Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Five Rose's Pizza


While I realize few people will be reading this tonight or tomorrow, I have some sad news to report: Five Rose's Pizza on 1st Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets is closing. Saturday (11/29) will be the last day.

The tip came in from The Shadow's Chris Flash who writes that the "pizza is soooo special, with that crunchy crust that no other pizzeria can accomplish. It reminds me of the pizza I use to enjoy in NYC as a kid that is no longer available."

I went to say goodbye and chat with Christina, the proprietor and cook, a warm and lovely person who will touch your arm when she talks to you and call you "honey" at least a dozen times. While I was there, people came to bid farewell, hugging Christina and posing for pictures. John from DeRobertis across the street came bearing pastries.

Christina has been at Five Rose's for 27 years. It was her first job when she arrived in New York City from Poland in 1981. Eight years ago she became the owner. Now the landlords and original owners are hiking up the rent and Christina must move on.

[UPDATE 1/09: A daughter of the original owner wrote in to The Villager to correct information in a letter: "The fact is that the store’s current owner informed us that she was not going to continue running the store and that she would be closing. Since there was no discussion about future rent, her rent was not increased! She just decided to close." Upon the shop's closure, her family displayed historic, personal photos in the window, as reported by EV Grieve.]

The neighborhood has changed so much, Christina noted. The sidewalks are crowded with kids come to get drunk. It used to take her 10 minutes to walk to the F train, now it takes 20, "And all the way, it's excuse me, excuse me--they're bumping into me, all the way down honey!"

Christina is looking forward to a much needed vacation of 6 weeks in Krakow to visit family. She hopes to move the pizza place to a new location by March or April, maybe on 4th Street and Avenue A. She'll keep us posted with a note in the window of Something Sweet, the bakery on the corner.

She laments the timing, and the fact that many people will come back to town from Thanksgiving and be shocked to find her gone. So if you're in town and not too stuffed with leftover turkey, go on Saturday when Christina will be setting up a table full of pies for all her fans--and while you're there, say a prayer to the Virgin Mary that Christina's crunchy-crust pizza will live to see another day.

*Everyday Chatter

Some good news for fans of the P&G Bar: "Mr. Chahalis now plans to reopen the 66-year-old neighborhood institution just a few blocks away, after signing a new 20-year lease on the former Evelyn lounge space at 380 Columbus Avenue; same familial name, same friendly service." But can they take that gorgeous neon sign with them? [NYO]

...And will it fit over the Evelyn Lounge? Kind of amazing the P&G would replace a joint once frequented by mochatini-drinking, "cash-wadded, stogie-smoking" types.

Tenants stick it to landlord in the EV with tumor teardowns. Maybe the 7th St tumor will be next. [Curbed]

The IKEA hellhole pic? It's the real deal. Ham Hock adds a nice wide shot with lots of real details:

With cobblers doing well in the new economy, more reason to cry for Fontana's and hope for David's (he's still on the ropes, so bring him your tired soles!). [NYDN]

Visit Gowanus Canal in the 1970s. [GL]

Greenpoint turning into Park Slope? Cause it smells like babies. [NYS]

Holiday Cheer

As the shuttered, 30-something liquor store on Chelsea's doomed block of 9th emptied out, up from the basement came water-damaged cartons of Kahlua, champagne, and liqueurs in curvy, dusty bottles.

The junker crew loaded most of it into a truck, but they also good-naturedly handed some out to a few locals, who loaded their arms with free booze by the box and jug, then strode off down 9th Avenue in a celebratory mood.

One man soon showed up with a shopping cart. He had met this band of booze peddlers on the street and was pleased to have acquired from them a gift box of Kahlua complete with decorative glassware for one dollar.

"It's my wife's favorite," he said. "I put it on the table, just so, with a pack of cigarettes, so she'll find it when she comes home. She'll be so happy."

