Thursday, December 31, 2009

Review: Fall 2009

Looking back on the past year at this blog, one season at a time, one day at a time, for one (4-day) week:

Fall:
The Fall began badly, with news that Les Desirs would be closing, and that many lovely older people would be losing a community meeting place. A fight to save the bakery began--I haven't heard news since.



October was a quiet month. David's Shoe store and repair in the East Village closed, as David retired, then later opened again when David's grandson (also David) took over the family business. The Backsiders regained their peace as windows closed and hotel balconies emptied in the cool weather, but they remained ever vigilant. November passed quietly, too. We got our hands on a More Jane Jacobs, Less Marc Jacobs t-shirt.



In December, we heard about Left Bank Books losing their lease, but soon after, hope was restored when the bookstore secured a new location in the Village.

Then, as fall turned to winter, we got the very sad news that Skyline Books will be closing in February. Add to that the demise of Chelsea staple Frank's Deli and the year has not ended on a high note.

Also...

Summer:
Summer started with a heartbreak as Joe Jr.'s closed despite the diner's many fans fighting to keep it alive. I had my last supper there and signed the petition, to no avail. The space remains empty to this day. Also in July, we lost another long-time butcher, the 48-year-old Albert & Sons on the Upper East Side.



Summer throbbed along, the throngs feasted on the East Village like locusts, and the Noise Wars spilled over to Rivington's Thor. Above the new High Line, Standard Hotel guests began showing their genitals to the tourists.



At the end of July, Lee's Laundry was put out of business on West 4th Street--more recently, the same landlord booted Left Bank Books. And in the dog days of August, we heard that Biography Bookshop would be moving out of the west West Village and further east on Bleecker to make room for yet another Marc Jacobs store.

Finally, we got the good news that Christina, formerly of Five Rose's Pizza, was serving her pies in Jamaica--the island, not Queens.


Spring:
After a rough winter, in the spring we felt refreshed with a thrilling walk out onto the Panorama of the City of New York and a tour of Hasidic Crown Heights. Also in April, we were happy to see Nusraty Afghan Imports reopen in the Village after being pushed out by a desire for Brooks Brothers, and we enjoyed exploring the Mystery Window of 11th Street.



But April can be a cruel month--the Chelsea Court Meat Market closed after 49 years and the old P&G was gutted. In May, we saw Howdy Do shutter after 15 years in the East Village.

And then the Noise Wars began. We received a collection of Notes from the Backside as battles raged between the long-term tenants of 5th Street and the guests of the Cooper Square Hotel. By June, the hotel was throwing luxury car-launch parties while neighbors complained, culminating in a dirty-underpants and douchebag extravanganza that got play in the mainstream press.


the Rubin brothers in 2007

In that same month, we grieved for Arnold Hatters, gone from the city after 50 years, after refusing to die when the city stole their property via eminent domain and handed it over to the New York Times building.

Winter:
In January we achingly said goodbye to the 61-year-old Amato Opera House. We took a final trip to Love Saves the Day, which had survived for over 20 years in the East Village. We ate a last supper at the 15-year-old Old Devil Moon. And we learned that Interstate Foods, one of the Meatpacking District's last big packing plants, would be demolished for a glassy high rise along the High Line.



In February we mourned the death of Stefan Lutak, owner of the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, and worried (unnecessarily, it turned out) about the beloved bar's future.


photo by Mike Marvin

In March, we watched with disappointment as a ramen noodle joint announced it would take the place of Love Saves the Day. Then we took a last look at poet Frank O'Hara's last home--a building that has since been demolished. A hole sits there now in the ground.


Throughout the year 2009, more New York places and people came and went. I've only scratched the surface here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review: Summer 2009

Looking back on the past year at this blog, one season at a time, one day at a time, for one (4-day) week:

Summer started with a heartbreak as Joe Jr.'s closed despite the diner's many fans fighting to keep it alive. I had my last supper there and signed the petition, to no avail. The space remains empty to this day. Also in July, we lost another long-time butcher, the 48-year-old Albert & Sons on the Upper East Side.



