Sunday, July 31, 2011

The NY Times: Lost in Gowanus

A regular reader of this blog (there are one or two), who is no fan of the NY Times, drew my attention (rather triumphantly, I have to disclose) to certain inaccuracies in today's Real Estate article on development in Gowanus.  The Times, ever attempting to be an urban pioneer, does seem a bit, er, geographically challenged when it crosses the East River.  I suggest a street map & a compass might help the next would-be Lewis or Clark of the Outer Boroughs.  Take this snippet:

At the corner of Bond Street and Third Avenue, one block from the canal on the Carroll Gardens side, a condo development is 75 percent sold out. Studios in the building start at $316,000 and go all the way up to $1.55 million, for a 2,259-square-foot unit with two bedrooms, a recreation room, a rear yard and a terrace.       

I hate to break this to the Times, but actually Bond Street & Third Avenue are parallel with each other, & do not intersect.  I believe the author of the article, Marc Santora, meant Third Street.  If we keep reading (must we?), we find this:

Neighborhood groups won a fight to prevent the area from being rezoned for residential development, concerned that it would result in a landscape similar to the one along Fourth Avenue, which is generally considered the southern edge of Park Slope.

Hmm, I think the southern edge of Park Slope would be right next to Greenwood Heights & a piece of Windsor Terrace, wouldn't it?  Who are these mysterious people who generally consider it any other way?  Lost somewhere I suppose.

Perhaps some people may find these errors rather trivial, but this is the Times we're talking about here.  Doesn't it have fact checkers or something?  It's not like it's some piddling little blog that someone (me perhaps?) plays around with on respite from the day job, blithely getting facts mixed up and ending up with a mish-mash of links, blurry photographs, & Youtube videos.  Isn't it meant to be real journalism?

Sundae

Washington Square Park, Last Night























Friday, July 29, 2011

Hunting Link

According to the Brooklyn Paper, police recently ticketed a group of "disheveled" poachers for hunting and eating squirrels, ducks & pigeons in Prospect Park.

“This is a dodgy group,” said park-goer Peter Colon, who spotted one of the men catching a pigeon while his friend started a fire. “They are the most threatening people in the park.”

Tacos El Bronco?

The legendary Tacos El Bronco truck can be found at 5th Avenue at 43rd Street.  It's often open til seven or so in the morning. There's also a Tacos El Bronco restaurant at Fourth & 43rd.  I'm curious though, because the name sign on the truck here is missing, & they're usually not open this early in the day.  Some sort of change?



Salsa Legends


Sponge Bob Gets Fresh

When I was in Sunset Park today, I caught up with that little rascal Sponge Bob.  Even my end of the Slope has become too hoity toity for Mr. Bob these days, but he likes hanging out in SP, where the PC police are usually thinner on the ground.  When I first saw him this morning though, he was hanging in a store, with his back turned to that little "chum" of his, Dora.  I think this was just a ruse, because of the security cameras.  At least one store in Sunset Park had heard of his louche history.  Later I caught a glimpse of his more typically lecherous self, openly canoodling with a less than saintly D..  Even worse, Spiderman was right behind them, trying to get in on some of the action.  Disgusting.


Munchy

Today I went to check out George's Restaurant, at 57th Street, in Sunset Park.  The vivid turquoise of the exterior, and that nice, curling script, held out a lot of promise for the inside of the place, but it turned out to be pretty bland.  It was busy though.  Most of the tables at the front were filled, and there was room for a lot more customers in the back.  Service was brisk. I had a nondescript BLT, and sat there, glancing at Fox TV (a talk show Casey Anthony special) & wishing I'd gone to Munchy Coffee Shop, a few blocks north.  It would be silly to go to Munchy right after lunch, wouldn't it?  Yes it would, but curiosity overcame appetite & sense, & off I went.




















