12 March 2014
11 March 2014
Everyone knows the White Horse Tavern on Hudson Street, the century-old-plus haunt of writers, singers and anarchists, last drinking spot of poet Dylan Thomas, etc. Fewer know of the city's other White Horse Tavern, dive-ish hole in the wall on a nothing side street on the southern tip of Manhattan.
10 March 2014
This is the Park Slope storefront on 9th Street that used to contain Catene, the Italian sandwich shop that specialized in calamari heros, and closed in 2012 after 46 years in business. Judging by the cute exterior, it looks like the next tenant will be a little less rough and ready. Cute storefront. But I miss the old, brazen, red sign.
Haven't done one of these in a while. But this pizzeria, encountered by accident during a trip to The Bronx, seemed to fit the bill, what with the corner space, the hand-painted signage on both sides of the storefront, and the upper signs with the illustration of the pizza man flipping dough.
Golden Pizza is in Mott Haven. It's at the corner of Brook Avenue and 138th Street. From the looks of the place, it was founded in the early 1970s, and no later. But who can tell? Places like this, there's very little recorded history about. But it has the feel of that kind of local pizzeria that neighborhood people have been depending on for decades. For the record, it's owned by two folks named Harjinger and Manginda Singh.
09 March 2014
The Lower East Side has lost a great many of its mercantile landmarks over the past 20 years of gentrification. And I'm not suggested that Jade Fountain Liquor Corporation—a grungy little booze shop on Delancey east of Essex—can replace the likes of Ratner's or Gertel's. But, hey, it is nearly a hundred years old!
According to the patchwork sign—which says, among many things, "As Old As Hills"—the store was was found in 1920-something. (I can't tell what the last number, now fallen off, was.) Which is, of course, absolute nonsense. No liquor store in the U.S. was founding in 1920-anything, because Prohibition was in effect from 1920 to 1933. Nor is it likely that the shop has existed all that time as Jade Fountain. Not in this location, which was solidly Jewish until the 1960s or so. Chinatown didn't start to encroach on Delancey and Essex until the late 1980s
07 March 2014
This City is growing alarmingly short of classic New York delis. So it was painful to hear, in November 2012, that Sarge's Deli in Murray Hill—one of the lesser sung delis, but a dearly loved one nonetheless (witness the crazy number of comments on my "Who Goes There?" column in 2011)—was gutted by fire. I'm sure many suspected it would never rise from the ashes.
Happily, the skeptics were wrong. Sarge's reopened for business this week. Here are some shots of the interior. Strangely, the owners seemed to have strived to recreate the deli's unremarkable interior exactly. The place basically looks as it did before the fire. Only a little cleaner.
Soon after I wrote about midtown's circa-1959 Famous Oyster Bar for a "Who Goes There?" column in 2013, the joint gave up the ghost. The restaurant closed in January 2014, pushed out by a greedy landlord.
The good news is the classic neon sign—always the best thing about the place—has been saved. Bowery Boogie reports that Grey Lady co-owner Ryan Chadwick purchased the twin signs, and will soon attach them to the facade of his establishment at Allen and Delancey Streets.
04 March 2014
The same eagle-eyed reader who sent me photos last week of the wooden phone booths at the Queens County Supreme Court, soon after sent me this image of wooden phone booths at the Harvard Club in midtown. Which makes me think this reader of mind travels in some well-heeled circles.
02 March 2014
I've always assumed that the Rat-Squirrel House—aka 149 Kane Street in Cobble Hill (seen today, above, and in olden times, below), Brooklyn, a structure whose creepy and bizarre decline and resurrection I've chronicled for five years—was once a normal, upstanding structure, occupied by normal, upstanding citizens—not the reclusive, Collyer-Brothers-like lady who let the landmarked building fall to wrack and ruin during the '90s and early 2000s.
I was wrong.
A few weeks ago, I received this message from a reader. It's the first time I've ever been contacted by anyone with intimate, direct known of 149 Kane Street. Read and wonder:
27 February 2014
I've posted in the past about old restaurants of many stripe: Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, steakhouses, chophouses, society joints, cafeterias, etc. Swedish restaurants, not so much.
A reader sent me this photograph of the Gripsholm Restaurant, which lived on E. 57th Street in midtown Manhattan. The postcard is from the 1930s. It looks pretty elegant. And I love the little bar set up for "Cocktail Hour" (which we see, by the hands of the clock, is 5 p.m.). I am intrigued that the most famous feature of the Gripsholm was its "Swedish Hors d'Oeuvres."
"Swedish Hors d'Oeuvres" means smorgasbord. And Gripsholm was famous for theirs. "It goes without saying that an appetite for hors d'oeuvres is a prerequisite for true enjoyment of a Scandinavian meal." The same article says that the Gripsholm's smorgasbord featured, yes, pickled herring. Also, eel, salmon, fish canapes, cold cuts, head cheese, pig's feet and "the salads." Then, there were the "hot foods": boiled potatoes flavored with dill, egg and salmon, fish balls, etc. All this for $1.50. The restaurant was also famous for its crawfish, which were cultivated in the brooks of not Sweden, but Wisconsin.
Gripsholm was owned by Ragnar Asplund, formerly manager of the Swedish Rathskeller. It catered to a well-heeled, Sutton Place crowd. The Danish royal family dined here in 1939, after attending the World's Fair. And Ethel Merman, too, at some point. I don't know when it closed, but it was still around as late at 1978.
Mr. Chow occupies the space once held by Gripsholm.
Posted by Brooks of Sheffield at 12:00 AM