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I’m so utterly freaked out by the competition (see post below); I’m cementing this video of 1970’s New York; Taxi Driver style set to yes, Bernard Hermann’s music of doom (includes: Bleecker Luncheonette, World Trade Centers, Village Cigars, Shopsin’s General Story, Adults Only Times Square and yes old Taxi cabs …)
Time Out New York holds a nice interview with Peter Hoffman on his new space and the closing of a 21 year old landmark which is being revamped. A classic. early downtown excerpt below.
You opened Savoy in Soho 1990. What was the climate of the NYC restaurant scene back then?
Great food in New York [used to be] about French, haute cuisine. But New American food had started to happen before I opened Savoy. Larry Forgione was at An American Place and I was at Huberts on 22nd Street. We were starting to find people who were raising terrific products—oysters, radishes, morels. There was a moment in the mid-’80s when we started to say, “We’re not chasing France anymore. We have our own growers and producers and a cuisine that’s going to grow out of that.”
Soho was quite a different neighborhood then.
It was dark and deserted at night. The glow that came out of our lamps was a beacon of comfort and safety to our neighbors. It was a complete discovery for [our earliest guests]. People would come down Prince Street and everything was dark, and they would say, “Oh my God, where are you taking me?”
I’m sorry it’s taken so long to write. There is something missing. It’s ME. I’ve been gone too long. Sitting on the story. Bored. Annoyed . Bored again. Waiting for the moment to present itself. The magic “Source” promised to reveal the cinematic story of your demise. Mr X.
Last August, I read about your sign missing. Stolen! Genius and funny too. I emailed your “band of thieves.” And, your story, promised to me for months in a clean, photoshopped package, isn’t coming. Never was. And so the moment, ever fleeting, won’t either. It never will. And, like the girls (guilty!) do these days, I favor closure.
Beatrice, you were used. Gawker NAILED you on all points. You were a contender. At the time, you probably didn’t care. Plus, you were just a sign. Still, let’s recap the rise and fall (albeit brief)…shall we? Let’s relive your Vertigo belltower moment. You were white hot!
Beatrice: Ugh, thanks for making your name trendy for the next generation of small children. What happened? You go and get yourself CLOSED! SHUTTERED! PADLOCKED! Those people didn’t take good care of you. Used you. If only you had extended your arms to neighbors. Really, being to nice people is the way to go these days. It really is.
OH BOY…that fateful night, you were stripped from your holy post. Why didn’t I think of that Beatrice? I wake up and find you alive and well….not in some infested dumpster. You were alive! Someone was holding you. Cradling. Loving. And not Silence of the Lambs way. You weren’t in some dark hole with a poodle and water bucket. Amazing, you looked really good in the comfort of someone’s well-organized apartment. Graphic designer? DJ? Art collector? Oh well, fantastic stereo equipment…you almost looked happy.
Still, I decided you should at least tell be able to share your story. Blame me! Like a mother, I was worried about you, Beatrice. You needed to talk. Past is Present!
Beatrice, most of them won’t care. Your demise was a celebration to many. Those patrons; nocturnal, pale, pretentious blood sucking things…A.R.E. kidding me? Ah, yes, we are talking about you the sign, not the people. Bea! You aren’t so missed, especially by those pesky, uptight neighbors. They hated you! Outside was cold and dark. Trash and rats. Don’t you remember someone keying the 666? Ouch. And some lame white marker doodles? Sorry you didn’t get tagged with legit graffiti. Someone should have stolen the neon sign…or those nice green evergreens (easily replanted).
Ding! We’ve all high-fived the doorman. Steve! Mike! But, oh, how your insider friends miss you, dear Beatrice, enough to steal your mighty sign (shame on the Tapas joint supposedly opening last year for not stationing at least two security guards at the door) and sell you down the river.
Here is the thing. Here is what I think. And yes, I’m a small market little girl, but Beatrice, I came after you. Before you were you. You were a sign on a small block in the West Village of New York City…an island. Now you are gone and it’s was an INSIDER job. Let’s have our closure.
Really, being to nice people is the way to go these days. It really is.
Sometimes, I wish I didn’t care so much about things, Bea. Still, I insisted. Yeah. We’ll give you the story. “We are moving the sign to a safer place…” as if we’re in an X File episode. My theories? Vampires? Chanel models? An angry girlfriend who wants her 2K, cash preferably upfront. Get the story. Some people might think it’s interesting in a City where nothing interesting happens anymore. Someone might care. I miss your fresh roses in your tiled bathroom, your ultra low ceilings, the American flag located just behind th DJ booth, smoking in the boys room style, Sinatra playing when it was time to go, and if you patrons could muster eating after the skating rink, a snack at The Corner Bistro.
