If only I liked Oysters. There are a few places that held a certain mystery for me as a kid and the Oyster Bar is one of them. My parents talked about it with reverence. I’ve actually been once as an adult–I had a drink there with a friend a few years ago–but still haven’t had the Oysters.
[Photo via NYC Nostalgia]
Mr. Cab Driver…from Pete Hamill:
Taxi drivers are the most enduring oppressed minority in New York City history. Race, ethnicity and religion are not sources of the oppression. It lies entirely in the nature of the work. Trapped for about 12 hours each day in the worst traffic in the United States, taxi drivers must suffer the savage frustrations of jammed streets, double-parked cars, immense trucks, drivers from New Jersey — and they can’t succumb to the explosive therapy of road rage. Their living depends on self-control.
At the same time, they face many other hazards: drunks behind them in the cab, fare beaters, stickup men, Knicks fans filled with biblical despair, out-of-town conventioneers who think the drivers are mobile pimps. Some seal themselves off from the back seat with the radio, an iPod or a cellphone. All pray that the next passenger doesn’t want to go from Midtown to the far reaches of Brooklyn or Queens. They hope for a decent tip. They hope to stay alive until the next fare waves from under a midnight streetlamp.
[Photo Credit: Matt Draper]
That there’s the Brill Building in midtown, Manhattan. I got my first job working in the movie business there when I was 17. Summer of 1988. This is what it was like back then. Surrounded by pornography. Why, there she is, one of the Queens, herself: Vanessa Del Rio.
[Photo Credit: Ghislain Bonneau]
Emily and I were at the Yankee game last on Friday night. On the subway ride up to the Stadium we saw a middle-aged man wearing a Lawrie jersey. Brett Lawrie, who looks more like a jacked-up MMA fighter than a ballplayer. I couldn’t resist, so I went up to the guy and said, “Why Lawrie?”
He said, “He’s Canadian.”
Cool. Made sense to me. We saw a lot of Lawrie jerseys that night. After the game we rode on the subway for a few stops with a Canadian couple. They were charming. Em and I were reminded of all the things we haven’t done in our city, like visit Ellis Island. I’ve been to top of the Empire State Building but not in 30 years. Haven’t been to the Statue of Liberty since I was a kid either.
Still so much to see here, right?
[Photo Via: SimplyMyView Photography]
INTERVIEWER: You’ve often said New York is your favorite city: Was it love at first sight?
SIMIC: It was. It was an astonishing sight in 1954. Europe was so gray and New York was so bright; there were so many colors, the advertisements, the yellow taxicabs. America was only five days away by ship, but it felt as distant as China does today. European cities are like operatic stage sets. New York looked like painted sets in a sideshow at a carnival where the bearded lady, sword- swallowers, snake charmers, and magicians make their appearances.
[Photo Credit: Andre Robe]
My father’s best friend Marty died yesterday. I found out this morning from his daughter who sent me a message on Facebook.
I thought of Marty on my way to work, and the unabiding loyalty he shard with Dad for more than 50 years.
A melancholy song by Guy Clark played on my iPhone:
At a 145th Street, a young man walked onto the train holding a cardboard box. I removed one earbud after he started to talk. His voice was bright and clear. I thought he was selling candy. Instead, he said that he was Pete Seeger’s grandson. He moved through the car and handed out pamphlets for something called Seegerfest. I took a pamphlet and told him that I admired his grandfather. He said that both of his grandparents died in the past year and that he missed them very much.
At the next stop he left the car and went to the next one. His grandparents would be proud.
Many consider the destruction of New York’s original Pennsylvania Station in 1963 to have been the architectural crime of the twentieth century. But few know how close we came to also losing its counterpart, Grand Central Terminal, a hub every bit as irreplaceable. Grand Central’s salvation has generally been told as a tale of aroused civic virtue, which it was. Yet it was, as well, an affirming episode for those of us convinced that our political culture has become an endless clown-car act with the same fools always leaping out.
“In New York then, I learn to appreciate the Italian Renaissance,” said Le Corbusier of Grand Central. “It is so well done that you could believe it to be genuine. It even has a strange, new firmness which is not Italian, but American.” It was not seen as such by its owner, New York Central Railroad, which viewed it mostly as a cash cow. As early as 1954, the Central proposed replacing the terminal with something called The Hyberboloid — an I. M. Pei monstrosity that, at 108 stories and 1,600 feet, would have become the world’s tallest building at the time. There was enough public outcry that a scaled-down Hyberboloid was built instead just north of Grand Central, where it was retitled the Pan Am (later the Met Life) Building. Even at a lesser height, it proved every bit as grotesque as promised.
Still unsatisfied, New York Central proposed in 1961 to build a three-level bowling alley over Grand Central’s Main Concourse, which would have required lowering the ceiling from sixty feet to fifteen and cutting off from view its glorious blue mural of the zodiac. This, too, was stopped. Foiled again, New York Central resorted to plastering the terminal with ads and bombarding travelers with canned Muzak, complete with commercials, over the public address system.
[Photo Credit: Boris Yale Klapwald/Brain-Ink]