Adventures in google reader, Wally Backman, Derek Jeter, CFL, Gold Glove, Williamsburg Bridge, Beach Brooklyn, Tapi, Wooden NYC phone booths.
here’s another older interview I recently stumbled upon, this one from 2002 with Fran Lebowitz in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood.
FL: As soon as you had a magazine called New York you had all these journalists who had to constantly write about New York. So eventually they would seek out things that they never could have come across on their own–like restaurants and places to go and ways of life–and start to write about them. And they turned these things upside down, so these things became open to the public, hence, boring and unauthentic. And eventually, the entire city became like that. There would be a club that no journalist in a million years would know about. Then one would find out about it, write about it, and ruin it. And then you’d go to another one and keep escaping these journalists. Then people starting opening clubs with an eye to being written about, so it was never a club you wanted to go to.
TB: New York has become one huge press release.
FL: That’s why New York is boring.
TB: Which is why you live here.
FL: I live here because when I got here it wasn’t boring.
TB: Do you long for the old days?
FL: Absolutely. I wouldn’t move here now. I used to work a little bit to pay my little rent. I used to drive a cab until the exact moment my rent was paid and then stop. I never wanted to have any extra money, if it meant having to have any extra work. Now there’s now way you can live in Manhattan and drive a cab. To move to Manhattan, you have to have a rich father. The kids who come here are either rich or are moving here to make money in business, which is a dull kind of kid anyway.
The following comes from a 2004 interview with Luc Sante in The Believer. I recently stumbled upon it and thought I’d share some excerpts.
“In the 1970s New York City was not a part of the United States at all. It was an offshore interzone with no shopping malls, few major chains, no golf courses, no subdivisions. We thought of the place as a free city, where exiles and lamsters and refugees found shelter. Downtown we were proud of this, naturally.”
–Luc Sante, from “My Lost City”
THE BELIEVER: In the essay “My Lost City,” you describe 1970s New York as a place of danger, authenticity, personality, and color—a city for outcasts.
LUC SANTE: All I know about 1970s New York City is that it’s where I grew up, and you always have an umbilical connection to the time and place of your growing up. It was cheap, didn’t have too many people in it, you could go to the movies or whatever on the spur of the moment, you could get by without working too much and especially without involving yourself in the corporate world. It was a wild, one-in-a-million conjunction of circumstances, a sort of black pearl of world history, when New York City was at one and the same time both the apex of Western culture and the armpit of the Western world. So you had to deal with junkies now and then—I would far rather deal with junkies than with lawyers or developers.
BLVR: How can New York regain its personality? Or are we getting the city we deserve right now?
LS: The city we have now is the one we deserve, the coagulation of money. I’m very pissed off because I love cities and yearn for them, and I can’t live in them now—and not just because I can’t afford to. My ideal city is more like the city (New York and Paris come to mind, but it sort of applies to all) that existed up to and including the 1930s, when different classes lived all together in the same neighborhoods, and most businesses of any sort were mom-and-pop, and people and things had a local identity. The sort of city where—I’ve just been reading Richard Cobb on 1930s Paris—a burglar, a banker, a taxi-driver, an academician, a modiste, and a pushcart vendor might all fetch up together in a corner banquette at the end of the night. That won’t happen again unless we have some major, catastrophic shakeup, like war (at home) or depression, and do we want either of those?
New York’s last “novelty” shop, Gordon Novelty will soon be demolished. The City needs another nail salon, bank, drug store, etc. Say goodbye to “party hats, canes, masks, grab bags, noisemakers, dice, joke items, novelty hats, carnival items, bingo supplies, lanterns, Halloween items” and “premium goods,” all under one roof.
Grimaldi’s owner Frank Ciolli lashed out at reports that his beloved, tourist-filled, Sinatra-loving pizzeria is about to be evicted from its spot under the Brooklyn Bridge.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that the DUMBO coal-burning pizza staple faces eviction at a court hearing on Friday over $44,000 in back rent.
But Ciolli told us that the money’s all there — and that his Florida-based landlord actually refused to accept his August rent payment and a security deposit on a new lease because she’s mad that he got a few Department of Sanitation violations earlier this year.
“I don’t owe her any rent [as the Wall Street Journal reported],” Ciolli said. “We’re waiting until Friday to give the landlady whatever the total is. We’re happy to serve Brooklyn and we’re not going anywhere.”
At the hearing, the owner of the Grimaldi’s building, Dorothy Waxman, is expected to ask a Supreme Court judge to evict the pizza hub regardless of whether Ciolli pays.
This isn’t the first time that the Ciolli family has faced a shutdown for not paying up. In 2008, the taxman closed the shop down for a few hours after Ciolli fell behind in as much as $165,000 of unpaid taxes. That dispute was settled within a day, and Ciolli said that he expects the same thing on Friday.
“What are they gonna do, move in another pizzeria?” Ciolli said. “It’s not gonna be Grimaldi’s. They’re gonna have an empty store. My rent’s gone from $3,000 to $8,000 a month since we opened [in 1990], and yet my pies are the same price. Where else ya gonna get that?”
West 47th Street and Broadway (looking south) comes off like a frontier town in this 1878 photo.
“Introducing The Hopsicle Experience, a frozen can of beer, sliced in half and served like a Push Pop for big kids,” now at Diablo Royale Este on Avenue A near 10th Street. (Source — who else? UrbanDaddy!)