Friday, February 25, 2011

Films, films, films.  This week I've seen BiutifulPublic Speaking, & the 70's Pacino/Hoffman film Scarecrow.  I can't wait to see the documentary on the photographer Bill Cunningham, playing at Film Forum next month.

Kill the Pigeons (& Rats & Old Lady)

Fourth Avenue and Seventeenth

If you're passing through the South Slope/Greenwood Heights section of Fourth Avenue any time soon, it's worth stopping for a while at the intersection of Fourth & 17th Street, to look at the buildings on each corner.  Lost City has already extolled the many virtues of Park Slope Grocery and Convinient, on the north-east corner, but here's a photograph anyway.

This is such a grand & imposing building, and that densely packed print on the signs is something you don't see much of these days.  Read the excellent Lost City post for the full run down.
On the north-west corner is Sun Ban Fashions, which manufactures sunglasses, and various kinds of lenses. This two storey manufacturing building is simple in design, yet pleasing in its proportions.  I'm strangely drawn to those three round windows next to the subway entrance.  You can see a similar photograph in color in my previous post.

OK, let's proceed to the southwest corner.  Here's a real treasure.  Supreme Memorials was founded sixty years ago by Rosario and Carmine Cassara, and four generations of Cassaras have maintained this family business.  The store signs are a bit worn at this point, but this doesn't diminish their charms.  At some point Supreme incorporated with Greenwood and Evergreen memorial companies, and this is indicated outside.
There's a lot going on here, and I like the graffiti style Supreme above the sign proper.

(I do seem to have developed a slightly morbid fondness for memorial storefronts & perhaps my all-time favorite is this one on Coney Island Avenue.)
Well, now we've reached the southeast corner, and this one is the real downer.  An unexceptional (to put it kindly) condo building, without one feature that is even moderately pleasing.  There's an Earth's Basket grocery store in the retail space, which is probably quite handy, but will never be as convinient as the one across the street.

But hey, three out of four isn't bad in these troubled times, and you should catch the delights of this spot while they're still around.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Bit of Color Left on Seventh

This building, on Seventh Avenue and Second St., has been the topic of much debate over the years ( Brownstoner, NY Times, Here's Park Slope), seen as both a blight on the neighborhood, and (a minority opinion) a worthy remnant of a more freewheeling past.  The safety issue (chunks of the building falling on passers by) is clearly a legitimate concern, but I, for one, have a great fondness for its colorful dereliction.  What a lone rebel it is on an avenue of mainstream conformity.

Cathedral Club, 1968

I love this '68 home movie, shot around Sixth and Flatbush.  You can find out more about the Cathedral Club here.

Fourth Avenue & Seventh

Meanwhile, at the OTB Corner...

Today a worker at the former OTB site told me that the next business would be a Mexican restaurant.  I'm sceptical, having been told by earlier workers that it would be a supermarket/grocery store.  These may just be stock responses to nosey passers by.  If a Mexican restaurant sets up there, this will mean competition for Tacos Nuevo Mexico, two doors away.  Even though I preferred the earlier incarnation of Tacos Nuevo, when it was a more local joint, it's marketed itself to a wider clientele pretty successfully, and has been a stalwart presence on the block for a number of years.  I'd hate to see it threatened..  But this is not a very solid piece of information.  Tomorrow I may hear we're destined for a bank, a cupcake store, or 99c. pizza.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Late Afternoon Blues

Running around all day, doing tedious errands. Went to take a smallish parcel to be mailed by UPS & was quoted $220!!! US Postal Service it had to be. Was heartened by the Eagle sign in the late afternoon, & even though it's been photographed five zillion times, it still looks pretty great. Whilst wallowing in a kind of end of the day melancholy, let's have a song.

314 12th Street

The construction of this fine building started in 2008, but work seems desultory at this point.  The building's had a bunch of stop orders, but there aren't any listed right now.  What gives?

Seized for Non-Payment of Taxes

Harry Boland's Pub (9th & 5th)

Mea Culpa.  After yesterday's rather snarky report about the vintage thrift opening on 13th, I have to report that the store is affiliated with the Chai Lifeline charity.  They only take donations, which are arranged through a buyer, & are staffed by volunteers.  Good luck to them.  That doesn't mean that the Army days (sloping floors, mountains of cheap goods, a lively cross-section of shoppers) weren't sweeter by far.

Wines & Liquors on Fourth Avenue

At 10th Street


12th Street (500 Fifth)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Stanley Bard Wants Back in at The Hotel Chelsea (Gothamist)

More Vintage for Fifth

It's taken four years, but 515 Fifth (the "eco" condo building at 13th Street) has finally got a tenant for its retail space.  Life Emporium, a somewhat upscale vintage store (no Beacon's Closet or Monk vibe here) opened yesterday.  There are two floors of clothing, and also a smattering of furniture.  I tried a joke about it being "just like old times" (remember the Salvation Army thrift store that used to be there?), but it was sniffily received by the staff.  Of course it's nothing like old times anyway.  The Salvation Army offered a trove of good finds over the years, & the prices couldn't be beat. 
Update & apologies. Well I have to say that this place does say not-for-profit (for children with cancer), so perhaps I was unduly harsh.  Still, with $450 pieces of broken furniture, it ain't Salvation Army land.

No Zs at ABC

Saturday, February 19, 2011


The February school break is here, & this means a chance to escape the whole commuting routine.  I actually like my train ride, but will be happy to sleep in for a few days. Let's just throw in one more early morning station shot then, to make up for missed opportunities in the week ahead.  Obsessive?  I think not!

Sun Bo Bo lives again!!  After its mysterious closure last week, Bo Bo is up & running again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

New Utrecht

Got rerouted to the N line today, and had to switch at New Utrecht.

Waiting for the B63, Old Style

So the MTA is rolling out the text option to figuring out when the damn bus will arrive, and the B63 is a pilot route.  I waited for the B63 at Fifth & 41st today, where the text instructions are clearly displayed.  Too bad they've taken away the option to actually read a bus timetable, so those of us disinclined (or unable) to find out the bus location by phone are left in the dark.  At this stop the only timetable left is for buses going in the other direction. Seems like a way to abandon schedules altogether, under the pretext of passenger convenience.  Good move, MTA.

Mutual Hardware Corp.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sun Bo Bo still shuttered.  I fear the worst.  Something going on at the former Sea World, over on the next block.  Poor old Sea World - a whiffy establishment with dull-eyed fish.  That catch had been hanging around for a while.
Some sections of Jackson Avenue, in Long Island City, still haven't seen much in the way of snow shovels.

Krypton Neon

Off Vernon Boulevard