Bea, this is why you were stolen:
I wanted a piece of history, I wanted people to say, “why didn’t I think of that” I wanted to sell it to pay rent. I wanted people to see that era was OVER. I wanted people to laugh at the foolish and empty amount of time that they rubbed elbows in that den of iniquity. I had cased the joint for a while checking all the angles like it was Fort Knox or something. I was most afraid of being caught walking around the West Village with it all casual and stuff. I sat and rapped out with the guy living right above it, I was like, Yo! if I lived there three years ago I would be dead today, and told him I was planning on taking the signs. I went to “DR” and bought a ladies screwdriver with a pink floral pattern, it was a warm dusky pre-rain kind of day. I sat at the restaurant next door and ordered a coke and some sliders, I kept going out for a cigarette and loosening the screws one at a time. When they were pried free I smiled, hid them there… then paid my bill next door and made off like a thief in the night. Which is what I was. But I was taking what I believed was mine anyway, it was just chilling in the public domain, useless. Mocking me, it had to go.
I saw those documents; on Tumblr. Oh wait, where did those pictures go?
Damn, I wish this story was more radical. But it’s not.
Dear Beatrice, catharis immediately sums up the period after you.
In the end, it seems my friends, we have a bit of a PR situation on our hands. You see, everyone is awake in a dream. So we have this Jimbo with this Jimbo who wants to make the headlines and revamp the career.
We have another Jimbo in Chanel suits (make it blue, please) making certain the Save the T-shirts look okay and conducting her posse. We have the haters and the paranoid (on every corner coming to a theatre near you).
Dear Mr X:
No wonder journalism is a goner sans the Wiki Leaks folks. Tough to score a source. I get it, don’t hate the playa hate the game. But don’t you play to win the game? I mean, sheeeettttt….I can’t even break the lamest West Village story in poor Beatrice’s brief history. Now I know why peeps aren’t “Winning….” I won’t blow the pots and pans and lids off anymore because the stories aren’t really stories. There is no sensation in senstationalism.
The sign isn’t missing aNYmore. It’s in someone’s living room. I hope they enjoy it. They can pass it on to their kids and their kids kids’ and talk about Connecticut and being a WASP and living the “high” life in New York in what…2008? They can talk about the good times. We’re all going to the same place. You can be cool and act cool and work cool and high five your B stars until New York becomes a C star. You can Twitter, take pictures (black and white), wear dark shades, break into the ole’ joint and relive your red booth world. Be a surfer (EVERYONE surfs in NYC; even the blonde PR chicks), you can eat oysters, drink gourmet coffee and do everything I did under the sun. Keep on keepin’ on. You can sell me down the river, because I’ve already been floated down that way…see, living in New York teaches you how to be tough. But never to care this much. I’m not mad, just bored.
I need to write. I need a day job. I’m tired and have miles to go before I sleep.
The story with this story is there is no story. It’s an inside job. Bah-oring. So with this I wave bye-bye baby…bye-bye Beatrice.
Does this make me feel good? Not really. Catharis immediately sums up the period after you. But, it’s time to put this baby to bed already. I hope you are safe and sound. Sleeping like a baby. Good night.
– THE END.
(Photos Inside Bea : Mr X)
“It’s really all Chinatown now,” said John A. Zaccaro Sr., owner of the Little Italy real estate company, founded by his father in 1935…The New York Times Little Italy, Littler by the Year.
Yes, it’s true, the exciting crammed feeling of strolling down Little Italy while channeling a young Michael Corleone is long long gone. Intermixed and mingled in the old Italian family storefronts are foot massage joints, the latest faux purses, Chinese outdoor markets with exotic herbs and old ladies who spit as far as the eye can see. It’s all true.
Any Italian romance gone except for the guys trying to lure you in with prix fix meals and watery tomatoe sauce. I still like Da Nico’s. But remember Little Charlies? Umberto’s? A goner. Wait until the Noltians close in on the Chinese. Oh, that will be the day.
“The Stoned Crow is closing at the end of 2010! The last night the bar is open will be New Year’s Eve.” Once again, I Loved New York has turned to the eyes of the West Village, Abbie K Park to write a few paragraphs in memorial.
“It was the Early ’90s and a crew of post grad friends and I had made possibly the smartest move of our lives and decided to buck trend and move downtown. Sixth Ave and 3rd street was my cross-section. I could feel the heat from the grills of Dallas Jones BBQ warming my living room floor – and what an interesting smell. A pack of buddies was holed up in a railroad apt just north. Across 6th ave, around the corner and down a few steps from them was the Stoned Crow.
Oh the times we had. Oh the times we didn’t have – a situation at the pool table had our good friend banned from the place for years….How delighted I was when I rediscovered the Crow a couple years ago. A step back in time but now with possibly the best burger in town. My beloved dart board had been removed but that was ok. See, they were doing so well, they didn’t have the room for it any more. The decor had become even richer in time – a cave palace collage of yellowed Vanity Fair spreads, movie posters and yes, Crows. I am heart-broken with this news.
Betty, we’ll miss you on your perch.”
Abbie Kunath Park was bred on cheese steaks in center city Philly and spent her younger years on the shores of Lake Michigan. She landed in suburban NY just before the 80s hit. Post grad she hopped to the big city landing her first low rent apt on 6th Avenue just across from the famed 4th Street basketball courts and above Dallas Jones BBQ then on to Spring and Thompson and her last low rent score on Mott street before marriage, pregnancy and current residence where Tortilla Flats serves as mess hall and childcare center to her two young children.