Summer throbbed along, the throngs feasted on the East Village like locusts, and the Noise Wars spilled over to Rivington's Thor. Above the new High Line, Standard Hotel guests began showing their genitals to the tourists.



At the end of July, Lee's Laundry was put out of business on West 4th Street--more recently, the same landlord booted Left Bank Books. And in the dog days of August, we heard that Biography Bookshop would be moving out of the west West Village and further east on Bleecker to make room for yet another Marc Jacobs store.

Finally, we got the good news that Christina, formerly of Five Rose's Pizza, was serving her pies in Jamaica--the island, not Queens.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

Mike Albo on the new "McModern" McDonald's of 6th Ave: "Consumer nomads looking for wifi and telescreens to make us feel connected, and futuristic environments to make us feel like there is a future, but with access to cheap Big Macs. Here’s the real future—sure there may be some breathtaking architecture, but it will be crawling with familiar logos and neon signage and probably smell like Cinnabons. A bustling, ketchuppy Tomorrowland." [TDB]

Freddy's guillotines eminent domain. [Curbed]

The lovely, iconic, zebra-filled Gino to close on Thursday. [Eater]

Barack your car at the Chelsea garage:


After just 6 years on the LES, one journalist decides to jump ship, leaving the neighborhood to "Hordes of banker boys...Toothsome Upper East Side girl packs...Hipster millennials." [NYT]

On the LES: "After decades of hosting immigrant cultures and earning a reputation as the neighborhood most likely to relieve you of your wallet...its moment as an urban frontier for artists and cool kids, off the radar of tourists and the tragically unhip, ended quickly." [BB]

NBA mural on Ave. A a mess of falling bricks. [EVG]

In Times Square, people use paper shredder to deal with tough emotions. [HP]

Review: Spring 2009

Looking back on the past year at this blog, one season at a time, one day at a time, for one (4-day) week:

After a rough winter, in the spring we felt refreshed with a thrilling walk out onto the Panorama of the City of New York and a tour of Hasidic Crown Heights. Also in April, we were happy to see Nusraty Afghan Imports reopen in the Village after being pushed out by a desire for Brooks Brothers, and we enjoyed exploring the Mystery Window of 11th Street.



But April can be a cruel month--the Chelsea Court Meat Market closed after 49 years and the old P&G was gutted. In May, we saw Howdy Do shutter after 15 years in the East Village.

And then the Noise Wars began. We received a collection of Notes from the Backside as battles raged between the long-term tenants of 5th Street and the guests of the Cooper Square Hotel. By June, the hotel was throwing luxury car-launch parties while neighbors complained, culminating in a dirty-underpants and douchebag extravanganza that got play in the mainstream press.


the Rubin brothers in 2007

In that same month, we grieved for Arnold Hatters, gone from the city after 50 years, after refusing to die when the city stole their property via eminent domain and handed it over to the New York Times building.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Frank's Deli

VANISHING

On 9th Avenue and 20th Street, surrounded evermore by upscale bistros and the like, is Frank's Deli. I've had many sandwiches from Frank, but today I got this sad news in an email:

"Frank's is closing this week as Frank could not get his lease renewed. Frank is really beloved in Chelsea, everyone knows and respects him. There's a photo with him and Archbishop Tutu over his register, from when the Archbishop visited the nearby Seminary."

A call to Frank's confirms they will be closed "in a couple of days."


my flickr

Teresa E.'s review on Yelp says it all about the place: "The reasons to go here are: deli sandwiches, beer, emergency light bulbs, and Frank himself. He's a flirt, and if you want to practice Spanish, he's right there for you. A real neighborhood haunt, frequented by kids buying ice cream after school, construction workers ordering 35 sandwiches for their crew, and a cute kitty."


Google streetview

As Chelsea's 9th Avenue gets more and more Vongerichtified, we'll be saying goodbye to more places like Frank's.