He eventually walked away with a case of sparkling wine. At least someone on that block has something to be thankful for tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

Why, oh why is Anthony Bourdain filming at Sophie's? We almost lost it once already. [EVG]

Caught in the act: "Gays Give Rabies" guy--no vandal can escape the many cameras of our panopticon metropolis. [improv] via Gothamist

The battle for Washington Square Park: "We all want to write our desires on New York. But in a metropolis of eight million overlapping voices, that is rarely possible." [NYT]

From the Vanishing pool, a look at what lurks behind Red Hook's IKEA by Ham Hock:

Is NYC heading back to the 70s? [Brownstoner]

In the midst of collapse, should the Mets' new CitiField be renamed ShitiField? [RS]

Tensions still linger at the shuttered, evicted, booted, and be-hipped Breslin Hotel. [NYO]

Monday, November 24, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

New subways: Now complete with hall monitors. [NYT]

Coney's Astroland is vanishing as we speak. Don't look. [GL]

Status-seeking parents already lining up to shell out $1500 for a big Marc Jacobs stroller. Do not get in their way. [Racked]

The fate of shoeshine men in the big, sinking city. [NYT]

The latest blow to New York's "romantic urban neuroticism." [RS]

Another well-argued case against Bloomberg's way--to take home with you over the holidays and convince your family to vote him out. [EVG]

Flow on down the Flushing. River, that is. [FNY]

How Duane Reade serves our city as a Memento Mori, a reminder that all must die. [GVDP]

Chelsea Liquors

In March, I reported that the block of 9th Ave between 17th and 18th is going to be shut down, store by store, by the new landlord. The closings have begun.

After 30 years, Chelsea Liquors has shuttered. Owner Brian Rhee, who spoke out against the landlord's plan at last May's protest, is emptying the store today. The lights are out on that old neon sign.

Eagle Clothes

The Eagle Clothes sign. You see it from the train as you ride over the viaduct. You catch a glimpse walking on 4th Avenue, in between the condo towers that rise to block the view. Dark at night, still bright in sunlight, brilliant red and green. Maybe, like me, you wonder what Eagle was all about and if their sign will stay.

ForgottenNY explains, "Eagle is one of the many haberdasheries that succumbed to more casual living during the Swingin' Sixties. As more men began to eschew suits, jackets and ties during all but strict business hours, clothing manufacturers had to adapt or die."

Eagle began to languish when the leisure suit, "the kiss of death," came on the scene, according to a former employee interviewed by New York Magazine. For him, the Gowanus sign is "like a tombstone. The end of the world I knew." And what a beautiful world it was:

1940s Eagle ads from goantiques

Eagle had been around for awhile when the Gowanus plant opened in June of 1951. On opening day, Mayor Impellitteri cut the tape and recalled his Sicilian mother's toil with sweatshop work, while Rose Schneidermann, Triangle Shirtwaist survivor, marveled at the safe, modern facility:

New York Times, click to enlarge

In 1957, Rock Hudson posed in their suits, an eagle coming to rest on his shoulder, the epitome of mid-century masculinity. What would Don Draper wear?

Eagle Clothes is mentioned in a 1958 issue of the journal American Speech, in a fascinating little article entitled "Some Popular Components of Trade Names." The article looks at the trend of suffixes like -master, -matic, and -rama (Roadmaster! Futurematic! Glamorama!). "Rama," says the author, dates back to the days of Balzac and means a "spectacular show or display." Eagle jumped on the -rama bandwagon with their Naturama line, as noted in this slice of the article's fantastic and exhaustive listing of -rama usages (click to enlarge):

By the late 1970s, as low-end leisure and high-end tailor-made suits did well, Eagle was failing. They filed for bankruptcy. Then, after a few acquisitions, they turned around and managed to survive most of the 1980s. In 1989, however, they filed for bankruptcy again and that's where the electronic paper trail ends.

Which brings us back to the sign. For more than half a century, the sign has heralded Gowanus. With all the hubbub of development vying for that poisoned land, I'm worried about it.

