09 October 2014

Oyster Bar Neon Sign Found on Delancey

I was walking down Delancey some weeks ago when my eye was caught be this corner restaurant. "I know that sign," I thought to myself. I went in an inquired at Grey Lady, the restaurant in question, and sure enough: it was the classic, double-sided neon sign that hung for more than fifty years over the Famous Oyster Bar at 54th Street and Seventh Avenue, until it went out of business in January 2014. The owners had bought it and salvaged it. I think it actually looks better on the desolate corner of Delancey and Allen.

As some of you have doubtless noticed, I haven't posted much lately. I have been busy working on a couple books and a variety of other activities. So, for the time being, I'm going to let Lost City rest as a sort of permanent document of what New York was, and what New York has lost in the past decade. I will occasionally post when the spirit moves me. I've put too much into the site to let it die completely. In the meantime, thanks to everyone and anyone who visits this blog and loves New York.

07 October 2014

New Photo of Cariero's Restaurant

I have been chronicling the history of Cafiero's Restaurant for five years or so now and accumulated quite a cache was previously unseen, private photographs of the once-legendary Brooklyn restaurant by now.

Here's a new arrival. I was told it was taken in the 1930s, when the restaurant was relatively fresh to President Street. (It would last until the 1970s when owner "Sharkey" Cafiero retired and closed it down for good, breaking the hearts of many.) However, it looks just like one I have on which the date "1949" is written. Whatever. It's still one of the best photos I've seen. For more, click here.

What I still lack is an actual artifact from the place: a napkin, ashtray, menu, advertisement, plate, anything. I know it wasn't the kind of place that printed menus, or advertised, or have dishware with its name on it. But I keep hoping.

03 September 2014

Because They Can't Leave Anything Alone

I was walking up Avenue A about a month ago when I notice a lot of scaffolded over the building that houses the Gracefully deli—apparently the future home of the New York Sports Club. I peered more closely behind the wood and metal and mesh and noticed that, in their refurbishment of the building, the vandals had taken down the distinctive, vertical, block sign that had for decades announced the address as the former home of Burger Klein.

28 August 2014

Wooden Phone Booth Sighting: Kew Gardens Cinema

I don't think I've ever posted an item regarding Kew Gardens. Well, that changes today, as a kind reader sent me this photo of a wooden phone booth on view inside Kew Gardens Cinema.

27 July 2014

Old Deli Sign Uncovered on Upper Broadway

A reader sent to me this photo of a lovely old Delicatessen sign that was uncovered during construction on a storefront at Broadway and 103rd. Can't make out the first word—that is, the name of the place. Lovely font on the sign.

25 July 2014

ANOTHER Giambelli's Memory

I have to say, Giambelli's must have been some place. I wrote about it's closing, after 50 years on E. 50th Street, five years ago. And the comments and memories keep flowing in. Makes me hurt inside that I never went there. 

This one came the other day. It's from "Peniche" in New Zealand (!). Just read and marvel:
...We used to dine at Giambelli regularly in the mid 1970s. One evening we arrived to find the restaurant gutted for renovation. As we turned to leave a diminutive, but immaculate gentleman on the sidewalk introduced himself. 'I am Francesco Giambell...please!' and indicated a stretch Cadillac, sat beside the driver and took us to Mercurios. He asked my name, led us into the restaurant clapping his hands announcing 'Champagne for Senor Peniche and his party,' saw that we were well seated and returned to Giambelli for more customers. I have thereafter been called 'Peniche' by my friends although the name only vaguely resembles my own.

03 July 2014

The History of the Valley Candle Company

A couple years ago, I posted an item about how the television series "Miami Vice," in 1985, was allowed to blow up up an old business on Columbia Street called the Valley Candle Company.

I didn't know much about the company when I wrote that post. Since then, however, I've been contacted by a descendent of the company's founder. That was Saverio DellaValle, pictured below. (Hence, the name of the business.) Saverio came to Brooklyn from Naples in 1905. He made religious candles and delivered them to the churches in NYC. An open-minded businessman, he also made candles for the religious Jewish holidays. There were family stories that, while he was making candles, Saverio ran a still running in the factory during Prohibition. There's an enterprising gent!

The family sold the business in the '70s.

02 July 2014

Lost City: San Francisco Edition: Random Sign

Looks like I have some globe-trotting readers. A native of Edinburgh, who was recently traveling in San Francisco, snapped this shot from a taxi on mid-Market Street. "The building was having a complete renovation, and this was briefly exposed in the process," wrote the reader. "I’m assuming that it was formerly a pawn broker."

30 June 2014

Wooden Phone Booth Sighting: Harmonie Club

A reader who has been very good about spying old wooden phone booths in the City and sending me shots of them, has done so again!

This was taken inside the Harmonie Club at 4 E. 60th Street, a club I did not even know existed. The Harmonie Club was founded in 1852 and has been in its handsome McKim Mead and White designed building on 60th since 1904. "Jacket and Tie are Required. Shorts, sneakers or tennis shoes are not permitted at any time." My kind of place.

19 June 2014

Lost City: San Francisco Edition: A Good Sign: Kaye's Footwear

Old Kaye's Footwear, which once sold Florsheim Shoes in San Francisco's Chinatown, doesn't exist anymore, but the handsome sign lives on.