See also:
Les Desirs
Chelsea Court Meat Market
Holiday Cheer
Death of a Block

Review: Winter 2009

Looking back on the past year at this blog, one season at a time, one day at a time, for one (4-day) week:

In January we achingly said goodbye to the 61-year-old Amato Opera House. We took a final trip to Love Saves the Day, which had survived for over 20 years in the East Village. We ate a last supper at the 15-year-old Old Devil Moon. And we learned that Interstate Foods, one of the Meatpacking District's last big packing plants, would be demolished for a glassy high rise along the High Line.



In February we mourned the death of Stefan Lutak, owner of the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, and worried (unnecessarily, it turned out) about the beloved bar's future.


photo by Mike Marvin

In March, we watched with disappointment as a ramen noodle joint announced it would take the place of Love Saves the Day. Then we took a last look at poet Frank O'Hara's last home--a building that has since been demolished. A hole sits there now in the ground.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Skyline Books

VANISHING

I've been dreading this one for some time.

In response to a recent post here about Skyline Bookstore's 50% off holiday sale, a reader commented: "Bad news, Jeremiah. Talked to a clerk at Skyline last night and he confirmed my worst fears. Closing up shop in Feb."

Another reader confirms that a "Retail Space Available" sign has gone in the window, and SavageNYC provides further information and insightful commentary.



On 18th Street since 1990, and recently Twittering, Skyline Books has been under threat of closure for years. It's just too good a bookshop to stay alive in the new New York.



Years ago, when I worked around the corner in a job environment more corporate than I could stand, this bookshop was my salvation. I spent the lunch hours here. Just being among the books, just browsing through their pages, would renew me.

The fat, gray cat would renew me, nudging my pantlegs while I skimmed the poetry and fiction sections. Her name is Linda, which is an amusingly serious name for a cat, and you can see pictures of her here.



As fewer people are buying and reading books, as bookstores across the city are shuttering or being shuttled off to other parts of town, this news comes as a terrible blow to book lovers in New York. Maybe, like Left Bank Books and Biography, they'll get a second chance in a new spot.

Let's keep our fingers crossed. In the meantime, Skyline, you will be missed.



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

Snowball fight turns Times Square, once an adult playground, into a playground--for children, college kids, and adults expressing their "inner child"--warms the cockles of many a Twitterer. [CR]

After 41 years: "Tell the people. Let it be known... There is no Boys and Girls Choir of Harlem." [NYT]

Snow on the Cyclone. [ATZ]

Denis Hamill imagines a modern-day Scrooge as "a yuppie Realtor in Brownstone Brooklyn." [NYDN] via Curbed

Santa living the Hi-Life:


Old-school hardware store gets boot from NYU property. [EVG]

One London investor went to East Harlem and bought 47 buildings to "ease out its mainly lower-income residents, rehabilitate the apartments and charge a new generation of younger, more affluent tenants substantially steeper rents." Now they're bankrupt and the tenants live with bedbugs, rats, and broken toilets. As one tenant "cuddles his 4-year-old daughter and rats squeak faintly from his kitchen cabinet, he marvels at the habits of the rich." [NYT]

A whole army of cops arrests a guy on Avenue A--maybe for stealing a bike. [NMNL]

As NYC loses firefighters, celebrities move into firehouses. [BB]

Russian Souvenirs

Now is as good a time as any to visit the Russian Souvenirs shop on East 14th Street. They're having a sale on fabric. 50% off. You need some nice, last-minute Christmas gifts maybe?



The place has been there for I don't know how long--a long time--and I love to look in the window, which is crammed with Russian army caps, military pins, nesting dolls, lead soldiers, gigantic fur hats, and a cluttered flurry of more and more stuff.



It took me years to work up the courage to venture inside, where the clutter continues. The walls are covered with paintings of dour-faced bearded men, sunsets, and lonely forests. In the back, there are racks and racks of clothing and fabrics. And all around, everywhere you look, the shelves are stacked high with tchochkes.



