Thursday, March 29, 2012

Soy Cafe

VANISHING

After about a decade on Greenwich Avenue at Jane Street, Soy Cafe is closing on April 14 due to rising rent.


click to read Soy's goodbye note

I like Soy Cafe, in part, because they hate cell phones and they have signs like this:



It was also the first (and only) place where I saw the great "More Jane Jacobs, Less Marc Jacobs" postcard on display, which led to the slogan getting on t-shirts.

But the winds of the new New York blow fierce. No matter how hard you fight them, the relentless forces of Marc Jacobs, Inc., and the iPhone zombies just keep coming. And they love a prime corner spot.



P. S. Most mornings, a clock repair man sits on one of the benches outside Soy Cafe. He reads a book in an Eastern European language and waits for the workday to begin next door at Timepieces, the watch and clock shop. He isn't overtly friendly. He doesn't smile or make conversation. He just sits and waits for the moment when the shop opens so he can get to work repairing clocks and watches.

I guess he won't be sitting there anymore--and I wonder if now we should worry about the clock shop, too. They have the same landlord.



P.P.S. I know it looks like a candidate, but Soy Cafe was not the original location of Hopper's Nighthawks diner.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

World of Video

VANISHING

After 29 years in Greenwich Village, World of Video will be closing on April 28. They have lost their lease.



A sign in the window, covered with handwritten well wishes and goodbyes, reads: "It is with great sadness we are forced to announce World of Video will be closing its doors forever. We have shared great entertainment, engaged in casual and often personal conversation..."



"Can you believe it," asked a man reading the sign.

"Netflix," I said.

"I rent here and I have Netflix," he said, "so I guess I'm as guilty as the next guy."

"We all are," I conceded.

A woman stopped by with her dog. "Bummer," she said. "Here comes another goddamn Marc Jacobs."

Expanding So. Brooklyn

In 2008, former East Villager Kati Duncan began turning the 45-year-old Ukrainian packing and shipping shop Cosmos Parcels on 1st Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets into a jazz cafe called La Rokara. The work was never completed and Duncan, with a 25-year lease, sublet the space instead to South Brooklyn Pizza.

Now, Duncan told JVNY, she and South Brooklyn Pizza are in a legal brawl.


2000?, detail from Jim & Karla Murray

In September 2010, the pizza mini-chain took over the space next door, formerly occupied by Ruben's Empanadas (and before that, by the Caprice Curls Beauty Salon). They put a part-time art gallery inside temporarily, and today the space is plywooded for South Brooklyn's expansion.

Kati Duncan is not happy. She wrote in an email, "The trouble now is that Jim [South Brooklyn's owner] took over the Rubens Empanadas location adjacent to Rokara (without telling us), and has taken down the wall between the two stores (also done without our knowledge even though we hold a 25 year lease there). So now we're in court."


today

In the Memorandum of Law, as written by Duncan's lawyer and forwarded by Duncan, it states: "Plaintiff [South Brooklyn Pizza], a real estate developer and now restaurateur, coveted Rokara’s [Duncan's] primary lease from the beginning, saw that Rokara was a distressed business and had no income and little experience, and seized the opportunity to squeeze Rokara out of its valuable leasehold."

Duncan's lawyer says that South Brooklyn Pizza is "encouraging the Overlandlord to bring an eviction proceeding" against her, so they can take over the lease.

Duncan says she hopes to keep her lease, but "I don't know if that's possible now that the two stores are one."

More about this block:
1st at 7th and 8th
Kurowycky Meats
Kim's Is Coming

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beatrice Inn Neon

On a recent evening I was walking by the poor, old Beatrice Inn. The falling light was just right, buttery and blushed, so I snapped a photo of the battered neon sign, wondering what would happen to it now that Graydon Carter is (partially) taking over. The next day I got the answer.



When you walk by and find the sign vanished, don't despair. It has been removed by Let There Be Neon and they've been commissioned to restore the sign back to glory. You might remember them from their fantastic work on 42nd Street's PEEP-O-RAMA sign.

Let There Be Neon's Jeff Friedman sent in some photos of the sign, currently at their shop, and answered a few questions about what's to come. Unlike the Fedora sign, which was replaced with a replica, the Beatrice Inn sign will be rehabilitated, rust and all.


Jeff Friedman

What are the new owners asking you to do with the sign?

