31 December 2008

Lehrer Listerners Care

I just finished doing my segment on "The Brian Lehrer Show" about my end of the year "Bring Out Your Dead" list. You can find a podcast of it here. It was great fun, if talking about such a mournful topic can be called fun. There's something about the calm, warm, ever-so-slightly wry timber of Lehrer's voice. I've always been mesmerized by it. I guess that's why he has a thriving radio career.

Anyway, I'm glad to see the topic was a lively one with New Yorkers. Lehrer quoted from many of the e-mails (99 so far) that poured in from listeners while the segment was going on. Among the deceased institutions that people mentioned: Florent, Five Roses Pizza, Chez Laurence, Sucelt coffee shop, Jerry's, Love Saves the Day, Maya Schaper Cheese & Antiques, Chez Brigette, the Donnell Library, and more. Many mentioned places that had actually closed in 2006 or 2007, but time zips by quickly these days. And then there's that caller who eulogized his favorite strip club in Williamsburg. Unless it was 100 years old, I'm not sure if that counts.

One thing I wish I had mentioned during the interview: P&G Cafe, the last great tavern on the Upper West Side, closes tonight. Go!


Anonymous said...

The business I still most miss that was closed due to landlord greed was Footlight Records, formerly on 12th St just below Union Square. They went to an online-only store which just now closed for good this month. But that store was a mecca for every person I know who liked soundtracks and show albums. They would stock things I never expected to see in a store, and half the fun was seeing what was in their used CD bins. I know many out-of-towners who built a visit to Footlight into their NY stays. And back when it was open, I know I bought a lot more show and film music CDs just via the phenomenon of impulse buying: you hold something in your hand, it looks interesting, there's no shipping costs and instant gratification. The last time I looked, there's still no tenant in the former Footlight storefront, so those landlords be-damned! There is now no place left in New York City to buy specialty and small-label film and show CDs, unless you want to count Colony, whose midtown location is linked to sky-high prices and must just be thought of as a tourist trap, albeit a fairly well-stocked one.

Just down the road from the late Footlight Records, 12th Street Books was similarly forced out of its charming basement walkdown location ths year, but I finally trekked out to their new store at 179 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn a few weeks ago and was reassured to see the same two guys in charge and a very pleasant and high-quality used book store that hopefully will keep thriving in Brooklyn. I believe they call themselves The Atlantic Bookshop now.

Ken Mac said...

Excellent ! I was surprised at the amount of people who actually give a damn about our vanishing history. Sometimes I think it's just me. And you. We gotta get this blog more publicity Brooks!