I must have been napping, so I don't know when formerly grungy Times Square relic Smith's Bar and Grill cleaned up its act. But I was walking by the Eighth Avenue joint the other night and it just didn't look right.
I peered in. What was it? Then it hit me. The lunch counter was gone. There used to be this old-style, none-too-fancy, hot-food counter to the left just as your walked in. You could get a lot of unappetizing hot grub at a cheap price. It was so Eisenhower Era. There was a sign over it that said "Hand Carved Hot Sandwiches." (See far below.) Now it was gone. In it's place where some polished wood tables and stools. (See above.) Very antiseptic. Very Bennigan's.
I noticed other things. There was a clean new awning leading up to the entrance. New awnings always scream "gentrification!" The words "Smith's" was etched, all classy-like, in all of the windows and doors. The grime and menace of the place had been scrubbed away. The 55-year-old tavern is making nice with Bloomberg's New York. What a shame.
All that remains of the old Smith's is the fantastic neon sign. Thank God for that.