Over a year ago, Gowanus Lounge revealed that a Karl Fischer design was going to be landing here, a big blue-glass tower like all the other blue-glass towers, developed by the same guy who brought Hotel Le Bleu to 4th Avenue. He told Brooklyn Paper, "This area is becoming modern, trendy and new. The glass is part of that."

So far, all that exists of that glass tower is the sign that says it's coming, accompanied by another sign that says: Future Home of Greg's Express Rubbish Removal. So, who knows?

view from Hotel Le Bleu

With Gowanus possibly slipping back into de-gentrification as Whole Foods dickers, and with the bear economy wearily limping into hibernation, maybe the sign still has a chance.

In the New York Magazine article cited above, a local ironworker sees a long future for the Eagle sign. Despite the city's surplus of cranes and demolition men, he assures us, "It is made of 33 1/4-inch steel pipes. You'd need a crane to take it down. So it stays."

More Gowanus posts:

Friday, November 21, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

Danny Hoch: "Colonialism is hostile. Gentrification is the same thing as colonialism more than most people would like to admit... There’s a new feudalism that’s taking place." [Gothamist]

Can you get Obama Fries with that dog? Yes, you can--at Ray's Candy on Avenue A. [NMNL]

Punk sarcophagi from the remains of CBGB are rolled into the basement of Old Navy in SoHo. And that'll be 26 bucks to see them. [NYT]

StuyTown frat-house living--which way to the free Rohypnol? [STLL]

Say goodbye to the horror show of the past 11 years? Might be wishful thinking. [Gawker]

Take a walk down lovely Charles Lane--but stop before you get to the wall of ice towers. It's cold out there. [GVDP]


A taste of old New York can still be had at Arturo's on Houston at Thompson Street, a coal-oven pizzeria founded in 1957 by Arturo Giunta and his wife Betty, both Greenwich Village natives. Arturo died in 2006 and Betty followed in 2007, but their spirits live on in the restaurant, still run by their children and still featuring the flavor of our vanished city.

On the walls, mixed in with portraits and posters of starlets, movies, and unknown faces, are paintings by Arturo. Done in a kind of art brut style, there are images of horses, Frank Sinatra, Cracker Jack boxes, and Village storefronts like Vesuvio's bakery.

The food is good and plentiful. A live jazz band plays while you drink and dine. And you don't have to close your eyes to imagine you are back in good old New York.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

A reader sends in this quote about slumming on the Bowery. Any guesses at its source? "The kids all have a new craze on an old section of town. They call it the Bowery... The Bowery's changed. Not all of it, but a spot here and there. Not too long ago a wise guy spotted himself a fortune and turned a junk joint into a tourist trap. You know, lousy with characters off the street to give the place some atmosphere all the while catering to a slightly upper crust who want to see how the other half lives."

Re: The Holland Bar, another reader writes in, "A friend heard from a buddy of ours, who tended bar at the Holland to the end, that the owner told him it will re-open before January. We'll see."

Before you hop that bus, take a visit to what is possibly the skankiest dive bar in town, Port 41. [EVG]

Asian restaurant Cendrillon is leaving SoHo for Brooklyn--as the owner put it, “We’re not interested in staying in SoHo because it’s no longer a neighborhood." [NYT]

Cooper Square keeps getting fancier, as "red carpet for rent" haute couture moves in next to the Village Voice. [CR]

And that dirty old Village Voice name is coming off the building--don't want to offend the new neighbors with associations to anything bohemian or countercultural. [RS]

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

EV/LES rezoned. See details here. Doesn't this mean we'll see lots of pre-war walkups torn down for 8-story condos? Everywhere? [Curbed]

"Yunnie" makes it to the pages of Overheard in New York. In a scene about subway sex. Nice one.