It's all quite tempting for browsers, but there is very little room to move around in. You have to step carefully.

Alex (described by New York Magazine as "the grizzled owner, a Leningrad native") probably has his hands full this time of year just wrangling the customers, trying to keep them out from behind the crowded main counter, where they sometimes wander.

I watched one young woman, after being told to stay out, push her way back there anyway, grabbing at dolls on an overloaded shelf until Alex shouted at her not to touch. She walked out in a huff.

Can you blame him? His supper of soup and brown bread was getting cold on its tray and he doesn't need such monkey business.



If you do decide to shop here, be ready to bargain. Alex is a haggler, and he's a serious man. A professional who knows his wares, he will not give you service with a smile, nor with a sneer. This is old Leningrad on 14th Street, not Bed, Bath, & Beyond where the robotic staff are programmed to utter a monotoned hello to you every five seconds. (Has anyone else been subjected to that insanity? Hello. Hello. Hello.)

The Russian Souvenirs shop is dark, stuffed, and awkward. You will probably feel uncomfortable there. But it's worth the trip, if only because there are few places like it--and more and more places like Bed, Bath, & Beyond.

Monday, December 21, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

A little snowstorm couldn't stop the chaining of Freddy's bar in Brooklyn. Angry Santa was there to rattle those chains and announce, "Bruce Ratner has been a very naughty boy for several years and he's not even worth the effort it would take to put coal in his dirty socks!" [FIB]

NYC's forgotten and faded signs. [FNY]

Patti Smith on PBS 12/30. [NYT]

With snow, the EV's Penistrator returns. [EVG]

At H&H, Christmas trees meet bagels on the UWS:


Macy's escalator fire makes me worry about those wonderful wooden escalators. [Racked]

Snow keeps Topless Bike Lane Protest topped. [Gothamist]

Discovering the Heaventree. [FP]

Another old Orchard shop to shutter. [BB]

Remembering Cafe des Artistes and "the air of nostalgia among its older customers, the post World War II immigrants, who like the restaurant’s fabled Hungarian owner, George Lang, came to New York to begin again." [NYT]

Hemorrhoids for Christmas anyone? [NYS]

Friday, December 18, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

The ever-wonderful and endangered Skyline Books is having a 50% off All Books sale. Check them out--before they're gone, too:


Searching for Gatsby's Valley of Ashes among the garages of Willets Point's Iron Triangle. [Architakes]

Fabulous 1970s photos of NYC. [FP]

At Anthology, "Who Killed Teddy Bear" is "a peepshow record of a now-vanished New York City." Coming in January.

Miss G Train crowned. [McB]

Frank Gehry on urban planning: "Look, I went to city planning school at Harvard and I discovered that you never got to change a fucking thing or do anything. Urban planning is dead in the US." via [Curbed]

A good review for the East River String Band. [SG]

"Bike Bag of Piss" is not something you see every day. [BB]

Freddy's Chain

This Sunday at noon, Freddy's Bar in Brooklyn will be installing a chain.



Found in Brooklyn has the entire email that the owner sent around. Here's an excerpt:

"Due to ever increasing threats to the stability of Freddy’s bar in light of the Arena project, recent court decisions, an overwhelming number of Freddy's patrons desire to chain themselves to the bar if Scrooge Ratner and Grinch Paterson's Atlantic Yards Project attempts to shutdown and demolish Freddy's Bar and Backroom.

This Sunday, we are installing chains & shackles onto the Bar itself for just such a purpose."


graffiti in Freddy's backroom

Freddy's has been around for a long time.

Fans for Fair Play writes: "Freddy's serves working people from Prohibition days 'til now. Before the Eighteenth Amendment is repealed, Freddy's is a speakeasy. There is also bowling for a spell. Freddy's is for factory people, including the pressmen from the Daily News plant around the corner--Freddy's wets striking whistles during the tense 1990 strike. Closer to now, Freddy's is a cop bar. These days, everyone from punk rockers to firefighters to opera singers to local barflies call Freddy's home."

