Sunday, August 31, 2008

Brooklyn Bridge 2

Straight up!
Directly below the bridge, looking at the arch.

A view from the Brooklyn side.

Wires, wires, wires...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

East Village Synagogue = Condos

Wanna live like an old rabbi in one the East Village's most beautiful buildings (on 6th street)? Then just drop a few million and this condo conversion is yours! One of the oldest synagogues in the East Village, "Chez Syn" (formerly the Anshei Meseritz synagogue) sports park views, close access to trendy restaurants and clubs, and even a jacuzzi on what was once the synagogue's altar! Talk about Holy Water! ! Move fast, this property won't last for long! In fact, the community is fighting its demolition. (this is no joke:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Brooklyn Bridge & Obama

The country that can still produce a speaker as powerful and inspiring as Barack Obama is also the country that built this incredible bridge which spans the east river between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Heck, Barack and the Brooklyn Bridge make me proud to be an American!

Roger Federer rages

Every year, I go to the U.S. Open with my old friend Frank. We take some pics. We sneak into into Arthur Ashe stadium to see the big guns play. We eat the $12 hamburgers. I always buy the $10 napsack. We'll do it again next year.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New York Street Art

A rich cornucopia of art and hi jinx on the Bowery, the last stand some might say.

Monday, August 25, 2008

2010 = 1984?

I was down on Bowery, doing my usual thing, taking pics of 200 year old buildings scheduled to be pounded into dust to make way for cold new condos when an Aryan looking model in a TSE ad caught my eye. Snapping away, I was surprised when this elderly Chinese lady spun around and stared at me with her mouth agape. Caption anyone? The contrast is striking don't you think? I can't tell if she is eating something, she looks as tired and worn out as the Bowery itself. Soon, she'll be displaced by the model in the ad and those of his ilk who are turning the former skid row neighborhood into one of the City's new monied playgrounds.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Street Art

I know some people hate graffiti, but in New York street artists typically turn abandoned walls into works of art -- it's more than graffiti. It's the voice of the people! This weird computer stencil over a New York City subway map used to be on the abandoned tenement at 43 MacDougal Street. I like the 1s and 0s, and the very clever computer and joystick design.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Manganaro's Old World Italian

Sal runs Manganaro's on 8th near 40th, one of the oldest Italian delis in New York. This joint just oozes character, from the room temperature cheese and yummy cookies Sal sells, to the hearty and enormous servings of pasta, prosciutto, meatballs and sauce that serve as Manganaro's staples.
Next door to Sals is another Manganaro where they make a famous six foot long hero sandwich. For years the two families didn't speak --- over rights to that famous triple decker -- but they've recently buried the hatchet and patched up the family. Good eats! See Brooks Lost City for more on those fabulous, feudin' Manganaros.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Grand Central Station -- free!

The City opened Park Avenue from Astor Place all the way to 50th street this weekend, which allowed full access to the area around the top of Grand Central Station. Typically, you can only get this view from a speeding cab, but this weekend everyone biked, walked or sat around Grand Central Station. And had a great time. This shot shows the Met Life building, Grand Central and the spire of the Chrysler Building (thanks Enitharmon!).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tribeca at dusk

Warehouses bathed in light..

and shiny new condos taking a shine off the sun

Saturday, August 16, 2008

New York Landmarks

McSorley's, the oldest bar in Manhattan, and thus...the world!

Moishes, the oldest bakery on Second Avenue

Joe's, a really old bar on E. 6th Street

Friday, August 15, 2008

Manhattan at dusk

Lower Manhattan looking north photographed from the 47th floor of the Chase Manhattan building.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Skate Punks Vol.2

More scratched knees and daring jumps from the New York City park's system.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Crumbling Hudson pier

The City fills practically every empty/available space with something new, but this old pier, and its tie-ons and stanchions, remains.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New and Improved

New Yorkers can finally hold their heads high. Mayor Bloomberg and his developer cronies have done us another favor, replacing those ugly old green monsters that used to sell magazines and gum with these beautiful new and improved Newsstands Moderne! Look at that chrome, that lovely smoked glass (corner of 7th and Christopher across from the venerable Village Cigars). It doesn't look like it holds as many actual magazines as the old green monster, not to mention its flimsy looking construction, but hey, that's progress! What's next, chrome port-a-potties? We can only hope.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jefferson Market Library

The Jefferson Market Library, originally a courthouse, was designed in the Victorian Gothic style and was erected between 1875 and 1877 alongside an adjacent prison and market. It cost $360,000 to build and housed a police court, a civil court, and a basement where prisoners were held before they headed off to jail.

