Saturday, November 29, 2008

go go go go gone

This weekend, after the mad holiday, my long suffering galpal Leacy agreed to join me for a tour of New Jersey's scenic Rt. 130. It's the highway that time forgot and ain't I happy. Mom and Pop businesses abound on this laidback corridor between Princeton and Philadelphia, everything from pizza joints to diners to liquor stores seemingly unchanged since 1965. Thanks to Randy at for the diner tips that lead to my discovering the joys of 130, and er, the strangely disproportionate girls so well illustrated above.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Cheer

Now that the gorging segment of the holiday is over, let the drinking begin! And what better establishment to get it started than Smith's Bar, a Times Square area landmark that has somehow retained its facade and remained in business.     

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Welcome to Dublin!

The Dublin House Tap Room, that is. One of the finest "old man" bars in the Upper West Side, Dublin House is homey, the drinks are strong and the barkeep friendly. This classic Irish watering hole is always a welcoming sight after taking shots uptown in the winter weather.   

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Old Friends

Amid the gentrification that has turned Tribeca into an enclave for the well heeled, you can still find a few majestic ruins, ancient signs and memories of old New York. These rusty lawn chairs sit outside an annoyingly trendy bar (or is it a shoe store?) called (W) ine.  The name says it all, but the chairs are quite dear I think. 

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.

Across from Mori's

I was on Bleecker, trying to shoot the former location of Mori's Restaurant (before/after pics to come)when I spotted this cool curlicue railing. You can see the awning for The Bitter End, one of Greenwich Village's oldest clubs in the background.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Newsstand Noir

Something about this old sign, the tattered awning, the overly stocked window, just spells New York to me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bernice Abbott's Charles Lane 1938

Museum of the City of New York: CHARLES LANE (between West and Washington Streets, Perry and Charles Street) SEPTEMBER 20, 1938. Bernice Abbott claimed that Charles Lane was the only back alley she ever found in New York City. The lane was one block long, sandwiched between the New York Central Railroad freight viaduct--seen at a distance in Abbott's photograph--and the elevated West Side Highway. Abbot focused on the Lane’s south side, which in 1938 was still lined with stables and tradesmen shops, as it had been in the nineteenth century. 

First paved with cobblestones in 1893, Charles Lane is still cobblestoned, but its buildings, both old and new, are now residential. Although the elevated highway and freight viaduct have been demolished, the narrow alley has retained its scale and quaint character, after a successful battle in the late 1960s against a proposal for a high-rise housing project.

 Abbott was no doubt struck by this tiny lane lodged between two recently completed transport behemoths, the viaduct and the highway. She may have enhanced the alley's picturesque appearance by arranging an old bucket in the foreground.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Rays of Light

6th Avenue and Mott Street.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Washington Sq. Park Night

Charles Lane Then/Now

This glass and steel condostrosity (below) on Charles Lane near the Hudson replaced this beautiful structure which looks like it was part of a church rectory. Though its yellow facade is dirty and crumbling, note the details: the lead paned glass, the wooden window frame, the roughly carved cross above the door. This is progress?      

Saturday, November 15, 2008

53 Gansevort Street Then/Now

My try at shooting this wafer thin, elegant bldg in the meatpacking district.      
And Bernice Abbott's famous shot from 1936. The master lives!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Three Lives & Co.

Three Lives & Co., in the heart of the West Village (across from the landmark Northern Dispensary) is what all local bookstores should be. Crickety and well worn, its cozy shelves are filled with unusual volumes, as well a swell NY only section. Titles by Joseph Mitchell, Philip Lopate and New Yorker regulars stand next to children's books and cookbooks. And the workers maintain a chilled attitude.
Do you have a favorite local bookstore?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Return to Market Diner, Pt. 2

This first pic is taken from the New York Times article I referenced yesterday. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Return to Market Diner

When it opened on the corner of 43rd Street and 11th Avenue in 1962, the Market Diner was one of the biggest of its kind in New York City. It became known as a late-night hangout for Frank Sinatra and Kate Smith, the place the Westies gang dropped by during a break from dismembering victims, and even the spot where Jerry Seinfeld and his friends Kramer and Newman met a dealer for black-market shower heads. Read more about this closed icon here

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Charles Street Gate Ornaments

Up Close! The architectural beauty of Greenwich Village.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Walking on Air

Spanning two buildings on West 15th Street, this lovely pedestrian overpass is like sighting a virtual time warp in action! 

Cakes, Balls & Paste

Fun in Chinatown
New York's oldest Dim Sum Parlor..
Home of the famous Mee Sum rap song by 2 Live Crew
Lungs with your pastry lady?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Manhattan's first power company

Down in the financial district, circa 1888. 

Name That Food Group

Deep in Chinatown, I spied this mystery meat. What is it?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Soup 'n' Burger

Photo taken by myself, Astor and Broadway, 10pm. Hungry, cold, wet, in need of a turkey club. Soon, it arrived.   

Squirrel Staredown

A nutty squirrel demands my attention at Washington Square Park. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Yorkers Dining Down?

Eisenberg's Sandwich is one of Manhattan's longest running lunch counters. It's the kind of place where the short order cook will gladly pile your plate high with pastrami, when all you wanted was a turkey club! The two little girls in the window sure look happy so what's this talk about "dining down"? Either way Eisenberg's got it covered.  (enlarge lower pic for swell reflection of the Flatiron Building)