Everything you wanted to know about the Bellevue psych ward's conversion to a luxury hotel but were afraid to ask. [NYM]

Is NYC going "Back to the Future," to a grittier city that once was? (I tend to think so.) Dirty train cars! McDonald's wrappers everywhere! Watch out, here come the 70s. [AMNY]

But until then, get your broke-ass "I Heart NY," the post-Vongerichtification edition, T-shirt here. [Gothamist]

And for the babies of stroller fiends, there's this little onesie:

Stingy Lulu's

EV Grieve posted yesterday about the closure of Hop Devil Grill, bringing to mind the site's former occupant, Stingy Lulu's, a 1950s-style luncheonette where the waitresses were drag queens.

I was pretty enamored with the place. The first time I ate there, I saved the paper placemat, which had pictures of retro cocktails on it, something I thought was just incredibly cool and so original. When friends came to town, I couldn't wait to take them to Lulu's.

photo: joannaepley's flickr

In the early 1990s (it opened in 1992), Lulu's felt like a neighborhood place. Owner Karacona Cinar said to the New York Post, "We're not even encouraging tourists to come here... We were serving drag queen customers first, and since we're always busy, there's no reason to change our clientele."

That was back when Marlene "Hot Dog" Bailey was running wild outside Odessa, when the sidewalks at night were a thieves' marketplace, and you could still find Merlin holding court at the corner of the Con Ed substation, his blanket covered in paperback books, young people kneeling at his side.

But the neighborhood was already changing.

Maybe Lulu's helped attract further gentrification to the East Village. The New York Times in 1992 hyped the neighborhood to newcomers as a bastion of multicultural funkiness: "In a Manhattan sobered by recession and social ills, those in search of a counterculture life style may find its last vestiges here." (That's what I was searching for.) They included Lulu's as part of the funky novelty.

By 1996, Lulu's owner credited himself with assisting Avenue A in its transformation away from what the Times called a "drug-infested no man's land, a forlorn strip given over to vagrants, anarchists and punks." Said Cinar, "Because of businessmen like me, things are much better."

Back then, the Save Avenue A Society (are you still out there, Ms. Piorkowska?) were fighting the nightclubization and Disneyfication of the East Village, including Stingy Lulu's for operating "a boisterous sidewalk cafe."

Eventually, I stopped going to Lulu's. It was too crowded. I didn't like the clientele. I moved on to other venues. They opened a cocktail lounge with the same name. Then it vanished.

photo: No Idea's flickr

Some questions remain: What was Lulu's--rebel member of the still-anarchic nabe, or Disneyfied sign of the gentrifying times? Was any of it real--that clock, the coffee shop sign, the chrome doors--leftover from a prior tenant? Or was it all a simulation? And what did it mean to love Lulu's in its early days?

I don't still have that placemat, but I do dimly recall Scotch-taping it to the wall of my crappy, overpriced East Village apartment, probably while thinking: "Here I am." Not for nothing, I'm still here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

Grace Hartigan has died. She was a painter of the New York School, Lower East Sider, friend to Frank O'Hara and all those guys.

The rumors of Sweetheart Coffee's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Miracles do happen, and I'm happy to say I was wrong. Sweetheart has returned, looking and tasting just like it did before the big renovation:

New gentrification word of the day: Balconization. When bad things happen to good fire escapes. [NYS]

Two Boots loses another outpost. [Grub]

Coney goes 1950s Space-Age. [KC]

Upzoning, downzoning, Brooklyn rides the Bloomberg rollercoaster of redevelopment. [GL]

Smith Street's a good one--take a nice long walk along the viaduct. [FNY]

On the state of Chelsea today: "We’re watching the character of our neighborhood transform into an amorphous blob... Every neighborhood is starting to look like every other neighborhood." [CN]

Hipster is dead--long live the Edge condo! Check out this video of Williamsburg hipsters talking about hipsterism. [Gothamist]

Brooklyn's 4th Ave

The super-gentrification of Brooklyn's 4th Avenue has created a bizarre battleground. On the hotly contested borderline between Gowanus and Park Slope, thick-legged condos wrap their thighs around tenements, gripping the old buildings in scissor holds, wrestling them into submission.

