Thursday, July 29, 2010

Ride to save our community gardens

Tonight, there will be a Paul Revere Garden Ride starting at 7pm in Tompkins Square Park.  From the press release:
". . . garden supporters - dressed as Paul Revere - will join a Garden Bike Ride organized by Time’s Up!, a direct action environmental group, to sound the alarm and call attention to new rules being drafted by the City that allow gardens to be legally transferred to developers and risk the destruction of hundreds of community gardens. The new rules would replace the 2002 Preservation Agreement, which allowed gardens throughout the city to thrive over the last decade. The 8-year-old Preservation Agreement expires on 9/17/2010. Cyclists will ride their “horse cycles”- bicycles with cardboard horse heads attached to the front, and visit several Lower East Side Gardens before heading up to Mayor Bloomberg’s house where they will bring the Mayor flowers, cucumbers and greens from endangered community gardens."
If you don't have a bike, join in anyway.   Losing our public green spaces to more development would be absolutely devastating for our neighborhoods.

Prop Making for Time's Up! "Save the Gardens" Ride 
Photo credit: Time's Up! Environmental Organization

The more things change, the more they....change

I was going through some old photos and came across this one of the former empty lot on the NW corner of 2nd Ave and 1st St:

Doomed Building I

This was taken in July 2006 and was just about to be developed.  My comments from the time:
This is a photo of a building set for demolition with a sign in the foreground that advertises the new building that's going to replace it. I thought the old building looked pretty ghostly and the way the sign is super-imposed in front of it is rather creepy.
As I took the photo, a man in a suit came up to me and commented that it will be great when the new building goes up. Having just seen its twin block out the sun on the south side of the street, I wasn't too enthusiastic. He went on to say, "I don't care about the area, I mean, it's the Bowery."
The glass box building on the sign has indeed been built and I have yet to see any life in it - either upstairs in the apartments or in the commercial space on the ground floor.  I miss the empty lot with its grass, wild flowers and giant black and white Neck Face claw that used to adorn the north wall.

Anyway, I was curious to know what the corner looked like before the empty lot and found the following photos.  The first is looking north up 2nd Ave and is not dated:

The NW corner is occupied by a hotel and, note the Woolworth Theater half a block south, next-door to what is now Mars Bar.    The storage building on the east side of the Avenue is still there but, sadly, the gorgeous 2nd Avenue Baths building is now the location of the gast station.

It's a little hard to see, but if we zoom in on this photo from 1934 (click on it to see the original)....

Image credits: New York Public Library

...we can see that the hotel offers rooms by the day for $1 and by the week for $5.  Last I checked, rents in the new building were starting around $2K per month. 

I guess the upside is you don't have to walk across the street for a bath...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Return of the swirls

Just over a month ago, I reported that the swirly door on 5th Street had vanished.  I am happy to report it's returned!  This morning, as I walked past, I saw some workmen replacing the swirly pieces.  I asked them why they were taken down and where they went, but they had no idea.  So, the mystery remains, but it looks as if the door will stay.

Swirly Door, originally uploaded by Goggla.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I recently discovered Aaron Ziltener's brilliant photo collection, most notably his Candlelight Series.  To view it as it was meant to be seen, click on the link and in the upper right of the page, click on Slideshow.

His photo series, seductively shot in black and white, tells a sinister tale...and I really love how he has managed to create an atmosphere of beauty, tension and mystery.

The series inspired me to (haphazardly) string together something of my own.  Keep in mind I have done absolutely no planning, have no plot, no direction, and, uh, no real purpose other than fun...

The road not taken

Night driving

Night News

Saturday afternoon

Corrugated green


Eden Alley

Road Rage

Philly Pub

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I can't remember a summer like this one with seemingly endless heat and humidity.  Was there ever a winter?  I remember snowmen in Tompkins Square, then suddenly it was 95 degrees and my hair frizzed out.

After weeks in the city without relief, a trip to the woods for some shade and breeze...only, there's no relief there either.  In fact, the heat seems amplified, more intense, more...deliriously dazzling.

Esophus Creek Marina

So, it's back to the city and it's air-conditioning.  Back to shades of gray.


Monday, July 19, 2010

It's what's for diner

Could I get ten big ones?

General Toe's Chicken

Not to be confused with the New England variety...

Manhattan shouder

And, just in case you were wondering...

I'm Jou!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When time stands still

Time flies on a pleasant sunny day, yet drags to a stand-still when the rain moves in, exponentially increasing the distance between here and that one dry place...

Carmines update

According to a commenter over at Lost City, Carmines will be reopening at 229 Front Street.  All is not lost!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy Friday

I was looking through some old photos and found some labeled 'Friday'.  To my surprise, when I took a look, they were of the short-lived automat on St Marks Place:

Friday Night at the Automat

Friday Night at the Automat

Friday Night at the Automat

This is, apparently, what I did some Friday night back in 2006.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer in the city

Oh, sure, the photo above looks like another cool, cloudy morning downtown.  Maybe a refreshing rain is about to start, a lovely breeze floating in from the Hudson...

But, no!

Imagine the temperature is 1000 degrees, the air thick and gooey as rubber cement, every surface dripping in sweat and the stench of hot tar permeating the streets.  This is reality:

Have a good day, everyone!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Sunday afternoon at Carmines, originally uploaded by Goggla.
I just found out today that after 107 years, Carmines down at the Seaport is no more. This was one of my favorite hang-outs on a Sunday afternoon and the bartender (pictured) was the best.

This was one of those old places that embodied the character of the old Seaport, before the Fulton Fish Market moved to the Bronx and the before the tourist mallification of the neighborhood. Anyone who has read Joe Mitchell's 'Up In The Old Hotel' has an idea of that old gritty fisherman, no longer.

Such a shame and a loss...add this to the ever-growing list of discarded NYC cultural treasures.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Our long national nightmare is over...Caffetteria Soho is OPEN! Get down there now for some sublime coffee. I predict a year from now, I'll regret posting any of this as all of Manhattan will have discovered it. On Sullivan, between Prince and Houston.

This Saturday at the Hester Street Fair

I have a booth this Saturday at the Hester Street Fair.  Come out and enjoy the beautiful weather and buy some prints!

I will have matted prints of various sizes, greeting cards and wood-mounted prints available.  However, if there is something you want that I don't have on display, I can most likely make it for you, so don't hesitate to come by and ask.

There will also be a BBQ sponsored by Santos Party House, music, a green market, vintage stuff, tons of food and many other vendors.  The fair is situated in a tree-lined alley at the intersection of Hester and Essex Streets and will be open 10am - 6pm.