What they've asked us to do is get it working. What we are going to do is: remove all neon (all broken), gently brush off sign faces, clear coat faces for protection so that existing patina rust is stuck in time and cannot be cleaned by some moron, repair/remake neon as required, replace all housings, transformers and secondary wiring, add new disconnect switch (a good thing), remount neon, reinstall.

In your email, you said "the best news is that the owner agrees not to correct the rust and leave as is." What is it about leaving the rust that you like?

It's patina. It would be a travesty to clean too much or repaint the lettering. It's phony. Rust is good.


Jeff Friedman

So, in the end, we'll have a beautifully rusted sign with new neon?

Yes, beautiful. Some of the neon will be original.


Jeff Friedman

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Graydon Carter plans to open the Beatrice Inn in about five weeks. We'll have more to report once the sign is completely rehabbed and back in place. In the meantime, join Let There Be Neon's Facebook page for more neon news.


See Also:
Peep-O-Rama
New York Neon
Fedora Sign
Jade Mountain Found

Monday, March 26, 2012

*Everyday Chatter

Many tears on the last night of the great Bill's Gay 90s. [DJ]

Lost City unearth's some of Bill's secrets. [LC]

Maybe "Girls" will be good--Emily Nussbaum says so. But will it be an antidote to the ravages of SATC? [NYM]

Columbia's demolition in eminent-domained Manhattanville causes collapse and death. [NYO]

The films of Sara Driver at Anthology: "New York really did have magic then, because it was such an empty city. It was very cheap to live here. You could have a job in a Xerox store and pay your rent and have your food. People didn’t want to be here…and the people who were, really wanted to be here.” [AFA]

RADAR Lab, queer-centric lit at the Strand. [CNY]

Susie Bright recalls the dirty days of the Meatpacking District. [SB]

"Find a new city," said Patti Smith. How about Detroit? [NYM]

Recently, at Astor Place--thank goodness for Mr. Silver:

Peep World

VANISHING

Today is the last day for Peep World, the porn shop across from Madison Square Garden. The cashier told me they are closing for good tonight at 6:00.



Go before it's too late. They're having a major "closing down sale"-- all DVDs are $5 (except for the bestiality movies, which go for $10).



The upstairs, where once were "live girls," is closed and packed with cardboard boxes and other junk. The walls are hung with the usual latex goods--synthetic penises and vaginas--along with vibrating eggs, pumps, clamps, and plush-lined handcuffs in friendly cotton-candy colors. The toys are also on sale--"Everything must go."



In the back, where a sign says "No Hanging Around," men hang around. They lean against the buddy booths, waiting for other men to step inside. They lurk and leer, hands in their pockets or fanning dollar bills.



To watch the videos, you get a handful of neatly folded one-dollar bills in exchange for a ten and step into a private booth. The videos are vivid, an onslaught of images, parts slamming into parts. A woman does unfathomable things with a stallion. A man does unfathomable things with his interior organs. In another, a woman with a cane falls onto the floor outside her apartment door as she struggles with her groceries. Luckily, her muscled, shirtless neighbor is there to help--and he likes women with canes.



Many people will be glad to hear Peep World has vanished. They will say it was an offense for one reason or another. Of course, what's to come won't be viewed as worse.

We learned last summer that Peep World will be turned into another branch of Murray Hill's Overlook Lounge, known as "The Home of the Oklahoma Sooners." They specialize in hot wings and pommes frites, and feature a TV screen at every booth tuned to a sporting event. Their customers are often seen dressed in mardi gras beads and football jerseys for out-of-town teams.

As the Overlook's owners told DNA, they "plan to spend several million dollars" to turn Peep World into "a very large gastropub." And so goes the way of all flesh in current-day New York.



See all my Peep World pictures


Also read:
Peep-O-Rama
Show World
Adult Bookstores
Parisian Danceland

Secret Peeps
Freakologist

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Books to Bar

After planning to do so for years, Strip House has finally expanded into the former space of once-beloved 12th Street Books.


today

In 2008, decade-old 12th Street Books shuttered when their lease ended and the landlord hiked the rent.

Upscale chain restaurant Strip House (which replaced 75-year-old Asti) was slated to take over the spot before the bookstore had even closed, but they did not move in right away. The downstairs space stayed empty for four years, growing more blighted by the day--and we sorely missed our bookstore.