The building was continuously lauded for its unique and splendid architecture and was often touted as one of the most beautiful buildings in the country at the turn of the century. The courthouse was the site of a number of famous trials, including the murder trial of Harry Thaw, who was accused of killing architect Stanford White. The famous trial, which also involved chorus girl Evelyn Nesbit, became the subject for E.L. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime, which was eventually turned into an award-winning Broadway musical.

After decades of hosting a number of other sensational cases, the Jefferson Market Library became New York City’s Police Academy. The building closed its doors in 1958.

After several years of deterioration, a plan was hatched to demolish this breathtaking building, which by this time lacked its original splendor. Concerned Greenwich Village residents, however, saved it from the wrecking ball, and by 1965, plans were in place to turn the old courthouse into a branch of the New York Public Library system. It opened in 1967, with its “cut stone faces and flowers, spiral stairs, soaring stained glass windows, [and] the feeling, form and sensibility of another age.” (Ada Huxtable, architectural critic, New York Times, 1967)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Village Critters, Part 4

Funny daschund in Washington Square Park

Marcel, our building mascot

Inquisitive fat cat on Hudson Street: "so what are you going to give me?"

Lazy rubbing cat on Hudson Street

Friday, August 8, 2008

Home Sweet Home

This is the spiral staircase in my circa 1869 building. I live on the top floor, a seven floor walkup!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

NYC Past and Present, Dreams and Reality

From Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York: "As the Cooper Square Hotel has risen and spread, it has engulfed the block of Bowery between 5th and 6th Streets. Two original buildings remain: the tenement home of poet Hettie Jones and 35 Cooper Square, a building with a long and interesting history.

That history has been painstakingly uncovered by artist and East Village resident Sally Young in an attempt to get #35 landmarked, thus saving it from the wrecking ball. Rumor has it, the hotel developers plan to have the building demolished. And Landmarks has turned Sally down, stating, "the property does not meet the criteria for designation."

Originally called 391 Bowery, #35 was owned in the early 1800s by Nicholas William Stuyvesant, great-grandson of Peter Stuyvesant. When he died in 1833, the building passed through several hands, including an undertaker, a teacher, a hotelier, and a saloon owner.

In the 20th century, it became a home for artists. Painter and photographer J. Forrest Vey lived there after WWII. He rented the upstairs dormer rooms for $5 apiece to people like Joel Grey, star of Cabaret, and Claude Brown, author of Manchild in the Promised Land.

Mr. Vey once broke into the attic, which had been sealed ever since a man hanged himself there. He found Civil War newspapers, a stove-pipe hat, a sign that said "5-cent Hot Whiskey."

Beat poet Diane DiPrima moved into #35 in 1962. There she wrote many poems, and her memories of the place can be found in her memoir, Recollections of My Life as a Woman. She writes to Sally, "We were visited there by probably hundreds of artists and art patrons, including William Burroughs, Cecil Taylor, Frank O’Hara," John Weiners, Herbert Huncke, and Warhol Superstar Billy Name, who lived with DiPrima for a time.

Billy Name recalled in an email to Sally, "wooden broad plank floors and a very comfortable homey feeling from all the wood and open space and kitchen. and, as opposed to all the tenement buildings in its surrounds it actually looked like a 'house' from earlier america. looked and felt like it might have been the perfect home for walt should be designated a historic site and have a nice bronze plaque on the front."

Finally, the building made it into the news in 2004 (The Villager and the Times) when owner Cooper Union opted to paint over a 9/11 memorial mural and make room for advertising, against protests from the locals.

The memorial has been erased and there won't be any bronze plaques. There probably won't even be a building to hang it on. #35 is one of a few lots on the block bought last year by a group of Cooper Square Hotel investors. One investor told The Observer, 'These lots were to become, possibly, a restaurant-lounge and/or expansion to the Cooper hotel so we (Cooper investors) would be able to leverage the brand, amenities and staff of the Cooper Hotel next door.'

In her memoir, DiPrima wrote, 'From the moment when I first laid eyes on 35 Cooper Square, I knew it was the fulfillment of all those fantasies of art and the artist's life, la vie de boheme, harking all the way back to my high school years or before.'

What will happen to such fantasies--and their dreamers--when all the 35 Cooper Squares of our city have been demolished and New York fails, again and again, to fulfill them?"