Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Remembering Pennsylvania Station

Been reading a fantastic book, Conquering Gotham, by Jill Jonnes. She tells the history of Penn Station, how it was constructed by Alex Cassatt, brother of artist Marie Cassatt. How he fought New York's corrupt Tammany Hall to build the beautiful building free of backdoor payments and bribes. How McKim modeled the terminal after Paris' Quai D'Orsay, and finally how the glorious terminal was razed and lost to ages. And replaced with the rat like maze of soul deadening tunnels known as today's Penn Station. (none of these are my photos, obviously!)
Today's banal, corporate driven, soulless horror.
ahhh, the beauty....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lucille Lortel Theatre, West Village

Lucille Lortel (December 16, 1900April 4, 1999) was an American actress and theater producer who is remembered as the namesake of an off-Broadway playhouse and theatrical award.

Born Lucille Wadler in New York City, Lucille Lortel was originally an actress during the 1920s (she once recollected comparing breast sizes with Helen Hayes). She went on to become an off-Broadway theater producer and impresario with the help of a wealthy husband, industrialist Louis Schweitzer, whom she married in 1931. Her age was a well-kept mystery until nearly the end of her life.

Lortel founded The White Barn Theatre at her estate in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1947.

The Lucille Lortel Theatre, on Christopher Street, in Greenwich Village, New York City, which hosts the Lucille Lortel Awards for achievement in off-Broadway productions, and the Lortel Archives, which provides the Internet Off-Broadway Database, are named in her honor and supported by her foundation.

She died of natural causes in New York at the age of 98 and is interred at the Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the other oldest bar in new york

Cooper Union or Cooper Union?

The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art is a privately-funded college in Downtown Manhattan, New York City. Cooper Union, founded in 1859, its mission reflected Peter Cooper's fundamental belief that education should be as "free as air and water" and should be available to all who qualify, independent of race, religion, gender or social status. For 150 years, the College has admitted students based on merit alone and provided each with a full-tuition scholarship.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Old fountain, new fountain

An old beheaded fountain in the foreground, the happy shiny new fountain in the background...one dark and lonely night in Washington Square Park..

Old Washington Square Park

Circa 2005, before the City aligned the fountain with the arch, decreased the fountain's diameter, made the sidewalks smaller, and installed various plaques honoring wealthy patrons. The fountain is now always partially filled so no one can dance in the basin, as these entertainers above are.
Now we hear NYU may pay special security officers to patrol the park. Watch your back!

From bare eyed sun:

we hear folk who have come to the Big Apple seeking whatever promise it holds, are perfectly happy with turning the greatest city in the world into wherever it was that they left behind and we scratch our heads in wonder. if THAT's what you wanted, then why in heavens name did you have to come here?

we were studying film when we first encountered the phenomena in 1989.we were reviewing an early screening of Spike Lee's DO THE RIGHT THING, and the discussion digressed from issues of racism to heated arguments pro and con streetlife as we knew it then. a young woman from Michigan decried the playing of congas in the Thompkin Square Park. she couldn't understand why the "racket" was allowed, since it would never be allowed "back home". Never mind that skin slappin' in the park goes back to the Draft Riots. and never mind that those "rumbones" gave birth to the likes of Ray Barreto and Max Roach, Miss Michigan wouldn't have it, and by gosh-golly she got her way. Heroin and homeless were scraped off the collective out-of-town shoe and now the park, curfew and all is as wholesome as white bread.

hey, all is not lost, one can still go see THE HEIGHTS, take the L to BillyBurg, or learn Salsa at L.C's Out-of-Doors. see: art doesn't HAVE TO be dangerous, dirty and crowded. :-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

GVDP makes Gourmet.com!

The folks at Gourmet.com used my shot of Russ & Daughters in a recent article. Thanks!