2011

During those four years, 12th Street Books relocated to Brooklyn and became The Atlantic Book Shop. Sadly, it did not last. In May 2011, that bookstore also shuttered. It has not, to my knowledge, reopened again.

The Strip House Grill, once a haven of books, is now serving filet mignon sandwiches and "lobster frites."

Is it better than a bikini wax?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

*Everyday Chatter

Remember the BMW Guggenheim Lab in the East Village that many people wrote angry blog comments about? In Berlin, left-wing activists shut the project down with threats of violence. "Their protest was that the project would accelerate the gentrification of Kreuzberg, leading to higher rents and new luxury residential developments." Another good reason to move to Berlin. [Atlantic]

Bloomberg bans food donations to the homeless. CBS asks, "Has The Mayor Totally Eaten Away At The Public's Desire To Do Good?" [CBS]

Graydon Carter on New York and money: "Somewhere along the way, New York became all about money. Or rather, it was always about money, but it wasn’t all about money, if you know what I mean. New York’s not Geneva or Zurich yet, but we’re certainly heading in that direction..." [VF]

Remembering New York School artist and writer Joe Brainard. [LOA]

New York City loses another cobbler due to doubling rents. [PMFA] via [Gothamist]

Torrisi, the people taking over Rocco's space, are raising their prices. [Eater]

EV's Zum Schneider gets all Hamptons. [Grub]

NYU: Helping the Village keep its character? [Villager]

Check out the Art & Psyche in the City conference--plus a "Dream-Over" at the Rubin Museum.

Jade Mountain Found

From 1931 to 2007, the two gorgeous neon signs of the Jade Mountain Chinese restaurant glowed on Second Avenue in the East Village like a beacon. When the restaurant closed, taken over by Shoolbred's, the Chow Mein sign stayed lit for awhile, and the Jade Mountain sign remained hidden on the rooftop.


Photo from warsze

Last summer, CHOW MEIN vanished and we watched the beautiful Jade Mountain sign get crushed, then carted away. My emails to the owners of Shoolbred's, asking for the whereabouts of the signs, went unanswered. My pleas to save the signs fell on deaf ears. Until now.

Thomas Rinaldi of New York Neon shares the very exciting news that the signs have been salvaged.


July 2011

A mysterious someone called only "Kathleen in Canada," reports Rinaldi, first tracked the Chow Mein sign to the building contractor's junkyard where she found the treasure "partially dismantled, its neon tubes knocked out and metal faces folded over themselves, literally tossed on the scrap pile." She found the Jade Mountain sign in another location and in better shape.

Says Rinaldi, "the signs are now tucked away for safe keeping in a Bronx warehouse, awaiting restoration."


NY Neon

We don't know what Kathleen in Canada has planned for the signs after their rescue and restoration, but we can hope that she intends to make them available for everyone in New York City to enjoy. The last place they belong is on some collector's condo wall.


NY Neon

Read more:
Jade Mountain Closes
Save the Signs
Signs Vanish

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

*Everyday Chatter

Keep the Eldorado of Coney Island alive--and "bump your ass off!" [ATZ]

Save Kate's Joint from eviction. [EVG]

The dusty wonders of Phil's Stationery store. [Racked]

See which neighborhoods artists are colonizing next--and was colonization always the goal? [NYT]

The girls of Williamsburg:


Watch the Woody Allen documentary on streaming PBS. [NYO]

The secrets of 666 6th Avenue. [FNY]

A tour of Bob Dylan's Village. [TWM]

"Brooklynized" bottled water is something that exists. And it comes from Florida. [Grub]

March 31: See the Vanishing City at Dixon Place. [DP]

Zombie Spring

It's the first day of spring, but it has felt like spring for weeks already. Global warming is well upon us. All these unseasonably balmy days have forced the flowers and pressured the trees to bud before their time. The downsides, of course, are coastal flooding, mass extinction, and malnutrition due to falling crop yields. In New York City, the warming has also brought about the unfortunate premature return of smartphone zombies...

Read the rest at The Grumbler
.


click to enlarge, illustration by Victor Kerlow

Monday, March 19, 2012

Carmine's 2 Years Later

Two years ago, Carmine's at the Seaport was forced to close after 107 years in business when the landlord raised the rent to $13,000 a month.

Today it's still gutted and empty. In this depressing photo sent in from reader Frank, all that remains of Carmine's is the pressed-tin ceiling.