The little white walk-up below is already for sale and the absence of substantial windows in the crotch of condo Argyle says it might be waiting for a shaft of glass to fill it.

Le Bleu, the luxury boutique hotel, welcomes guests "to a whole new world of uber chic glamour and luxurious living." Their finest rooms offer a prime Gowanus view: U-Haul lot, concrete silos, sewage:

Enjoy these views from Bleu's balcony. If you squint your eyes, far off in the distance, you can just make out the green figurine of Lady Liberty. Does she still welcome the tired, poor, huddled masses, the homeless, the wretched refuse to her golden door?

The wretched refuse is right here. All along 4th Avenue, glistening towers sprout up from deserts of weeds and barbed wire. They overlook dialysis centers, taxi garages, and flat-fix shops. The sidewalk foams with soap from a humming car wash. Billboards ask the stacks of used tires, "Who wants to be a millionaire?"

"Style and Substance" reads a sales banner draped across a condo's side, windowless, as if closing its eyes to the neighboring greasy Golden Arches. Another sign nearby warns, "Car stripping will bring police immediately."

Riding a wave of irrational exuberance, the development here might be called "flash gentrification," it happened so fast. Instant and massive, it's like a coordinated invasion by a foreign army. Like an attack of alien warships that suddenly drop from the sky. Shock and awe.

But with the economic immolation, some are wondering if 4th Avenue will "crash and burn." As condos convert to rentals and money dries up all over town, who will enjoy those Bleu views? Who will fill those condos with West Elm furniture? Who will make love to the Clover brewer at the Root Hill cafe?

A movie billboard, at first glance, seems to speak for the long-time residents, but maybe it's the newcomers who will think twice if flash-gentrification hasn't succeeded in turning 4th into a sanitized Park Avenue. Either way, on this battlefield, someone will someday be saying, "They're here. We're gone."

Monday, November 17, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

As expected and against all our hopes, the P&G will close at the end of this year. New Year's Eve will be our last chance to bask in the glory of that old bar. Take a virtual visit to the P&G--and then go for real. [LC]

In other depressing old-man bar news, the Holland has been really, really gutted. Maybe we'll get one of those fake Irish "pubs" after the renovation. Perhaps the "Country Cottage" design. [EVG]

Danny Hoch assaults gentrifiers in a new performance and urges uneasy upper-middle-class audience members to hold on to the feelings of exclusion and alienation his work induces. Check out this compelling interview. [NYT]

How will a depression effect the skyline? Says Columbia prof, it could be "very good for preservation because there [isn't] the money to demolish buildings." And "new construction is going to take a nose dive...a lot of new residential buildings are going to have a lot of trouble." [NYT]

What used to be Daphne's Hibiscus turned Blue Mahoe, on 14th and 2nd, is now Mr. Jones Yakitori, a swingin' Barbarella kind of set where people get all dressed up to eat meat on a stick.

Daphne's, however, is a survivor. You can still find her directly across the street where she merged with Chomp. Read about Daphne Mahoney here.

Prime Burger

For a perfect day, spend the pre-crowd morning at the Whitney's big William Eggleston show, soaking up images from the 1960s and early 1970s. Somehow, a shot of a ketchup bottle on a countertop is evocative in his lens. I often wonder, when looking at old photographs, why the objects and the people of the present time fail to evoke much of anything, and if they will eventually come to life decades from now.

Photo: William Eggleston, Eggleston Artistic Trust

After the show, head downtown and walk into a living Eggleston photograph at Prime Burger on 51st near Madison. Here, as if by magic, the present moment gains poignancy, snapshots turn into something resembling art. It's the place, with its woodgrain paneling and conical ceiling lamps, its long diner counter, and (most enchanting) its comfortably infantilizing seats with highchair-style swinging trays.

Customers at the counter look momentarily alienated and tired, bathed in Eggleston hues of rust, ochre, and brown. The waiters, in their white valet jackets, have come from another age to serve you burgers, fries, and root-beer floats that overflow in a bubbling eruption of foam.