In retrospect it wasn’t surprising that my two-year-old likes smoked eel: One of her favorite meals in New York is the sable (smoked black cod) from the miraculous fish emporium Russ and Daughters, of which she has been known to eat $5 worth at a sitting. And because she’s had a wicked case of jet lag and a hard time eating regularly, we’ve been trying to find things we know she’ll like. This means, in turn, that we’ve been hanging around the smoked fish stall at our local market. This week we bought a whole smoked Artic char, which Squishy found both incredibly funny (she made fishy faces at it and put her finger in its mouth) and enormously tasty. She did leave us some, though, and we used it to make ourselves feel at home after a rough week.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Oldest Bar in New York?

bRIDGE CAFE: When the Brooklyn Bridge first blocked Water Street from sunlight in 1883, this bar/restaurant had already been serving the local population for almost a century—in more ways than one: An 1860 NYC census lists 279 Water St. as the home of six Irish prostitutes.
According to a Times article, the Bridge Café has been a “drinking establishment” since 1847, thus making it the oldest continually running bar in NYC. Only a few blocks from the South Street Seaport, it’s decidedly not a tourist trap. After all, Ed Koch held court here twice a week at his private table during his mayorship, and city politicians still take advantage of its communal but easygoing air to conduct business here over a couple of cold ones.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Roof Shot

From my building looking south. Those cranes left of center mark Ground Zero.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Brooklyn Bridge 1933

November 28, 1933. "New York City views. Looking down South Street." 5x7 safety negative by Samuel H. Gottscho. From Shorpy. Left to right: behind Brooklyn Bridge.

1. City Bank Farmers Trust Building (20 Exchange Place). Later known as the First National City Bank Building. Today: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

2. 60 Wall Tower (70 Pine Street), aka the Cities Service Building. Today: American International Building. The notorious AIG!

3. Bank of Manhattan (40 Wall Street). Today: Trump Building.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Times Square 1943

February 1943. "New York. Camel cigarette advertisement at Times Square." Photograph by John Vachon for the Office of War Information. Chin's Dine Dance. Hotel Lenox. Woolworths. Hotel Claridge. Arrow Shirts. Gelworth's Women's Wear. From the fabulous Shorpy.com. Have a great weekend....

The Perfect Bowery Couple

The wealthy unisex model staying at an upscale Bowery hotel, and the exhausted worker who just cleaned his room. A match made in Bloom-berg!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Times Square RIP

Now that Times Square is officially dead ("Bloomberg sanitized"), here's looking at you kid. From the fine folks at LIFE.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Times Square, Then & Now

Much has been made of the "new Times Square," where you can grab a lawn chair and watch the neon go by. When I think of Times Square I think The Sweet Smell of Success, James Dean, Midnight Cowboy, Howard Johnsons and the nearby Broadway theaters, those iconic things that make New York extraordinary and frankly, different from anywhere USA. But the new lawn chair esthetic does away with New York grit, with the throb of urban activity that helps mark our great City. So which do you like better, the amazing circa 1950 LIFE magazine photo above (Shorpy.com) , or the lawn chair experience depicted below?

From Chris Flash: "For better or worse, the old Times Square represented genuine indigenous New York culture created and run by New Yorkers for New Yorkers. Tourists and visitors came to NYC just for that reason: to experience the REAL New York City, the best and the worst of it. Not the corporate homogenized shell that has been created by non-New Yorkers for other non-New Yorkers."

Monday, June 8, 2009

The High Line opens

The High Line, the once abandoned elevated freight railway that winds its way from 14th street to 34th on the west side, has opened to the public. I have yet to visit, but will probably do so this week. Meanwhile, check my blog Walking the High Line, for a view from last year when I illegally crawled up on the glorious span.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

under a blood red sky

And it's not Greenwich Village, obviously... summertime, USA

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bowery Faces & Facades

The Bowery was once skid row and home to the City's pizza oven retailers (really!). Now it's a tony, upscale stretch for hipsters and the art crowd. But in between the blue glass and perfume, a few old faces remain.  Like our friend above..       
Lovely detail on a threatened building 
"Auctioneers and Appraisers" Of What? 
The "EL" of an old flophouse hotel sign, now covered in steel and blue glass....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Condo Church

This 19th century church on West 4th at 6th Avenue was converted to condos. And you can't even tell

Brooklyn Navy Yard return

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Good Signs

Venerable Block Drugs, East Village
Ear Inn, West Village
End of the World.....
McGoverns Bar, West Village

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Elevated on 15th Street

Vestige of Olde New Yawk extending from the Chelsea Market building near the Hudson.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pickers in the Park

The Flamenco Machine is one of many musicians, buskers and the like in the park who entertain. These guys are brilliant!