The Five Guys burger chain people were supposed to bring an upscale steakhouse here, but that was announced a year ago and the "For Lease" signs are still on Carmine's facade.

As Frank says, "Wouldn't it have been better to keep Carmine's in business and get some kind of rent, instead of nothing for the past two years?"


my flickr, 2008

Thursday, March 15, 2012

*Everyday Chatter

Today is Egg Cream Day--who knew? So go check out these places--and these--for delicious egg creams. [EGD]

Walking Greenwich Avenue. [FNY]

Dig into the neon sign design archives of Artkraft Strauss. [NYN]

Freaked out in Brooklyn's last porno theater. [TWM]

“One day, you’re going to come to Coney Island and just gasp—‘Oh my god, it’s not that beautiful anymore,’” Carolyn McCrory said, eyes wide. “You’re going to feel it in your bones.” She was wearing an orange peacock dress, and her curly golden tresses added to the carnival air in the meeting, a mix of working class and Wonder Wheel. [NYO]

The evolution of Max Fish. [EVG]

Live at the Fillmore East. [BB]

Please don't hug the subway pole. [Gothamist]

NYC gets yet another Wisconsin-themed foodie establishment. [Eater]

Bear Auto Paved

The Bear auto body shop, tucked under the High Line at 10th and 26th, put out of business and demolished, is now a parking lot.


today

The business had been here for over 30 years. But when we watched the second part of the High Line open in June we wondered, "How long will the tourist machine tolerate this industrial view from the High Line's new 'viewing spur' before the Firestone Bear Auto Center is suddenly put out of business?"

Soon after, we heard of Bear Auto's demise. A tipster spoke to an employee and told us that Bear Auto was fighting their landlord in court, and that the expensive private school going up next door wanted their space for a parking lot. The realtor posted a listing with a dreamed-up retail space on the spot.


Summer 2011


Fall 2011


Winter 2011

In December, after Bear Auto closed, local mechanic Alan Brownfeld (also pushed out by hiked rent) told us that the High Line's devastating impact on the once-thriving "Gasoline Alley" had "gotten so bad...the son of the guy who ran Bear Auto killed himself, jumped from a seven-story window."


today

Today there's no trace of the auto-body shop left on the corner. The parking lot is gated by a thick metal fence, giving the cars their privacy.


See Also:
The Upper High Line
Kamco
Brownfeld Auto
Eagle Under Siege
Folsom Under High Line
Goodbye Poppy's
Bear Auto

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Jump's Ghost Signs

Frank Jump has been photographing and collecting the ghost signs of New York City since 1997. Most recently, he published many of his photos, along with essays, in the excellent book Fading Ads of New York City. This Sunday, March 18, he leads a walking tour of the ghost signs of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, beginning with a talk at Word bookstore.

I asked Frank some questions about his work and the upcoming tour.


Frank Jump

What are some of the highlights people can expect on the ghost sign tour of Greenpoint?

The Greenpoint gem will always be Syrup of Figs. Once painted over, as the paint that covers it chips away, this fading ad just keeps getting better. I need to scope out some of the route because some that I think are there may no longer be there. There is a great corset ad on Manhattan Avenue and an old depot sign on the back of someone's apartment on Nassau. Flushing Avenue going down into Williamsburg has a few treasures from the not too distant past, as is with the Ko-rec-type ad.

We can also see if the Public Baths is still there on Huron. Miss Heather will be there too, hopefully, and she will be a treasure-trove of trivia for the Greenpoint environs. Great graffiti near the northern tip of Manhattan Avenue near Newtown Creek.

What would you say makes Syrup of Figs the gem that it is?

The black paint that once covered it is slowly peeling away and it is like a reverse fading ad. It is a one of a kind. Castoria ads were abundant but this one advertises an obscure brand and still lives on. The brand, however, does not.


Frank Jump

What NYC ghost signs have you been wanting to photograph, but have been unable to?

Just recently a sign was uncovered in Middle Village Queens and because I was just hit by a car on my motorcycle, I couldn't get to it and it was covered within days. Was always wondering if the Weber & Heilbroner sign is still hiding behind one of those stretchy ads.

I would like to take another trip though the Bronx (where there is a multitude of ads) during the winter when the foliage isn't obscuring your views, as well as Staten Island which seems to be at a deficit for ads.

