Saturday, January 31, 2009

Algonquin 4-1817

Faded glory on 6th Avenue and Gay Street 

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Steps, Williamsburg, shot by myself.....ha!

Show Folks Shoes Dedicated to Beauty in Footwear

Q. Looming over Times Square, on the north side of 46th Street just east of Broadway, are four statues of great actresses from the 1920's in some of their most famous roles. Above them is an inscription saying that ''famous show folks'' bought their shoes at this shop. What was the shop, and who put up those statues? 

A. Israel Miller, a shoemaker from Poland, arrived in New York in 1892 and began making shoes for theatrical productions. His designs were popular with many vaudeville performers, who turned to him to produce their personal footwear.  When he acquired long-term control of the property in 1926, Mr. Miller unified the buildings' facades, using marble with granite trim and bronze fittings around the showcase windows. The wall along West 46th Street, beneath the cornice, bears the inscription, ''THE SHOW FOLKS SHOESHOP DEDICATED TO BEAUTY IN FOOTWEAR.'' 

Niches were added along the wall to honor four of New York's then-favorite actresses. Mr. Miller released a public ballot to pick actresses in drama, musical comedy, opera and film. The winners were: Ethel Barrymore as Ophelia, Marilyn Miller as Sunny, Rosa Ponselle as Norma and Mary Pickford as Little Lord Fauntleroy. Mr. Miller commissioned Alexander Sterling Calder to make these sculptures, which were unveiled on Oct. 20, 1929. Is it landmarked? YES!!  

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ghosts of Times Square, Pt 8...

This was the 42nd St. entrance to Hotel Carter, undoubtedly the most flea ridden, hooker infested, flophouse appealing joint on "the Deuce." The hotel's 43rd Street entrance still exists, as does the hotel. And it continues to receive horrible reviews...! 
And as it appears today...prostitutes or ice cream-- you decide..

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

King of the MTA

These are the photos of Douglas Grotjahn, who was/is apparently the official photographer for the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York. All his pics are either of buses, subways, or subway entrances....hmmmm. Weird I know. But in doing so, he captured Times Square and its environs in beautiful 1970s color....   see more here
Thief! with James Caan...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Whirly-Girly Revue

Big Time Vaudeville, 1992, 45th and Broadway 

[click above to enlarge]

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Goodbye Cheyenne Diner

UPDATE: Yesterday the signage was removed from the Cheyenne, it will be on the road for Alabama within three weeks. 
After having our hearts toyed with like ping pong balls, thinking one day the venerable Cheyenne Diner would be relocated to Red Hook, only to find out that it's not, well, it can make a man feel desperate in desperate times. Luckily, the Cheyenne will live on in Birmingham, Alabama, home of superlative blogger, Virginia and Birmingham, Alabama Daily Photo.  V and I have made a pact: I will try to keep abreast of when the Cheyenne departs NYC, and she will be on the ready with her camera to welcome it to Birmingham. At least my favorite pancake joint will be in good hands!     

Of Time & The City

The Film Forum, on Houston near Varrick, is one of the City's best places to see a movie. Old film noir, new foreign and independent films are their fare. Last night we saw the amazing Of Time & The City, which recreates/recalls postwar Liverpool through gorgeous archival footage, a lush soundtrack of Peggy Lee, Mahler and Bruckner, and the dry narration of writer/director Terence Davies. Truly a landmark film for lovers of the me! Where do you see independent films in your town?  

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Use What is Dominant in a Culture to Change It Quickly

Built in 1900 as the Theatre Republic, the architecture and design of the theater heralded a new era in showmanship and exhibition. In 1902 it was renamed the Belasco Theatre. By 1914, the theater was renamed again as the Republic. The theater continued its run as a legitimate theater until 1932, when it became Broadway's first burlesque house.

By the 1940's, the theater was renamed Victory and began to show second-run movies. When 42nd Street's fortunes plummeted in the 1970s, the Victory became the first to show pornographic movies and continued doing so into the late 1980's.

In 1990, the Victory came under public ownership, in an effort to revitalize 42nd Street. Leased to a nonprofit organization, the theater's renovation began in August of 1994 and was completed in December 1995 at a total cost of $11.4 million and renamed New Victory.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It is Embarassing to Be Caught and Killed for Stupid Reasons

Though I miss the grime, and they've practically billboarded the theater to death, Disney pulled off a beautiful restoration of the New Amsterdam. For some reason, oddball poets had free rein over the 42nd marquees back in the day. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

NYTimes: Tucked away behind Madame Tussaud's is the dusty, cavernous Liberty Theater. The Liberty, which had more than 1,000 seats, was once a center of American musical theater. Designed by Herts & Tallant in 1904, the architects of the New Amsterdam Theater on the same block, it introduced shows by Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and the Gershwins. The second show produced there was George M. Cohan's ''Little Johnny Jones,'' whose songs included ''The Yankee Doodle Boy'' and ''Give My Regards to Broadway.'' 

