"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: NYC

Where & When: S2 Game 7

Here we go again with another round of Where & When! I’m just going to jump right in with this one, because it’s fairly easy and I spent hours trying to find something like it, so I want to go to bed now…

Where & When S2 Game 7Some might look at this right away and know exactly what it is, some might just blink twice and wait for the experts to chime in.  But it’s a nice photo regardless, and that’s always a big part of why the game exists, no? So you know the drill by now; tell us where and when this photo was taken (show your math of course), and feel free to kick in any ancillary information about this photo or location; i.e. history, current conditions, future events and/or any interesting trivia associated.  Cold root beer for the first person to get the correct answers, and cream sodas for all participants.

I’m going to bed (Sunday night as I write), see you all later!

Photo Credit: Shorpy

Where & When: S2 Game 6

Hey there, got time for another game of Where & When? Well so do I; I was so busy with early and long calls last week that I couldn’t get a post in edge-wise. But the holidays are approaching and the weather is starting to get a bit frightful (or annoyingly inconsistent if you’re in the east like me), so why don’t we take advantage of this little smattering of downtime and press our luck on this:

Where & When S2 Game 6Another easy one, so I won’t offer any clues.  What I would like you to do is figure out the location of this photo and when it was likely taken, plus give us at least five modern landmarks that obviously don’t appear in this picture when it was taken (they could also be in the general vicinity if not exactly within the range of the photo).  As a bonus question, name one landmark that was fairly recently replaced by another, in or within range of the picture (tough one for you non-Noo Yawkuz out there!) Here’s a hint for that: “whatever it is I think I see…”

So have at it, people.  In respect to the weather, I think I’ll substitute a bowl of chicken noodle soup for the first person to get all the answers I seek, and a bottle of cold root beer for the bonus.  Everyone else gets a fortune cookie… don’t ask me why, I’m just playing it by ear today because of the weather.

Have fun, show your math and complete answers for credit.  Don’t peek at the photo credit and I’ll chat with you later!

Photo credit: NYC Past

New York Minute

c18res

From Douglas Martin in the Times:

On Saturday mornings, Tom’s restaurant in Brooklyn is so popular that people line up outside just to be served old-fashioned diner cuisine like chocolate egg creams and all manner of pancakes. It’s been that way for years, and until the owner, Gus Vlahavas, died this month at 76, the patrons’ patience was rewarded with the free coffee, cookies, sausage bits and orange slices he handed out while they waited.

Mr. Vlahavas started working at Tom’s, which opened as an ice-cream parlor under a different name in 1936, when he was 9 years old. He stayed for more than 60 years, lovingly molding it into a homey Brooklyn family institution before retiring in 2009.

He died of respiratory complications on Nov. 4 at Columbia University Medical Center in Manhattan, his daughter, Beth Vlahavas, said.

Changelessness was the stock in trade at Tom’s, right down to the décor, including a half-dozen American flags and bright plastic flowers on the tables. It has had only one address since it was opened by Mr. Vlahavas’s paternal grandfather: 782 Washington Avenue.

[Photo Via: City.se]

New York Minute

sal's

Sal and Carmine’s on the upper west side. A representative New York slice. Thin crust and on the salty side but that suits me just fine.

New York Minute

commodore-2 (1)

My man Max passed along this cool Jazz Profiles interview with Milt Gabler:

Q: Let’s start with the shop. It was your father’s shop, but it wasn’t a record store until you got involved in it, right?

MG: … My father’s store was on Third Avenue between 41st and 42nd streets at that time. He had a radio and electrical store, a supply shop. Originally he was a hardware man, and when electrical stuff came in, he took that in. Then at the end of World War I, my Uncle Sid, my mother’s younger brother, talked him into putting in radio parts and stuff like that, and they opened their radio department.

Later, a store became available between Lex and Third Avenue on the downtown side of the street, at 144 East 42nd Street, a little nine-foot store. Sid talked my dad into opening a radio shop exclusively on 42nd Street, to be nearer to Grand Central and get the flow of traffic when people walked to the Third and Second Avenue El. They had elevated trains in those years, although the Lexington Avenue was below ground.

Radio was coming in by ’26 and ’27, especially ham radios. Everybody built their own sets in those years. You bought kits, or you bought parts. You got these radio magazines and learned how to put together a crystal set or a one-tube set. And we sold batteries and aerial wire and all that kind of stuff.

I, of course, went with Sid to the 42nd Street store, and would wait on customers. Acetone speakers came out . . . Cone speakers were invented in those years, where you would get, like a wooden frame and you would stretch airplane cloth that they used on the wings of the airplanes in 1918, like the Wright Brothers and all. You stretched it over this square frame. They had magnetic coil and stuff with a stylus coming out of it, and a gimmick for putting the hole in the cloth, and then tightening on with a thumb screw, and pulling it back. Then you bought this stuff that kids used to sniff later, the glue, and you poured it on the cloth and it would shrink and become taut, and you would have a cone. Now they’re made out of paper, but then you did it with this airplane cloth. And we sold all those kits and everything. It had a better sound the little magnetic thing, like a more sensitive earphone in your telephone. Those were the first loudspeakers with a cone on them, a cone diaphragm.

Where & When: S2 Game 5

Well now, how about another round of Where & When? We’ve had a pretty good week with some interesting challenges, and I certainly would like to keep that run going.  So everyone grab their root beer mugs and their cream soda flutes and follow me:

Where & When S2 Game 5Plenty of clues in this one and definitely a set year this photo was taken.  So what I’d like for you to find out are the names and locations of the low building in the foreground and the tall building in the background as well as the name of the general area, plus the evident year this photo was taken.  As usual, a cold mug of root beer to the first person to give us all the answers and how they determined them, and a tall glass of cream for the rest of us.  I’ll be checking in throughout.  I think this is a pretty easy one, so no bonus today unless you come up with something really interesting about something in the pic or some event that occurred in the general region at that time.

