A somewhat belated post about last week, when the Coen Brothers took over a block of E. 9th Street and transformed it, storefront by storefront, into a dreamscape of Greenwich Village circa 1961.
more photos on my flickr
It was a treat to walk down that block, lined with antique cars, and to step back in time, in a way.
There was the Kettle of Fish, before it was taken over by Wisconsinites and became a home of Packer fandom in so-called "Little Wisco." I went to the real Kettle of Fish when I first arrived in the city, hoping to find some kind of bohemians, poets, like there used to be--but all I found were frat-boy types. It was my first disappointment.
The Coens also created a faux used bookshop. I gazed longingly at it, wishing it were real. It looked so inviting, so tempting, with its flopped-out awning and carts loaded with books--a dying thing that once seemed indestructible, eternal. It hurt to look at it.
Remember when bookstores were everywhere in the city? It wasn't long ago--not 1961, but 2001.
There was a poetry cafe, too, called the Gaslight. The next day, it went back to being an artisanal beer shop.
I kept thinking about the choices the Coens made. The storefronts they created all seemed to belong to a certain category: dive bar, poetry cafe, bookshop, record shop, thrift shop. All things vanishing and vanished, all things once so integral to the city.
There's not much to say about it, really, except that it made me feel melancholy and wistful, walking down that make-believe street, and I wondered if the New York I once loved will only be permitted to exist in Hollywood sets.