In this photo from 1952, Dodger fans drown their sorrows in pints of Freddy's beer.


Freddy's, 1952

That's the same bar today. If these men are still alive, and able-bodied, maybe they'll show up on Sunday, too, handcuffs in hand, ready to take a stand against corporate greed and dirty politics.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Playpen's Replacement

This week, the Times revealed Danny Meyer's plans to cover the globe with Shake Shacks, what they call "the Shacking of America" and beyond. One of those Shake Shacks is going on the southwest corner of 44th and 8th, in the still-rising Intercontinental Hotel, as Eater points out.

What that means is that a Shake Shack will stand where once was The Playpen (and the Funny Store).


More Playpen photos here

The Playpen was a Times Square landmark--a center for smut and a former vaudeville house dating back to 1916. When its execution was announced, a committee to save The Playpen formed, citing the theater's "ornate brasswork around the windows, a cameo depicting a woman unspooling a roll of film, a cornice interlocking with an arched pediment, a grand arch with medallions, triangular pediments, ornate pilasters" and an auditorium decorated with "goddesses in decorative plaster."

Still, the theater was demolished in December 2007.


vintage photo from photobucket

A recent de-cluttering of my closet turned up a bag of treats--two novelty items purchased on my last trip to the Funny Store: X-Ray Gogs and a Bar Bug, the old fly in the ice cube gag.



I thought about how the city used to be big enough to contain things like goddess-filled vaudeville houses where live nude girls and novelties could co-exist. What will come to the Playpen's old spot will be a chain restaurant where people will stand in long lines for the privilege of purchasing a hamburger.

When did the city get so small?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

Hipsters Vs. Hasidim: "If you can’t handle scantily clad women...live in a place where you can have your own sanctuary, like upstate." [BP]

Manhattan air more polluted than non-Manhattan air. [CR]

The birth of New York's art-house cinema. [CR]






Main Branch

I was confused recently when, planning to visit the NYPL Main Branch's Microforms collection, I looked up the building's hours online and couldn't find them--because the page kept giving the hours for the Steven Schwarzman Building and I kept looking for the words "Main Branch."

I will never call the Main Branch of the New York Public Library by its new name, the Steven Schwarzman Building. I will call it the Main Branch. Even when everyone else is running around saying, "Oh, did you see the show on 17th-century maps up at the Schwarzman?" I will be confused--"Where? At the what?"--even if I know perfectly well what they're talking about.



It was last year that the name was changed, when billionaire Schwarzman donated $100 million to the library. The renaming sparked some controversy, wrote the Times, particularly since "Mr. Schwarzman has become something of a lightning rod for critics of Wall Street excess, especially the high-spending ways of private-equity chiefs."

The New Yorker wrote that Schwarzman "had become the designated villain of an era on Wall Street—an era of rapacious capitalists and heedless self-indulgence."

New York Magazine was relieved to hear his name wouldn't be carved above the doors on the facade, saying "The 'Schwarzman Library' wouldn't sound public at all--it would sound exclusive and rich."



In fact, his name has been carved on the front of the building at the top of the stairs and on the sides, flanking the entrances there. It's subtle enough, but it's there. And the NYPL website makes it clear that "Main Branch" is not the building's name--nor it is a branch at all, they want us to know, stating:

"Often referred to as the 'main branch,' the magnificent Beaux-Arts landmark building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street is not a branch with circulating collections at all, but rather houses The Research Libraries' Stephen A. Schwarzman Building."

This seems like an appeal to sticklers and know-it-alls, people who like to get things "right" and correct other people. So that when you're at a party or out to dinner and you say, "I was up at the Main Branch the other day, looking at the Microforms," one of these sticklers can tell you, "You know, the Schwarzman Building, as it's properly known, is not actually a branch at all..."

And then, if the know-it-all is a young person, they can get in a veiled insult, saying, "You must have lived in New York a long, long time," as if you'd just called the 6 Train the "IRT" or told them your phone number started with "SPring-7."

