29 December 2008

Matchbooks of the Lost City

A couple weeks ago, I descended into my cellar to retrieve some Christmas decorations. While there, I stumbled upon a dusty old plastic bag filled with matchbooks. When I was younger, I used to grab a matchbook at every restaurant and bar I patronized. When I came home, I'd toss it in an old coffee can or Ball jar. After a while, these souvenirs accumulated and became a nuisance. I packed the collection up at some point and banished it to the basement.

Some years have passed since then. The evidence is in the matchbooks. Many belong to restaurants long gone, some famous, some not. Many I have written about on this very blog.

I'll return to the collection from time to time in the future, but for now here are a few that immediately caught my eye.

The Second Avenue Deli, back when it was actually on Second Avenue.

Barrymore's, former actors hangout on W. 45th Street, torn down in 2006.

The Moondance Diner, the Soho landmark that was famously evicted and then carted off to some one-horse town in Wyoming.

EL Teddy's, onetime popular Tribeca eatery and watering hole.


joy said...

Wow, those are some great matchbooks.

I keep a collection as well, but mine are nowhere near as cool as yours.

Plus, since they banned smoking, it's far and few between that I can leave a restaurant with a branded matchbook nowadays. Still, they make for great time captures of days gone by.

Anonymous said...

Yes, those are great matchbooks! I remember El Teddy's quite well, as it was the ONLY place in Tribeca back in the day! I couldn't imagine where my friends had sent me as I was wandering around empty warehouses and loading docks!

Faneul H. Peabody said...

Teddy's was a great loss. The destruction of that building was the nail in the coffin of any coolness or relevancy that Downtown New York still had. THAT and it was a really fun cool restaurant.
Also, those matchbooks are worth a ton of money.