Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mori Restaurant by Bernice Abbott



Mori was a popular Italian restaurant at the corner of Bleecker and Laguardia. The facade retained its classic looks until a couple years ago when Duane Reade took over. Even then, the window frames, columns, lintels, circular railings and top windows are the same. Duane Reade destroyed the set back off the street and the large ground floor windows, which were still intact pre '06. Lenny of Something Special was married here. The top pic was taken by Bernice Abbott, 1935.



144 Bleecker Street, Originally two Federalist era townhouses, the facade of the building was redesigned for Mori's Italian restaurant by Raymond Hood in 1920. The restaurant went out of business in 1938. The building hosted a variety of tenants until 1962. In that year the Bleecker Street Cinema, an indie art house, beloved in its era, opened in the building. After the cinema closed, a series of music venues occupied the building including the Elbow Room (06) and Nocturne, as well as Kim's Underground Video (RIP). Most all of these businesses departed the location due to rising rents. It's an eternal New York story.

16 comments:

jill said...

What a wonderful old photo. I must say it certainly looked classy back then. Is that Bogart lighting up?

Tanya said...

Very cool photos!
Ok, on the top photo, look at the 3rd window from the left, there is a ghosty face, what is it?

sonia a. mascaro said...

Very nice photos! Love principally the first one, it looks very New York's atmosphere to me.

Marguerite-Marie said...

The renovation has been very well executed. the next building is really beautiful but where do students buy their pens and papers now?...fortunately they don'twrite any more except on their computer. Il like the old stores where we can still buy pens, stencils and paper.
Thank you for your kind comment but you know you can write in english because I understand best than I write.

EV Grieve said...

Eternal New York story is right, Ken.

"The facade retained its classic looks until a couple years ago when Duane Reade took over."

Reason No. 3,498 why I hate Duane Reade.

-K- said...

Wow - I've been reading Dawn Powell, a NYC novelist who lived and wrote about the kind of people who would have gone to the Mori restaurant in that era.

Overall, tho, I think I would like to see the two original Federal townhouses.

Marguerite-Marie said...

I come to tell you which figures you see on my blog/
dhe first figure is this of the Duchess of Britanny whose name was Anne (XVI°) ; she married with the King of France and so she brought her duchy (our country Britany at west of France, Bretagne)as one's dowry.It's the reason why I'm french!!! The second is the figure of a peasant , the 3rd is of an old breton woman.
The last is of an american aviator it's to thank american soldiers for their help during the war 1914-1918.

Blognote said...

What a change!! It looked so much better in the 1930ies!!

babooshka said...

As it was. Progresss again usually means quite the opposite. W don;t have a Duane Reade in the UK, but we certainly have his equal.

Kitty said...

Berenice Abbott is one of my favorite photographers, I suppose because she was both a female and a NYer.
It's pretty cool to think we're tramping around the same city that she did, years ago.

The before-after shots are great!

CoyoteFe said...

Ah - another sign that we are eradicating romance, yes? Very much like your photo. The relections in the windows are quite nioe.

J. Luque said...

i don't knomw your city,but your statements are very interesting

-K- said...

In answer to your question, the Dawn Powell book is "The Locusts Have No King." "The Far Pavilions" might be more in keeping with a semi-chic restaurant however. She moved to Greenwich Village in her twenties (and in the Twenties too) and stayed there for the rest of her life.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Me again, I mean that the last one looks so much NY to me!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

My God. Mori was beautiful.

rchrd said...

I spent many a day and night on the second floor of that building, the third and fourth windows from the left.

This is where Morton Subotnick had his electronic music studio, part of the NYU Intermedia Program, 1965-68.

I worked with Mort on his first two albums on Nonesuch, Silver Apples of the Moon, and The Wild Bull.
And it's where we planned the music for the Electric Circus and the Electric Christmas (1967).

Unfortunately, I never took any pictures. I don't know why.

In the summer we would open the windows wide, set up the Buchla synthesizers to play continuously and loud, and go across the street to the Tin Angel for lunch.

These was the first live, unmanned, electronic music concerts. By the time we got back, a crowd would have assembled in front of the building looking up.