Ah, Munchy.  The moment I stepped inside I knew it was more my sort of place.  A bareboned kind of joint, with a long, dull green counter, where a handful of solitary diners sat in silence.  Well, not entirely silent, as the guy next to me, with his crutches leaning beside him, hummed a Spanish tune as he stared down at his plate.  Sweetheart waitresses, one of whom was going for Winehouse style eye make-up, and a sad looking owner who wandered around eating an ice-cream cone.  People came and went, including a couple who sat down at a table (next to one of the lovely, diamond shaped mirrors that graced the walls) & then got up to complain about the heat.  After some consultation with the staff, the pair moved closer to an overhead fan.
I was too full to eat much, but got a coffee and a toasted corn muffin (butter, as always, on the side).  The coffee came in a paper cup, & was just about the strongest I've ever had at a diner.  I liked it.  The muffin was enormous.  This wasn't really a muffin place (only pre-wrapped corn & blueberry) but the one I had was fine.  A woman came in & sat near me, & her look was even more Winehouse than the waitress's, with a bouffant do & more dramatic eye-liner.  It was a good look.
I don't know what the food's like here.  A toasted muffin isn't much of a test.  I've heard they serve a good burger, & would like to try one another time. At any rate, the place is spotless.
There's a bit of a hard-luck air at Munchy, with everyone deep in their own thoughts, but it's a good place to sit by yourself & read the paper.  I didn't see one cell phone in there, and what conversation there was was muted.  If you want to be left in peace, and enjoy your food laced with a sprinkling of despondence, you've found your spot.  Fifth Avenue, between 53rd & 54th.



















Feeding Pigeons at Flatbush

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Starting the Day on Eldridge


No update from the guys at Cup & Saucer about the luncheonette's future.  A shrug & a wry laugh.

Links

Brownstoner looks at the hoarder house of 13th Street .

Homeless shelter at Old First (Brownstoner)

Gage & Tollner now a discount jewelry store called Ladies & Gents (Brooklyn Paper)

Hank's Saloon on the auction block tomorrow (Brooklyn Paper)

Celebrating the construction of storm sewers (Brooklynology)


UPDATE:   Hank's Saloon foreclosure auction blocked (Brooklyn Paper)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Day That the Circus Left Town

I was pretty excited by the news at Amusing the Zillion that the Vidbel Circus, a one-ring family circus, was coming to Coney Island for the season, and was planning to go this weekend.  Checking for information, I found that their last show was on July 17th, and the word on  ATZ was that poor ticket sales caused their premature departure.  This just made the waning days of old-style seaside entertainment ever more melancholy.


Ludlow Street

Wig on Vanderbilt

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

This Cemusa kiosk, outside CVS on 9th Street, has been closed for a few days now.  S & P news, down on Fifth & 9th, is chugging along as per usual.  Hah! For more on the spread of those shiny boxes, read Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, and follow the links at the end of the post.

Update (3/12/12): But ...it turns out this is operated by the S&P folks, so at least they're only competing with themselves.

Shhh...

On 9th Street, between Fourth & Fifth:

A Good Lunch

Dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor (jamming with business, it was nice to see), and a beer at Winnie's on Bayard Street.  There were only a handful of customers at Winnie's, and we all watched the game shows on TV.  They were the source of much merriment.  One guy was sprawled out with his feet on a banquette, howling with laughter at Family Feud.  I hate game shows, but they didn't seem quite so bad in this setting. I'd never been to Winnie's before, but I liked it a lot.  The low ceiling, wood-paneled walls, & red booths were comforting, and the plants in the window made a good screen from the outside world.  Don't think I'd go for the karaoke sessions, but a great place to while away an hour or two in the afternoon.

Next time I go there, I'll stop by Paulie's on Baxter for a sandwich.  The staff here are Asian but I assume this was an Italian deli originally.  There are plenty of sandwich choices, but also breakfast dishes and hot plates.  Who wouldn't want to get food at a place with such an inviting sign?

The one anxious moment during today's Chinatown visit was passing my favorite luncheonette, Cup & Saucer, on Canal & Eldridge.  Back in May, Grub Street reported that the restaurant's building was for sale, and EV Grieve followed up on the news.  I don't know what's going on there right now.  The building looks pretty much the way it did a couple of months ago, with most of the upper windows boarded up & that real estate sign still posted.  Cup & Saucer is very much alive though, & if I weren't so stuffed with turnip cake & pork buns I would've gone in for eggs & hash.  Tomorrow.  Breakfast.  That place makes me happy & sad & happy again, all in the space of one glance.  I don't think there's a more perfect looking luncheonette in the whole city, and I hope (a little desperately) that it can hang in there as the forces of change roll relentlessly along.


Monday, July 25, 2011

In the Annals of Fifth & 9th

Recent developments in the pita & falafel situation at Fifth & 9th:

Fatoosh, the reliably tasty Middle Eastern restaurant that took over the JFK Fried Chicken space in 2008, is no more.  Sad news.

























Meanwhile, diagonally across the intersection, the Pita Pizza Grill, at the site of Dee Dee Doughnuts (shame on you, Dunkin Donuts, for chasing it out in 2005) is undergoing some sort of change.  Not sure if it's a renovation or a new joint. 


























With these two options out of action, I'd go for the halal cart, outside Big D's.  It seems pretty busy.
My vacation has begun with domestic warfare.  Ants have been besieging the back of the house for months, & it 's taken series of increasingly toxic measures to put an end to this assault.  Today however, they decided to launch a full scale invasion from the front, & I came home to thousands of them marching across the living room, around the refrigerator, & up onto the counter.  I have just finished slaughtering a good number of them, and have laid out liquid bait traps & lines of boric acid to kill the rest.  I may very well poison myself in the effort to keep them out.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Twisting & Chillin, Young & Old Alike (Britain, early 60s)



No soundtrack in this first clip, unfortunately, but some serious twisting going on at an old people's party in Bermondsey, London, 1962,




and at a rather progressive school in Hertfordshire, 1961.  Life there seemed to be all leather jackets, bikes, & smoking fags.  The twisting doesn't come until the end.

(These Pathe film clips are seriously addictive.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Lucien Freud, 1922-2011 (Guardian)

Heat Wave! - Cooling Down in Brooklyn (Brooklynology)
Don't forget that the Central Library is a designated cooling center.

Another Hot Day in Brooklyn: July, 1876

13 July 1876
ANOTHER POLICEMAN DEAD
The Fatal Effects of a Funeral Procession.
Patrolman Michael COLOHAN, of the Third Precinet, died suddenly last
evening. On Saturday he formed one of the 300 policemen that acted as an
escort to the remains of the late Commissioner of Police and Excise,
Hon.Daniel Briggs. Upon returning from Greenwood he complained of feeling
very much heated. The next morning he declared himself to ill too do duty,
but thought that his illness was nothing serious. As he left the
station-house in Butler street, he laughed good naturedly at the sallies of
his comrades.  Upon reaching his house, No 130 Douglass st., he told his
wife that he felt a singular burning sensation about the lower limbs. He was
to have gone with her and his 2 children  to a relative's to dinner, but
said that he guessed he would bathe his feet and lie down a little while
before setting out. He bade his family not wait for him. Mrs. Colohan and
the children accordingly went. Toward evening as he had not arrived, his
wife went in search of him. She found him lying on the floor just breathing
his last. A physician was summoned, but too late to be of avail. Colohan was
regarded as one of the best officers in the city. He was 27 yrs of age, of
gentlemanly demeanor,and powerful physique. He was also a Mason. His
appointment to the police dated from May 10, 1872. Counting Patrolman Briggs
this makes the fourth death in the Police Department within a week.

Cooling & Heating, Inside Sun Bo Bo

But No Tree (Fifth & 11th)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Strange & Scary City Sightings

This morning, on a rush-hour F train, I saw a baby (babbling stage, with chubby bare feet) sitting in his stroller using an iPad.  What's next?

Fifth, 7:30 p.m.

























Monday, July 18, 2011

Links

Mars Bar, closed today by the DOH  (EV Grieve)

Was there yesterday with the Chillmaster party.






































And over in Brooklyn:

The sad last summer for Coney Island boardwalk stores  (NYT City Blog)

Talking to John Scioli, owner of Cobble Hill's old school Community Bookstore (Carroll Gardens Patch)

Early Morning, Fourth & 10th