On an emotional level, what feelings go through you when you see something like a giant flip-flop being painted over a beloved ghost sign?

On one level, I am annoyed that other airspace was not considered. With all of the available airspace in Soho, why not use another location? Since this is a prime airspace and the landmarks rules don't apply, you can't stand in the way of progress. Be that as it may, on another level, I rationalize that 1) the paint that covers the vintage ad is made of plastic and will eventually peel, and 2) the long tradition of hand-painted ads on brick continues through Colossal Media's talented team of designers and artists.


my flickr

Finally, what's your favorite NYC ghost sign of all time? What's the vanished ghost sign you miss the most? What ghost sign do you worry most will vanish soon?

Favorite: M. Rappoport's Music. Favorite vanished: Reckitt's Blue. And it would be a shame if Suzy Perette got covered.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

*Everyday Chatter

In the East Village, people leaving clothes on the sidewalk for the homeless are getting awfully fussy (and bossy) about the whole thing:


Met Foods has removed the Ratner's "R" from their floor--but we still have the mosaic wall. [EVG]

A lovely ode to the dearly departed Manganaro's, its ladies, and its neon. [NYN]

Landlord of Harlem's famed and fabulous Lenox Lounge hikes the rent--and the owner is out. [NYDN]

Author Christopher Bollen recalls life in a Williamsburg that has changed dramatically in just 10 years. [PRD]

Dean Haspiel puts the Montero Bar & Grill into a comic. [TC]

Some of the irritating young women who came like locusts to live Sex & the City lives have realized that's just a fantasy and are moving to LA. [Gothamist]

A "manifesto of gentrification" in photographs of Park Slope. [NYT]

Help preserve the mural at the former Victor's Cafe. [LW]

Last week, the Odessa cash mob drew a dozen neighborhood folks, including bloggers C.O. Moed, Goggla, Marty, Melanie, and One More Folded Sunset, many of whom covered the event in their blogs. What's next for the mobbing?

Harry Chong Gone

The last remnants of the Harry Chong Chinese laundry have vanished. Reader Ian sends in this photo of workers in action, scraping the red lettering from the window of the recently rented space.



In October, we noted that the space was for rent as the Snip N Sip beauty parlor reduced its size in half. Our tipster at the time reported that the hairdresser "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!"

The skeptic was correct, unfortunately.


Piro Patton, flickr, 2006

Pushed out after 60 years in business here, Harry Chong originally had additional signage on its windows--reading "LAUNDRY" and "DRY CLEAN." Now, there's nothing left.

By nightfall, the windows were bare.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Roxy Luncheonette

VANISHING?

A few years ago I wandered into the Roxy Luncheonette down on John Street, between Broadway and Nassau, where I never wander. It's a lovely little gem that has survived since 1944. At the time I wrote, "It's got everything a luncheonette should have: chrome swivel stools, a quilted stainless steel backsplash, and good egg creams."

Now a reader writes in to say the Roxy is about to vanish.



"The construction down here is awful," says reader Frank, who lives in the neighborhood. Six different construction projects are happening all at once on John Street--including a new dorm and hotel. The local Downtown News calls it the "Hammers of Hell."

"It's been going on forever and the Roxy just won't make it," Frank writes. "I never see anyone in there. Who would want to go? It's so loud with all the jackhammering, and the streets are torn up something awful. The owner says he'll need to close in a few months in this video (at the 50-second mark)."



"How long do you think you can stay in business with this going on," the reporter asks the Roxy's owner, referring to the construction nightmare.

"Couple more months," says the owner, who has been at the Roxy for 36 of its 68 years. "Maybe a few more months."

"I hope you're wrong," the reporter replies.

The owner shakes his head, "No, I'm not."


Roxy blocked by a backhoe

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Haring Bathroom

Yesterday the recently restored Keith Haring mural "Once Upon a Time" was opened for public viewing at the LGBT Community Center on West 13th Street.


Center site

The mural was painted in 1989 on the walls of what was then a men's bathroom. "Completed months before he died of AIDS," writes the Center's website, "this mural is perhaps Haring’s most personal and resonant expression of sexual jouissance."

That jouissance means you won't see the likes of it being reproduced on any Houston Street walls--the work is chock-full of penises and sperm.



The fairy-tale title speaks perhaps to a lost innocence and sexual freedom dashed by the AIDS crisis.