This is how we get old. The names of things change and we keep calling them by their old names. We'll keep saying Shea Stadium instead of Citi-Field, Grand Central instead of Red Bull Station, and Times Square instead of American Eagle Outfitters Plaza (does anyone still say Longacre?).

By that time, in another decade or so, the world will have no use for us anyway.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

Left Bank Books survives--the shop has found a new spot in the Village. [CR]

There's still time for Split Britches. [P&W]

The Archive of Contemporary Music is having a sale. [Stupe]

What's inside the Coney Island "Mystery Box"? [KC]



Map reveals: People who live in Manhattan can't afford to live in Manhattan. [Curbed]

Dead trees, rodents--thanks urban renewal. [EVG]

Edie "the strap-hanging hamster" also makes Jello molds. [NYS]

Man talking on cell phone drops iPod onto subway tracks, goes after it, gets hit by train. [Gothamist]

Rise of the Doucheoisie

Last month, the New York Times devoted an entire article to the rise of the word "douche" on television. They write, "In total, the word has surfaced at least 76 times already this year on 26 prime-time network series... That is up from 30 uses on 15 shows in all of 2007 and just six instances on four programs in 2005." Furthermore, writes Edward Wyatt, "the word 'douche' is neither obscene nor profane--although this usage is certainly offensive to many people."

More recently, Details detailed the rise of the "Douchefag," angering some gay men with their two-page spread on the topic.



I recalled back to last spring, when a debate began in the comments section of my post on Loudmouth Weather about the merits of the words "douche" and "douchebag" as descriptors of a certain type of Manhattanite.

One anonymous commenter said, "These words strike me as misogynist." Another commenter, Marjorie, responded, "i'm a feminist and i say 'douchebag'! ...since douching is a patriarchal conspiracy designed to make women self-conscious and sell them a dangerous product they do not need, calling someone a douche does not insult women."

Today, the douche debate continues.



Melinda Mattos of Shameless tackles the feminist issue as she explores the origins of 'douchebag' as an insult and the history of douching in America. She wonders, "Should a feminist word nerd like me be calling people douchebags?" In the end, she decides that it's a good thing.

A similar debate about the possible sexist nature of the term came up on the blog Pandagon, where Amanda Marcotte used the term "Doucheoisie."

As an amateur neologist, I like new words. And I like stories about where words come from and how people feel about certain words. (For example, celebu-everything.) One of the neologisms I am enjoying right now is this "Doucheoisie." It raises yunnie-ism to the level of an entire class.

I'm not sure if this word has yet been uttered on prime-time television, but maybe it's time.

Monday, December 14, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

New York State has "run out of money." NYC gets its funding slashed. [NYDN]

Super-secret Diamond Dairy closes--making me wish I had been "in the know." [LC]

"Madcap Manhattan" double-features at Film Forum. [LM]

More "Woo!" [EVC]

The East Village--where you can party like you never graduated college. Woo-hoo! [EVG]

Meanwhile, at Ray's Candy on Avenue A... [NMNL]

Uking it up at Banjo Jim's. [SG]

Enjoy the best blank-billboard buildings. [Restless]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

Taking a look at the lost Papaya Kings. [FNY]

Your own personalized "big business" commercial. [BBAA]

The Thunderbirds return to Coney for the first time since 1993. [ATZ]

"Save the Pink Tea Cup" has a Facebook page.

Left Bank Books has some rare copies of Frank O'Hara books. Get them before they, and the shop, are gone:


Brooks provides an early end-of-year roundup of lost NYC landmarks. [LC]

Anybody got a room for the Mosaic Man? [NMNL]

The LES in the 1970s. [BB]

Back when the Christodora was not for supermodels. [EVG]

Dapper Dan Down

When I saw a new sign for Chelsea Bagel where the delightful "ghost" sign for Dapper Dan once hung, I figured the old was tucked back under the new, waiting for the day when Chelsea Bagel will fold and it can be uncovered once again, delighting the future nostalgists of New York.

