Friday, December 31, 2010

Sign for Mike

Earlier this week ...

Of course these pictures don't match the current snow/slush conditions.  Sunday afternoon was a great time to walk up 9th from Smith Street - barely a soul around, and the light snowfall brought a gentle gravity to everything it touched.  Those reds & yellows too (I fall for them so easily)- muted & bright at the same time.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm getting absurdly fond of this taxi stationed at Eleventh & Fifth.  With Timboo's in the background, it looks better than ever.

The snow plows were towed away shortly before dawn, leaving a portion of the street above Fifth passable to traffic. This state of affairs seems almost maliciously designed to lure innocent (or stupidly naive?) drivers up the street, only to find their vehicles stuck in two feet of snow. Most people seem to have managed to back down to Fifth after a certain amount of shoveling, but right now there are two cars firmly entrenched.
Here are a couple of shots of the two types of street terrain.

Oh & here's the pristine version, early yesterday morning.                                                                             

Found on Fence - Ninth Street

Monday, December 27, 2010

We still have a pair of snow plows stranded on our block, with sanitation guys (in shifts?) guarding them.  This afternoon my next door neighbor took them some food.  All over the city, it seems, there are drivers minding vehicles.  I've seen more than one bus driver asleep at the stationary wheel.  I'm amazed by the lack of plowed streets around here - even the avenues are filled with snow and hazardous to drive.
On the other hand, if you want to see Bloomberg's block, the NY Times City blog has a shot of it taken this afternoon.  Not too much white stuff there.

Sixth Avenue

Monday Afternoon: More Vehicles in Distress

Some Snow, Some Transportation, 4th & 5th Avenues

At seven this morning, the streets were quiet.  There was little evidence of street plowing, as most of the plows in evidence were themselves stuck in the snow.  There are two sitting idle on my block alone, and a myriad of buses, taxis and cars are stranded around the neighborhood.  Usually when it snows in the city you can get along on foot pretty easily by walking in the street, but today this isn't much of an option on the side streets, and a lot of the time this morning the snow came way above knee level.  If ever I needed Wenceslas to hang out with, this would be the time.                                                                                                                        

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Earlier this week I sat on a bench next to the "Newspaper King", at the West 4th Street station.  As I sat there, waiting for the F, he was taking pieces of paper and twisting & incorporating them into the sleeves of his costume. What otherworldly crazy artistry in those designs.  See an April Walkers in the City for a photograph (& another great essay).

Last Winter on Houston - Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Goodbye La Classique

Last month I expressed curiosity about the custom base of La Classique Boutique.  A reader (of excellent taste) let me know that she shopped there and had bought a pretty nifty and much admired dress there.  I thought I should go & check it out one of these days, but left it too late.  The For Rent sign is up in the window & La Classique is no more.  The same goes for the Kaplan tutoring center across the street, which should provide a measure of relief for hordes of kids.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Demolition Time?

Oh look, there goes the former Taco Nuevo Mexico building.  As for the OTB site, I was again informed by a construction worker that a "store ... supermarket" was going in there.  That's kind of vague.

A Touch of Purple

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Creeping towards the shortest day & craving some light

So miserably dark that I've barely taken my camera out, & have not recorded for posterity some exciting developments in the neighborhood.  Rite Aid got a Christmas present this week - a replacement for the window smashed in by a car in August.  The old OTB site has some swishy steel shutters guarding the gutted parlor, and they're as yet untouched by graffiti.  The Fourth Ave. station has some (temporary?) roofing back on half of the platform (at least on the Queens bound side), and the shivering commuters huddle under the modest shelter it affords, leaving the other stretch of platform deserted.  Soigne (no accent for them) seems about ready to roll .

Fourth Avenue, 1936

There's been quite a buzz online today regarding the Museum of the City of New York's uploading of historical city photographs onto its website.  Plenty of blogs have been discussing the release and displaying images.  I haven't had time to dig very deeply into this treasure trove, but this 1936 Berenice Abbott shot, of "abandoned old-law tenements, at 154 Fourth Avenue between Butler and Douglass Streets", is pretty great.  Look at all those movie ads!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


A new project by Danger Mouse & Daniele Lupi - inspired by the spaghetti western soundtrack - w. performances by Jack White & Norah Jones.  Am not much of a Jones fan, but this sounds pretty cool.  It'll be out some time next year.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In recent days, there's been an outpouring of sadness and indignation in response to news of the imminent closure of Mars Bar, over on First & Second. Today's moving piece by Jeremiah Moss - a tribute to Mars Bar, & a look at the rapid changes wrought upon a particular stretch of the East Village in just a few years - is required reading.

"When people talk about how the city is "always changing," I tell them this story, the story of a historic, culturally relevant neighborhood sold down the river, demolished to the roots, and rebuilt into an unrecognizable playground for people passing through with money to burn. All in less than a single decade."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Park Slope in 1960

Some interesting photographs of Park Slope fifty years ago - part of a New York Times series on the plane crash of 1960.  Follow the links to articles about the neighborhood back then.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Guarding the Frigidaire on Eighth Street

Red Roses

I wonder who's decorating the neighborhood with red plastic roses.  I've seen quite a few of them recently. Perhaps there's a significance here that I don't get.  Oh well.  They give a kind of William Carlos Williams jolt to whatever spot they grace, & I'm always pleased to see them.