The plain maroon awning outside will tell you nothing about what's on the inside. This hidden gem used to be Hamburg Heaven, founded in 1938, frequented by stars like Rita Hayworth and Henry Fonda (more recently SJP), mentioned in Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Apartment (“So I figure, a man in his position, he's going to take me to 21 and El Morocco--instead, he takes me to Hamburg Heaven and some schnook's apartment.”)

The 51st Street location turned into Prime Burger in 1965. It has not been renovated since.

Stopped in time, locked into your chair, you feel like a child. You order more than you can eat, consider a slice of coconut cake. The other diners in your cubicle do the same, going wide-eyed when the delicacies are delivered. At lunchtime, on a Saturday anyway, they are mostly tourists. They are excited to be here, discovering the true wonders of New York City. And so are you.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Watching Willets Vanish

The city is snatching up Willets Point, wrestling and bribing the property from its rightful owners. And if that doesn't work, Bloomberg will simply steal it, just like he stole our democracy. I've written about Willets Point a few times and today seems right for a reminder of what is there--and what will be lost.

While some property owners have sold, the men of Bono Sawdust are staying strong. Says Jake on NY1, "There's 70 landowners out here and 250 businesses that the City didn't even talk to...we still own the land and we're not for sale and we're not going anywhere."

I visited the Bonos at their sawdust plant and you can read the interview here, then listen to what Jake had to say on the Brian Lehrer show.

The Bono boys: photos from my flickr

The Iron Triangle is not just a rough-and-tumble area, and it's not blighted. It's a thriving human social system where people work hard to sustain themselves in this city. Take a visit to the Iron Triangle.

*Everyday Chatter

Enjoy a beautiful photo of the original International Bar--and read about the bar's history here. [EVG]

Protest Prop 8 tomorrow--join the rest of the country in standing up for human rights. Whoopi is doing it. [TR]

Danny Hoch is doing a gentrification thing at the Public.

Get advice from a geezer on how to get ready for the return of old New York. [VV] But until then...

My pet condo, One Jackson Square, is now producing condos for pets. Seriously. Little, undulating, luxury condos for dogs. [Curbed]

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Little Jam

I've been waiting for this one to vanish and now it's gone. The odd little addendum to Jam Envelope & Paper on 3rd Ave and 14th St has been demolished.

Seems like, if it's made of bricks, if it's one or two stories tall, and it's near the corner of 14th and 3rd, it must be destroyed. The upzoning plan that has led to this began in the mid-1990s: Said city planner Peter Pfeffer, "The goal is to extend the strengths of the retail corridor to the east and also to provide new opportunities for residential development." Mission accomplished.

The Toll Brothers brutally took the Variety Theater, but their tower wasn't the first to arrive. The NYU Coral Towers dorm with the Duane Reade used to be the Sahara Hotel, built in 1900 and sold in 1999 when the 14th Street "revival" came knocking (Times). The sale was dubbed "Sahara-gate," as its owners were forced by the city to sell and "accused the city of 'improper motives to sell the property to politically connected people.'"

All I remember of the Sahara were the XXX video stores on the first floor, the greasy peep booths, the prostitutes lingering outside. The Times called it "The last remnant of 14th Street's seedy past."

After Toll we lost everything on the southeast corner. I thought Robin Raj would be the next to go, but it's still alive beneath it's FOR SALE sign. The little Jam house of bricks has long felt vulnerable--it looked like a frightened mouse hiding between a pair of rocks while a hungry hawk circled overhead--but its sudden vanishing still took me by surprise.

You can bet some clever architect is somewhere licking his chops, delighting in a scheme to slip a sliver of glass into this narrow cleft of sky.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

6th Ave Food Court

The block of 6th Avenue between 21st and 22nd looks like the food court in a suburban shopping mall. A new Chickpea (formerly restricted to the East Village/LES invasion) is moving in next to a new Red Mango, which is next to a McDonald's, which is next to a Starbucks. The chain of chains is broken only by the Greenkay furniture company--which is followed by a Chipotle, then a New York Burger Co.

