I loved this mural outside the psychic's rooms, but the woman herself, considerably older & stouter than the maiden on the wall, was not happy when she saw me outside with a camera. Despite my assurance that I was only taking pictures of the wall, not her, she continued to shake her head angrily. I left her alone.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Gramercy Pawnbrokers, Stephen E. Hiller Law Office, Elegant Cleaners & Tailors, American Dream Bed & Breakfast
Those E-Z Pawn ads on the subway, explaining what a pawn shop is, amaze me, but I guess there aren't so many left in the city. This one looks run-down, but a steady trickle of customers went in and out while I was outside. Though my English accent has eroded over the years, I still haven't been able to master the subtly different American pronunciations of "pawn" and "porn", and this has caused much merriment at my expense. The Gramercy sign is a lovely one, with the looping & plain fonts, the absent "r" & the perilous slant of the "k". Hiller's office, a perfect partner, is a low-key blinds closed kind of a joint. Elegant - a sweet minor detail, & the American Dream - more a sign of hopes curtailed than anything else.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
No signs for hippie rolls, alas, but a nice enough sign (especially the hanging one), and a pleasingly unlikely name for a pizzeria. The small "garden" in between Thomas & Pizza is kind of nice too, especially given the Jackson Heights location. But what a crazy menu overload.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Yesterday there wasn't even one ray of sunshine. My plans to get out dwindled down to a damp shuffle along Fifth Avenue, where the fair was suffering the consequences of all the rain. It seemed like the day was a big washout, but almost back home, as the fair began to wind down, there was the antidote to Sunday blues. These guys were good.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Friday, May 17, 2013
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Admiral Locksmith, around since 1952. I like the painted safe, door-check and lock at the base of the storefront, & those panic locks & Fox police locks signs. There's a great profile of the owner, Roz Kaplan, in the Huffington Post. This is one in a series of "Astoria Character" pieces written by Nancy Ruhling. And for more on lock inventor Emiel Fox, and Arlene Skratt, who along with her husband Gene ran the Chelsea Fox Police Lock Company until 2002, check out this 2008 NY Times piece:
"I never lived in Manhattan, but people who lived there used to feel more secure with one of those locks. Every once in a while you see the lock in a movie. It was very secure. I don’t think anybody ever broke into an apartment that had one of those police locks. Nobody sued, anyway ...
When Gene died, there was nobody left to run the business. My son wasn’t involved in it that much. His father never really taught him the business. You had to know where to buy your steel, where to buy your cylinders. You had to have your contacts. My son didn’t know much about all that. And my daughter wasn’t interested in manufacturing a lock. My son and daughter have dismantled the shop and are renting it out to a psychic. I guess everybody wants to know what’s going to happen. Until the day they die. They don’t want to know that."
Lavelle's Admirals Club. Closed when I was passing by, at the wrong time of day.