Friday, June 24, 2016

The Man, or, Distracting Myself from Today's News

 It's too much to take in, and certainly impossible to write about. We'll turn to waste.

 A couple of months back I noticed the best possible name for a water main & sewer business.

I'm going for the Staple Singers here, but if you were so inclined you could opt for the Ramones, T. Rex, or even Cher!

And then there's this one.  I saw the truck as I was crossing Fourth & Pacific, and only got a picture as it sped into the distance.

Cesspool Man.  It doesn't have much of a groove to it.  He wouldn't get a song from Marc or Mavis, but he does make a pretty nice Broad Channel superhero.


 "One Call Pumps It All"

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Meanwhile, at the Station

It's hard to tell what's going on at the Fourth & 9th subway station.  Repairs at the station have ground to a halt, with the southbound F platform partly boarded up, and the station retail spaces sitting vacant.  As I passed through the station yesterday, I asked a worker there about the situation.  I wasn't expecting much of a response but the guy was in a chatty mood, and answered my questions readily (much more helpful than this MTA correspondent of several years ago). He didn't see any likelihood of progress soon, and said the stores were in no way ready for prospective tenants. They were just shells, with none of the utilities set up yet.  As for the platform, he said there was no timeline that he knew of for completing the work, and claimed that there was fire damage behind the boarded-up section by the archway.  Perhaps this damage is connected to a fire at the station back in 2014?

This isn't an official progress report of course, but it doesn't sound too promising.  The worker I spoke to was an all-around nice guy - a pleasure to talk to.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

A Pearl

I was in the Financial District, and happened to pass along Pearl.  Resisting the diner is simply impossible, so I headed on in for a late lunch breakfast.  The middle-of-the-day crowd had thinned, and I snagged the front booth, right by the cashier's booth & offering views of both street & diners. The same old order: eggs-over-easy, hash & home fries, whole wheat toast & coffee. To hell with the diet - some things in life are way more important.  I order the eggs that way to celebrate again my first days in the city, and thirty years or more on I still savor the pleasure of saying those three words out loud.  Eggs. Over. Easy.  As good as ever.

There was no rush by now - a statuesque lady, dining alone, lingered long beyond the check's arrival. Other diners, meals over, dawdled & spun out their time at the cashier's station. The purple-lipped cashier was cute. After the her shift ended, the owner took her spot & talked at length about the nightmare of Sandy damage, and the practical pointlessness of insurance.  His words brought back memories. Quite by chance, I had eaten here the first day after the diner reopened, in February, 2013.

The Pearl Diner is one of those institutions that restores the anxious New Yorker's confidence in the city.  Everything's right again.  The seasoned staff, the looks of the place- the counter, the booths, the glorious vertical neon sign. The cramped comfort of a small space & the pleasing regularity of menu.  And the customers - a motley assembly of singles, couples, office workers.  Nobody glamorous or especially attractive, many middle-aged or elderly, some decidedly wilted by the summer heat, but everybody beautiful.   This is the company I'd keep.

Ask Me

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What's up at ...?

The tiny spot at 524A Fifth, last occupied by Accurate Photo, which moved down the avenue a year ago, finally has a new tenant.  So what's on the way?  Macarons, mayonnaise, a pourover coffee mecca?  No high-end thrills for this little space.  Another cell phone store is on the way.

Make Music NY

Shelly Knight at Freddy's, on Fifth - 1:45 PM


Yes, I know, enough, enough of the ice cream sagas, but they're almost impossible to ignore.  Not a great spot for the cart under Eagle Provisions scaffolding, but Mister Softee had seized the regular corner.  The air was gritty, given the work going on, but the ices were still summer-sweet. 

Developer Plans to install tree-filled dumpsters in Gowanus parking spaces (Brooklyn Paper)
Effective flooding deterrent or PR bait from Alloy, a company that eyes Gowanus as the next DUMBO & sold a condo for $8.8M last year?

A century of fire hydrants cooling New York kids (Ephemeral New York)

Make Music New York - locations for today's outdoor music on Fifth Avenue.  Various locations, from Flatbush to 17th,11AM to 9PM

Sunset Park Community Discussion on the BQX Connector - tonight from 6 - 8 PM, Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Notre Dame Hall, 552 59th Street (Eventbrite)

Check out the Ska Girls & the Islington Twins! - lovely Janette Beckman photographs of 70's 80's musical subcultures (Guardian)

On the new 53rd Street library (NY Times):
"(There is a Building Blocks column to be written about secretive plutocrats buying investment aeries in the sky while public institutions are relegated to basements. Some other day.)"

Friday, June 17, 2016

Wild West

Mister Softee, Master Softee (RIP), M.ster Softi M.ster Soft.  The high-stakes, 
low-end world of ice cream continues to fascinate.  This truck, seen off Fifth, across from a more upscale frozen yogurt shop, seems to have no name at all, unless it's the rather wan Soft Ice Cream. Appears to be playing it safe.

In another street turf division, I noticed one of the Bright Lights hauling trucks roaring up the street last night - this one was Staten Island Carting. You can see an, er, promotional video (of sorts) here.

9th Street