Apple store in Chelsea removed all of the Steve Jobs memorial Post-It notes from their windows. While they were there, the notes gave us a glimpse into the hive mind of the Cult of Apple...

Read the whole post at The Grumbler.

Friday, October 14, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

Coming soon to a bike shop near you, free stickers from street etiquette artist Jason Shelowitz--made for sticking on cars and perfect for stirring up the bike-lane agita: "Please look out for cyclists before swinging door open."

photo: Jay Shells

Where will Mama and Papa Burger go once they're evicted from the Coney Island Boardwalk? [ATZ]

Tonight at MOMA: Joe Dante's 1968 Movie Orgy is coming--originally screened at the Fillmore East. [TFH]

Check out Every Night in Drag--Linda Simpson's vintage '80s and '90s photos of NYC's drag scene. [LS]

LES thieves get wise to the cluelessness of people who leave their stuff unattended. [EVG]

Bloomberg backs off evicting the Occupation of Wall Street. For now. [Gothamist]

New York's "new low." [SLR]

Shepard Fairey designs the Times Square Occupation invitation [WNYC]:

Visit Occupation Party

Thursday, October 13, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

Is the Holiday Cocktail Lounge doomed again? [EVG]

Having real, live homeless men sleeping in your boutique flophouse hotel is “an asset to the property," where underwear on a railing makes a good photo op. [NYT]

Celebrating American Neon. [NYN]

It's time for New York Comic Con. [NYCC]

Eugenides in Fort Greene attracts a "sea of horn-rimmed glasses." [CNY]

"why would anyone want a high-tech, $6,400 toilet?" Apparently, because it reminds them of their iPhone. [NYT]

"Now, everywhere you go, loudmouths will be addressing their pliant servant," the iPhone Siri. [Restless]

Bear Auto

VANISHED

In June, when the High Line's part two opened, I worried that the Firestone Bear auto shop would soon shutter. In July we first heard that the business had been given three months to live, but was fighting in court. Now, right on schedule, the shop has been emptied and surrounded by plywood. As Curbed reports, "the wrecked cars are gone, the tools cleared out and the 1-story garage is coming down."

That's how fast it happens.


Curbed: Bear Auto today--empty

One auto-related business or another has been on this corner lot for the past 70 years, but then the High Line arrived. And, as our local tipster told us in July, "The very expensive private school that is being built between 25th and 26th, a significant contributor to the High Line" might be interested in the space.


Bear Auto this summer--thriving

The closure of an auto-body shop may not break every heart, but it's another sign of how quickly and completely the High Line is destroying local, long-time, non-luxury businesses along its celebrated length. As AM New York recently wrote, "The lush green artery is killing off a chunk of New York’s entrepreneurial and gritty industrial past." Alan Brownfeld's third-generation auto business is fighting for its life. Even La Lunchonette--a French bistro on 18th and 10th since 1988--is under threat.

Who will be next?

Eagle Under Siege
Folsom Under High Line
Goodbye Poppy's
The Upper High Line

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Waverly Diner

After reports of the Waverly Diner's gutting for renovation, the place suddenly looked shut down and abandoned, with the neon sign gone from the front and ominous plywood in the windows--some decorated with "Yuppies go home" graffiti.


Last week

Had the renovation money run out? Was this another project dead in the water? Would we soon see a bank take over the corner?

All seemed lost.

But now the plywood has been taken down and, above the papered half of the windows, you can see new lighting fixtures and dark-wood paneling on the walls that recall the old Waverly.


New fixtures

From the limited view, the new Waverly looks a lot warmer than the original renderings would suggest.

There is hope.


Rendering by Jorge Fontan

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

*Everyday Chatter

Saturday: Occupy Tompkins Square Park with John Penley. [EVG]

Support the distribution of the wonderful film Lost Bohemia. [KS]

At Coney, say goodbye to "Hey Joey." [ATZ]

I am enthralled by the rediscovered 1950s street photography of Vivian Maier. [ENY]

Zizek speaks to Occupy Wall Street. [DM]

The shuttered Lukoil on 8th Ave. is now plywooded--in a time when Manhattan is losing its gas stations:


In case you missed Calvin Trillin at the Tenement Museum. [BB]

Romy flashes back to 2004 and Skyline Books. [WIC]

10/18: If you're in Philly, check out this discussion of Bloomberg's New York. [PENN]

10/18: Dan Clowes and Seth in conversation at Housing Works Bookstore. [FB]

10/25: See Reverend Jen, Faceboy, and Jonathan Ames at St. Mark's Bookshop.