Photo by Shaun Crossman 

The Liberty ceased being a home for Broadway shows in the 1930's, when it was converted into a movie theater. In the 90s British director Deborah Warner brought audiences to the Liberty, taking advantage of its crumbling aesthetic for her 1996 production of ''The Waste Land.” ''This is a potential scandal,'' Ms. Warner said. ''[New Yorkers] are very bad. ''Your lack of preservation is outrageous. You will kick yourself in 10 years. We need these theaters for our souls.''


 ''New York has a real theater shortage,'' she said. ''There's not enough large-scale Off Broadway houses, so when we come to town, we have to go to BAM, the real national theater of your country. The Liberty should be a theater run by a nonprofit. I would like to run it.'' She paused before adding, ''You certainly don't need another nightclub.'' 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Times Square Theater 1990

The Times Square Theatre opened to the public on September 30, 1920, with the play, The Mirage. The play, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, was performed 199 times in the 1926-1927 season. George Gershwin's, Strike Up the Band, played in 1930.  In 1931, the hit comedy, Private Lives, starred Gertrude Lawrence, Laurence Oliver, and Noel Coward, the playwright himself.  After closing in 1933, the theatre was reopened in 1934 as a movie house and in 1940, it became a retail store, and later part of the 50s and 60s grindhouse circuit..


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Grand Luncheonette 1997

New York Times, 10/29/1997: “Most of the regulars could be found at the Grand Luncheonette yesterday, parked on the stools or bellied up to the counter. 

“There was Abdul El-Amin, who started coming regularly 25 years ago for knishes after kung-fu movies. There was Officer Charles Mitchell, who has patrolled Times Square for a decade and often stopped by for a hot dog (95 cents) with sauerkraut (5 cents extra). And there was Pops, a toothless 42d Street regular who could not remember exactly how long he had been eating there. 

“As he has for 58 years in the neighborhood, Fred Hakim, the owner, wore his stained white fry-cook's jacket and dished out fare as delectable as it was profoundly greasy. He enforced the prohibitions tacked on the mirror behind the counter: ''No Loitering. No Spitting. No Water. No Ice.'' And he held forth as a humble historian of the Deuce, as he still likes to call 42d Street west of Seventh Avenue.  But Mr. Hakim, 69, had a hard time keeping it all from sounding like a valedictory. After more than 25 years in its closet-sized space at 229 West 42d Street, the Grand Luncheonette spent its last day on 42d Street yesterday. 

“It is being closed as part of the Times Square redevelopment project, which has shuttered dozens of the neighborhood's older businesses -- many of them sex-oriented -- to make way for sparkling new restaurants, theaters and retail stores.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

Daytrip: Snow in Princeton

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Empire Theater 42nd Street Then & Now

Built in 1912 as the Eltinge Theater (named for famed female impersonator Julian Eltinge), this imposing Romanesque (Rococo? Italianate?)  structure eventually became The Empire Theater, sometime during 42nd Street's journey from legitimate theater destination to burlesque to movies.  This shot was taken in 1992, the day the plans for "42nd Street Now!" were announced, signalling the street's (the "Deuce)" transformation from  seedy glory to Disney nightmare.  Currently an AMC theater, which you can't miss. A beautiful restoration, nonetheless.   

Friday, January 16, 2009

Hawaii Kai

Tiki Bar supreme, midtown, demolished
Original menu 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

7th Avenue & 49th Street 1990/Now

Shot with a cheap Canon film camera..."Old Fashion Donuts," "Follies Lounge Live Nude Revue!!" "VIP Area," "Tad's Steaks," a couple  ancient theater facades, including the DeMille. 18 years later it's all covered all demolished, though Tad's survives. Kudos to Viva. 

Williamsburg Bridge

Looking west to Manhattan....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


19 degrees farenheit here in sunny NYC. What say you?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Morning at the Subway Inn

Sidle up to the bar, order a drink. What's your pleasure?   
Wanna grab a spare booth?  
Maybe call your agent 

What, you left something? No problem. It'll be here tommorow