To walk into the Haring Bathroom is to enter a monochromatic fun-house of fucking. Anything goes. Above white toilet tiles, curling around water pipes and ductwork, headless male bodies twist and entwine with giant phalluses. Tiny men shoot from the ends of penises to splash soggily onto the backs of other bodies.



Penises grow human heads with mouths that suck the toes of other human shapes that in turn contort into Mobius-strips of sucking, performing Escher-like convolutions as one body part morphs into another. Negative space becomes positive. Hollows turn into solids that penetrate other hollows--assholes, mouths, and other unnameable orifices.

A ceramic sign in the wall insists that you "wash your hands before leaving this room."



The Haring Bathroom will be open to the public until the end of March, when it becomes a meeting room again.

On March 30, the Center will wrap up their month of Haring events with a free screening of the 1990 documentary Drawing the Line, followed by a panel discussion featuring the artist's friends and contemporaries who "will offer their memories about Keith Haring, the 1989 Center Show, the East Village scene, and the art world that once was."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bleecker Timeline

Since western Bleecker Street's unprecedented luxury boom began in 2001, approximately 44 small businesses have vanished and been replaced with upscale shopping mall chains. Let it sink in: 44 long-time neighborhood businesses, every single one of them gone, in about a decade. How did it happen? We've looked at it before, but I keep trying to get my head around it, so I made a timeline.


cupcake dancers


The Wave Begins

2000: Sex & the City's Carrie Bradshaw bites into a pink-frosted Magnolia cupcake--the cupcake that launched a thousand luxury boutiques.

2001: The New York Times reports on Marc Jacobs' arrival on Bleecker. Said Jacobs' president Robert Duffy, "If I could have 20 stores on Bleecker Street, I would." He plunks down three at a time. (Now there are six within a few blocks.) Later, a Marc Jacobs employee explains to the Villager, "Our goal was to take advantage of the huge concentration of young people who flooded into the area, especially with the ‘Sex and the City’ show."

2002: Ralph Lauren follows Marc Jacobs and opens his first Bleecker store. (Now there are three.)

2004: Intermix arrives, along with many, many more upscale shops. Several long-time businesses are pushed out by massive, incomprehensible rent hikes.


shirt by Mike Joyce


The Tipping Point

2005: The New York Times files a giddy report on the new Bleecker Street. Retail space is renting for $300 per square foot, up from $75 in 2002. Monthly rents are at $25,000. Says one realtor, "Marc Jacobs has done on Bleecker Street what it did on Melrose Place in Los Angeles."

New York Magazine publishes a major profile of the Bleecker boom in an article on micro-neighborhoods: "Soho took fifteen years to become a handbag colony. Bleecker took only three." One local shopper complains, "I’m not so happy about the Guccis and the Polos coming in here. It seems like we’re losing our neighborhood feel."




The Aftershocks Keep Rolling

2007: Condomania shutters after 16 years due to "skyrocketing rents."

2008: Nusraty Afghan Imports is pushed out after 30 years--the rent spikes to $45,000 a month (a Brooks Brothers moved in). Eve Salon closes after 25 years (Jack Spade moved in).

2009: Biography Bookshop is priced out after 25 years.

2010: Luxury gets a big second wind and rents along Bleecker climb to $500 per square foot. A Marc Jacobs bookstore moves into Biography's spot. Treasures & Trifles antiques shutters after 44 years. Leo Design antiques shutters after 15 years. Toons Thai restaurant closes after 25 years.

2011: Jo Malone and Freeman's Sporting Club open shop, pushing Bleecker's luxury wave well past the 10th Street borderline. Etc. Grocery newsstand shutters and becomes a Goorin Brothers hat shop. The park on Bleecker is shut down and renovated into something fancier.

2012: One of western Bleecker's oldest and last remaining holdouts, A Clean, Well-Lighted Place gallery and frame shop shutters after 36 years.



Look at those numbers. Rents shot from $75 to $300 per square foot in 3 years, then to $500 in another 5 years. Monthly rents went from an already elevated $25,000 to $45,000 in just 3 years (and the $45,000 was 3 years ago--how much is it now?). Over 200 years of combined business lifetimes were wiped out in 3 years--and much more I didn't cover here.

So when people say to you, "New York has always changed--it's normal, get over it," point them to the far end of Bleecker Street. Show them the numbers. There's nothing normal about it.