But no.



Commenter evilsugar25 informs us that the sign was taken down and removed. And here's the photo evidence:


ryan & morgan's ourmofoto

Damn you, Chelsea Bagel. Damn you to Hell!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

Dapper Dan goes back under cover--on 14th St., the antique sign we all loved is now covered by Chelsea Bagel & Cafe:


Pink Tea Cup to close after 55 years of bringing soul food to the Village. [Eater]

Check out the C-Squat art show. [SG]

Miss Heather of NY Shitty talks about life as a Broke-Ass. [BAS]

Jet Blue launches "joke" store--basically it's an "Adver-store"--next to the Old Homestead in Meatpacking. Comes complete with a robot that says "nice things to you" while you take snacks out of his chest. Another temporary use of a dead storefront:


"The Lower East Side has gentrified so exponentially that generations of inhabitants are being priced out, their homes razed or renovated, and replaced with luxury apartments." [CR]

A look inside the restoration of St. Brigid's church. [EVG]

East Harlem loses its luxury edge. [CR]

Yasmine Chatila's photos through New York's windows are far more enticing and evocative than anything you'll see through The Standard's glass. [Gothamist]

Revs/Cost

Thanks to reader Steven Benga who sent in the following photo and writes, "I would be concerned if this REVS/COST graffiti disappears...it would be a pity if every building adjacent to the High Line ultimately has its graffiti removed."



There is cause for concern.

On the upper right of this photo, workers whitewash the Manhattan Mini-Storage sign in blue paint, covering its logo of a man carrying a box. Below, on the High Line, more hardhats contemplate the Revs/Cost sign.

Are they thinking, "This one's the next to go"?



Many are vexed by the High Line's white-washing, especially after the disappearance of the Roxy graffiti that once spelled out the tags of Werds and Slur. As Gothamist put it earlier this fall, "workers are still busy trying to make sure every last vestige of urban character and uniqueness is removed from sight!"

Seth Carnes, who lost his iheart, chronicled the loss, writing, "Where the Highline was once natural, historical, and gritty, it is now corporate, cordoned-off, unnatural, pastiche. The graffiti cover-up in drab grey is symbolic of the Highline's loss of historical identity."

And graffiti expert Jake Dobkin has said, "if they touch the Revs/Cost Mural at 23rd Street, it's war."

Looks like the enemy may be massing at the gate.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mike's & Mike

Mike's Newsstand and Candyland has stood on West 122nd between Lenox and 7th since 1932.



Here, at one of the last of the vanishing newsstands, Michael Jackson may be long off the front page (real estate today taken up by the tarnished Tiger), but he has not been forgotten.



Harlem Live wrote about the stand, "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 and where you do not mind staying to mingle with the owner who makes sure that everybody, old or young, feels welcome and appreciated as a customer."

You can also get a handful of Mary Janes here. Michael Jackson, Mary Janes. What year is it?

Monday, December 7, 2009

New York Gifts

It's that time of year when shopping happens, like it or not. You can support the locals without venturing into the crowds with "New York First." From their City Stuff collection and beyond, many of their gifts come from the vanishing city itself.

You can order Bazzini Nuts, a Papaya King frankfurter party pack, and a gallon of Guss's Lower East Side pickles. (Bazzini's is leaving Tribeca, Guss is giving up the LES, and Papaya Kings are dropping like flies.)



Going into the deeper past of already vanished New York, you'll find a replica Stork Club ashtray, Luchow's souvenirs, and a rather uncomfortable looking "Walk/Don't Walk" chair. (The Rare Ashtray Vault is full of lovely items from lost places.)



Finally, who wouldn't love the Complete Brooklyn Egg Cream kit?



After a tough day of cyber shopping, you can get into your Cross-Dress for Success finest, put on your Noisy Neighbor Revenge CD, and enjoy an H&H bagel with a homemade egg cream served in your New York "Greek diner" coffee cup.