But Greenkay now has a For Rent sign over it.

I don't know how long Greenkay has been in business, but it seems like a long time. They specialize in stripped metal office furniture, which looks pretty cool, and is even a favorite of home decor blog Apartment Therapy.

The Chipotle and New York Burger went into the former Wolf Paper & Twine buildings, one of which still has a painted sign high up on the bricks. According to Walter Grutchfield's 14to42, Wolf was founded by a Russian named Wolf Lubitz in 1916 and was located here from the 1940s until 2003. (Click here to read about Mr. Grutchfield.)

photo: Walter Grutchfield, 2002

There's not much left to see here. Although, around the corner on 21st, hidden out of sight, you'll still find Ace Pump Corp., family owned since 1936 and sporting a nifty sign.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

Nom Wah Tea Parlor reopens--thankfully!--now go get some almond cookies. [LC]

Tomorrow: Save the Bowery--because "if nothing is done the result will be a wall of towers." [SLES]

Economakis gets his way, tenants take buy out, & what other choice did they really have? [Curbed]

Mini Coopers now come in limo size--I guess that's better than those Hummer limos, but how many screaming EV bachelorettes can you fit in this thing? [HG]

Lonely Mars Bar lacks a nearby "neighbor in debauchery." [EVI]

The lovely-signed Fine & Klein is falling to make room for yet another Orchard Street hotel. [Curbed] Here's a shot of the demolition I took in September:

The owners of LES Little Giant are opening Tipsy Parson in the old laundromat space on 9th and 20th. It's all about comfort food, though personally I feel the opposite of comfortable about chicken liver mousse. Here's a shot of the forlorn laundromat, sans machines:

I've never been to Grant's Tomb, but this makes me want to check it out. [RI]

Williamsburg backlash asks "trustafarians" to stop using Obama to "blow shit cocaine & BS up ur ass!" [NYCB]

Note to hipsters, learn the protocol: "People don’t walk on the right. They’re distracted, there’s a total disregard for protocol. They have no regard for nobody else." [NYT]

Speaking of bad manners, Henry Alford offers a helpful guide on how to "wage a campaign of subtle remonstrance" on the streets of New York. [NYT]

Parking Meters

The Muni-Meters are coming.

Initially, I thought these posts springing up all over the East Village were going to blossom into payphones, which just didn't make sense. Then I realized: They're Muni-Meters, those European parking meters "prone to provoking anguished cries of confusion," according to the Times when New York City began adopting the Muni-Meters in 1999.

New York's analog meters had their guts replaced by digitals in 1995 until the last mechanical meter was removed from Coney Island in 2006. But the housings remained with us, those gray, cobra-head shapes made by Mackay in Canada.

The arrival of the Munis means the demise of the old parking meters, a familiar shape relatively unchanged since it was invented by Carl Magee in 1935.

I like clunky, clockworky mechanical things, so I'll miss the meters. I like giving them a musical slap with my palm as I walk by them. And I like their coin collectors--seeing those men and women coming down the street with their little carts, hearing the crashing of coin as they empty meter after meter. I guess this means they'll be vanishing, too.

Photo: Ron Luttrell II Collection

Monday, November 10, 2008

*Everyday Chatter

I guess "E4olution" isn't working out, because the bar that dare not decide on a name is going back to 2 by 4, draping a Bud Light banner over the old new name. Maybe "Ambiance" will make a comeback next:

Reasons for hope: The recession is hitting the "yuppies in the East Village," where the price of an apartment is dropping. [NYT] & [NYT] via [EVG]

William Eggleston retrospective opened at the Whitney this weekend.

Enjoy the murals of Washington Irving High. [ENY]

The new F trains are coming. [Gothamist] Here we see a new F train as viewed from the interior of an old F train:

I, for one, will miss the cheerful citrusy interior decor: