Thursday, July 31, 2014

Down Fifth

There's an extensive menu at Puebla de Los Angeles, the grocery store that replaced the Guerrero Food Center (5th & 23rd) last fall.  The layout of Puebla de Los Angeles has stayed pretty much the same as Guerrero's, with food prepared on one side of the shop and cashier opposite, though the place shrank in size.  There are still a couple of tables at the back of the store for eating in house.  The religious shrine at the back of the store has a quite different set of figures & is beautiful to look up to.  This picture does not do it justice.


















There are other, smaller menu signs , but here are the main dishes:























I can't emphasize enough how much I still love this part of Fifth, with businesses like this one, and Luigi's, Girasol, El Continental, Jubilat. Even with an explosion of property values and an ugly rash of development scarring the avenue and the blocks around it, even with empty stores waiting for upscale tenants, it's a world away from the Fifth farther north. A slow summer walk up and down these streets, up the hill, or down towards the water, stopping for pupusas or a Grandma slice, or maybe with a cherry ice stickily in hand to beat the heat, is better by far than cutting through the crowds above 9th,  fighting your way through stroller lots to claim a brunch seat or eating some overpriced cutely named ice cream inspired by the nearby canal. That world creeps ever southward, past the expressway, past the cemetery, on, relentless, into Sunset Park, whitening and rarefying neighborhoods as it goes.  It's a done deal.

Enjoy the beauty of the here and now.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Being Green

















La Aventura?


Just below Fourth, on 50th Street, a store dressed all in green. This looks like a clone of (the former?) Nice and Necessary (below), over on 4th and 23rd, which today wears tamer shades of blue.


















Nice and Necessary, in its salad days

The 50th Street salon might be La Aventura Beauty Salon, listed at this address and a couple of others nearby, and offering a variety of treatments in the massage and alternative medicine line.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Names We Enjoy




















Out of the frame, parked behind Exclusive Building Corp. -  the Avalanche Construction truck!


Thursday, July 24, 2014

540 Fifth: The Complaints Keep Rolling In

Back in early June, I took a look at the construction site at 540 Fifth Avenue.  Rather than adding to an existing one storey building, as per approved plans, workers had demolished the existing structure.  At that point in time, there were two complaints about this illegal work up on the DOB site.  The first (Class B) complaint, made on May 20th, was active, but the second, similar complaint (June 2nd) was "resolved" as being a "duplicate" of the first.  An odd conclusion, I thought.  Since then, the first complaint has remained active, but there have been four more complaints:

June 30th: 3484185 = RESOLVED
CONSTRUCTION DOES NOT HAVE A PERMIT TO BUILD WHAT WAS INTENDED TO BE BUILT. 
SITE SHOWS SIGNS OF IT BEING UNSAFE. KEROSINE WAS SPILLED ALL OVER THE SITE AND THE 
FUMES CAME UP TO OUR BUILDING.  (PRIORITY B)
  
Disposition:  07/01/2014 - XX - ADMINISTRATIVE CLOSURE
Comments:  DUPLICATE SIMILAR COMPL 3479526 PENDING INSPECTION


July 22nd: 3486826 = RESOLVED
THEY ARE CONSTRUCTING A BUILDING WITHOUT A PERMIT.  THERE HAS BEEN SEVERAL COMPLAINTS
FILED ABOUT THIS MATTER.  THEY ARE STILL DOING CONSTRUCTION ON THE PREMISES.  (PRIORITY  B)

Disposition:  07/23/2014 - I1 - COMPLAINT UNSUBSTANTIATED BASED ON DEPARTMENT RECORDS
Comments:   PERMIT 320868094-01-AL *

2ND - 4TH FLOOR VERTICAL ENLARGEMENT ON AN EXISTING ONE STORY COMMERCIAL BUILDING

July 22nd: 3486863 = RESOLVED
CONSTRUCTION BEING DONE WITHOUT HAVING A PERMIT  (PRIORITY B)

Disposition:  07/23/2014 - H1 - PLEASE SEE COMPLAINT NUMBER 3486826
COMMENTS: DUPLICATE

JULY 23rd:  3486988 = ACTIVE
SITE ENDANGERING WORKERS. STRUCTURE IN DANGER OF COLLAPSING: NO PROPER SUPPORT (PRIORITY A)

Maybe yesterday's complaint will stir the DOB to action.  A little careful reading of the permits in place
might have speeded up inspection of this shoddy mess.  If that's what's caused the lack of attention from inspectors. A poor job all round.



















7/24


Update - 7/28

The most recent - Priority A complaint - has been resolved:

Disposition: 07/27/2014 - I 2 - NO VIOLATION WARRANTED FOR COMPLAINT AT TIME OF INSPECTION
Comments: NO WORK AT TIME OF INSPECTION

With no work at the time of the visit, one wonders if the inspection was nothing more involved than the squinting through the fence that produced the photograph above, ha, ha.  And of course, the work completed thus far is without permit.  This one seems destined to slide quietly along.







Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Links

Hot, Hot Hot: Dire Conditions in the Sunset Park Library (Sunset-Park.com)

Before it's Gone, Take it Back - putting a face to communities affected by gentrification (Daily News)

J.Crew hits Williamsburg:
Williamsburg’s transformation from hipster haven to upscale shopping and dining destination has been in the works for so long that it’s almost surprising that J.Crew is only arriving now. “We’ve been looking at Williamsburg and Brooklyn as a whole for quite some time,” Lyons (J. Crew's Creative Director) says. “There’s a lot going on in terms of specialty. The food industry is actually incredibly rich over there. There’s a lot of people making beautiful pottery. Half the office lives in Williamsburg.” (NY Times Magazine blog)


Looking West


















Liberty, on the horizon


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Real Estate Tuesday






















The awning in its later, greener days (top) and in brighter times (2009, bottom)


South Slope's Fifth Avenue continues to transform.  Pop's Bazaar, at 19th, closed years ago, but the awning stayed, gathering moss, or mould or something else green .  652 Fifth was sold last summer for $750,000, and will be expanded up to a third floor.


















The Call Ahead vet's office, next door at 654, is on my agenda for a visit, now we have a ragged Southern terrier/hound hanging around the home.  In my search online for local vets, this place scores for the best prices, and charismatic ex-boxer Dr. Novick, who's practiced here for over twenty years, gets positive reviews.

Here's a corner building at Fifth & 20th all popped up.  In the background you can see the old furniture warehouse currently getting a conversion treatment.


















Work at the former White Eagle Tavern (23rd)  however,  is torpid, to say the least.  The building, like Pop's, sold last summer.  The price?  $1,650,000.  I imagine both 652 and 724 would sell for far higher sums today.



















Finally, we must turn to that  "Coming Soon!" banner (wink! wink!) at 18th, which has been amusing passers-by for many a month.  A fire in gutted the building in 2010, and took out an Associated Supermarket.




















Note: Full Stop Work Order in place at 652 Fifth.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Garage Sale






















The sale of 389 Seventh Avenue, longtime home and business place of Italian barber Ercole Ricardelli, closed in May for two million dollars. Judged by the standards of today's unlikely real estate market , this seemed like a sweet deal for Hanshold LLC.  Clover Barber Shop closed in 2008, and Ricardelli died last year at the age of 91. The shop is to be replaced by a wine store.
Yesterday Enright's Estates held the first day of an onsite three day sale.  Contents: a world of personal and professional effects.  Out on the sidewalk, and piled inside the 12th Street side garage the tools of a lifetime's trade of barbering and the contents of a family home.



















A wealth of scissors, shaving brushes, straight razors, powders & boxes of dusty Pineaud hair tonics: Eau de Quinine, Eau de Portugal - "World Famous Since 1810."  How intimate the objects seemed.  You wanted to hold and examine them, but at the same time, it felt like an intrusive act.  And the family things: a pair of tiny, rusted roller skates, the contents of a kitchen's cupboards, heaps of mens' (Enrico's, one assumed) clothing, papal memorabilia, a bed's ornate headboard.  You wondered how you'd feel if your own belongings - trivial or prized - were put on display for public scrutiny.  And still you looked.  The child's car ride, the one the barber placed my son in after his first haircuts, was up for grabs at six hundred dollars - cheap at the price, we were told.   Not for me.




















But for old time's sake, I did want something to hold onto.  Here are the treasures I came home with..























See Jeremiah's Vanishing New York on Clover Barber Shop here.



Friday, July 18, 2014

Four Stores















A quartet of empty stores between 18th & 19th.  Torres decamped a block north a while back.  The breast pump concept - an incongruity here - never caught on.  Both 643 and 645 were sold recently - 645 for $1,420,000 to 645 JC Coin Realty LLC in May, & 643 to 643 5th LLC for $900,000 in February.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Last Glass

















Jackie's 5th Amendment closed last October, and today the green awning finally came down, as the pharmacy next door expands into the old bar's space. A worker told me that people had been by earlier, to take a part of the sign with the bar's name.


















Earlier:


















Taking the Fifth
Bar Talk
Not Quite Yet
Thursday Evening
Closed



Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Say What! It Ain't Mister (or Master) Softee

The sweetening of a neighborhood continues.  At Union & Nevins:

"Inside we found lots and lots of flavors including the delicious It Came From The Gowanus, which is Salty Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Hazelnut, Crack cookies topped with White Chocolate Pearls and Orange-scented Brownies. Say What! Its flavor is the exact opposite of the stinky Canal that its name refers to. It’s like a flavor of…explosion-in-your-mouth-goodness! (we also heard they have a vegan sorbet for you none dairy folks, which is equally as awesome).
...One would never think that the Gowanus neighborhood would be known as the go-to for ice cream, but today that truly has changed. Now go stuff your face with ICE CREAM!" 
                                                                                       (Gowanus Your Face Off)
No prices on the Ample Hills website, but Menu Pages lists ice cream from $2.75 to $8.25 (per pint?), sundaes at $7.60, and ice cream cakes at $38.00 and $58.00.


305 (Bay Ridge)






















Off Third Avenue


Monday, July 14, 2014

315 8th Street



















315 8th Street, currently operating as the Templo Unido de las Asambleas de Dios, was once home to the Pequod Tribe of The Improved Order of Red Men, a fraternal men's club with roots tracing back to the Revolutionary War secret society The Sons of Liberty. The Society of Red Men was founded in 1813, and by '34 became The Improved Order of Red Men. By the late 1800s, the order was largely functioning as one of the nation's countless working men's fraternal organizations. As its name implies, the Order maintained a pseudo- Native American bent (reminiscent of Baden Powell's scouting lingo), and by the 1970s it adopted a nominal charitable support for Native-American welfare. At its heart the order has an extreme right-wing, anti-government ethos, though many tribes seemed to operate more as conservative-in-nature drinking clubs, with philanthropic activities, than overtly political organizations. The Order of Red Men was open to whites only until the 1970s. In the 1920s, the national membership was half a million strong, but by the seventies membership hovered around thirty thousand. Its strongest presence today, fittingly enough, is in Texas, and its national headquarters are based there, in Waco.























John D. Morell, 1960 (Brooklyn Visual Heritage)

" (The) Pequod Tribe, 294, meeting at Red Men Hall, 315 8th St., Thursday evening, adopted a class of 20 palefaces." 
(What's Going on in Lodge, Council & Other Fraternal Bodies,  Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 26, 1935)
























A 1910 photograph of Washington State members


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Thirty-nine years on

The NY City blackout of 1977 began on July 13, during a heat wave, and power was not restored until the following day.  The Brooklyn Visual Gallery has a collection of blackout pictures taken in Bushwick, one of the neighborhoods most severely impacted by fires, looting and other property damage.  The photographer is unknown.  Here are a couple of shots, & you can check out the rest of the collection here.























Broadway Meat Man


Thursday, July 10, 2014

& Son


















Third & 60th Street, from the B37.  And here's a woozy Google Earth image, placing the building inside a broader vista.
















Quite a view.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The New Dr. Zizmor?

The heat made me lazy, so I took the bus.  The newly restored B37 races down Third to Bay Ridge in a fraction of the time the 63 takes to wend down traffic-clogged Fifth Avenue.  At midday, there were scarcely any other riders.  I spent most of the ride looking out of the window, but somewhere under the expressway I looked up to see Zizek's Jokes up in an ad space.















Cultural confusion ensued.