Have fun and don’t peek at the credits!

Photo credit: Wired New York

New York Minute

cafeedison

I used to eat here all the time. The food wasn’t great but it was more than tolerable and the prices were right. When I worked in the movie business, Cafe Edison was a go-to spot for lunch.

This is a bummer. 

New York Minute

ballett

Dig this new video series. 

New York Minute

skys

Hyper realistic paintings via Fifax. 

Where & When: S2 Game 4

Hello again, welcome back to Where & When.  Yesterday’s game was a bit too easy for my tastes (though it was a very nice pic I couldn’t pass up), so I thought I’d track down another tough one and throw it at you.  This one is tough not so much for the location, but for the time. Here, you take a look:

Where & When S2 Game 4As you can see, there are a lot of clues about the location, but not too many about the time.  I suppose if you’re a history buff you can pinpoint the year by certain visual evidence and deduction… the resource I have doesn’t have a conclusion, so it’s up to us to gather where and when this was taken.

A cold barrel of root beer of choice for the one who can actually get the answers with specific references supporting both answers, a cream soda for everyone who plays.  I’ll throw in a scoop of french vanilla for anyone who might get my inside reasoning for possibly choosing this photo (and I know, it’s not fair but keep it to yourself and use any specific term or phrase I’ve often used if you get it).

Have fun, folks and I’ll be back again soon.  Show your path to enlightenment and don’t peek at the credits!

Photo credit: New York City Black & White

New York Minute

billyjo

This is a few weeks old but check out Nick Paumgarten’s long New Yorker profile of the piano man:

Billy Joel sat smoking a cigarillo on a patio overlooking Oyster Bay. He had chosen the seating area under a trellis in front of the house, his house, a brick Tudor colossus set on a rise on the southeastern tip of a peninsula called Centre Island, on Long Island’s North Shore. It was a brilliant cloudless September afternoon. Beethoven on Sonos, cicadas in the trees, pugs at his feet. Out on the water, an oyster dredge circled the seeding beds while baymen raked clams in the flats. Joel surveyed the rising tide. Sixty-five. Semi-retirement. Weeks of idleness, of puttering around his motorcycle shop and futzing with lobster boats, of books and dogs and meals, were about to give way to a microburst of work. His next concert, his first in more than a month, was scheduled to begin in five hours, at Madison Square Garden, and he appeared to be composing himself.

“Actually, I composed myself a long time ago,” he said. He told a joke that involved Mozart erasing something in a mausoleum; the punch line was “I’m decomposing.” He knocked off an ash. Whenever anyone asks him about his pre-show routine, he says, “I walk from the dressing room to the stage. That’s my routine.” Joel has a knack for delivering his own recycled quips and explanations as though they were fresh, a talent related, one would think, to that of singing well-worn hits with sincere-seeming gusto. He often says that the hardest part isn’t turning it on but turning it off: “One minute, I’m Mussolini, up onstage in front of twenty thousand screaming people. And then, a few minutes later, I’m just another schmuck stuck in traffic on the highway.” It’s true: the transition is abrupt, and it has bedevilled rock stars since the advent of the backbeat. But this schmuck is usually looking down on the highway from an altitude of a thousand feet. He commutes to and from his shows by helicopter.

Joel was wearing a black T-shirt tucked into black jeans, black Vans, and an Indian Motorcycle ball cap. The back of his head, where hair might be, was freshly shorn, and his features, which in dark or obscure moods can appear mottled and knotted, were at rest, projecting benevolent bemusement. To prepare for the flight, he’d put on a necklace of good-luck medallions—pendants of various saints. The atavism of Long Island is peculiar. Though Jewish, and an atheist, he had, as a boy in a predominantly Catholic part of Hicksville, attended Mass, and even tried confession. His mother took him and his sister to Protestant services at a local church; he was baptized there. Still, a girl across the street said he’d grow horns, and a neighborhood kid named Vinny told him, “Yo, Joel, you killed Jesus. I’m gonna beat your ass.” Vinny did, repeatedly. Joel took up boxing to defend himself. The nose still shows it.

There was a rumble in the distance. “That’s my guy,” Joel said. “He’s early.” A helicopter zipped in over the oystermen and landed down by the water, at the hem of a great sloping lawn, where Joel had converted the property’s tennis court to a helipad. He’d recently had to resurface it, after Hurricane Sandy. Joel often attempts to inoculate himself with self-mockery. “Oh, my helipad got flooded,” he says, with the lockjaw of Thurston Howell III.

 

Where & When: S.2 Game 3

Welcome back to Where & When; our third episode of the new season.  Let’s keep the ball rolling along with a new stumper; I loved how you guys all teamed up with your clues on the last game, so lets put our noggins together on this little brainteaser:

Where & When S2 Game 3This shouldn’t be too hard to figure out, since it’s fairly distinctive and there are very strong clues all over.  Figure out the location and time period of this photo and you’ll get the usual first prize of a thought of cold root beer swishing around in a frosty mug approaching your mouth.  All of our contestants will get to pacify themselves with cool thoughts of a sweet cream soda doing the same thing.  As usual, I’ll check in when I have time throughout the day to cajole you if necessary and maybe even declare a winner. So as always, have fun, feel free to share your stories and don’t peek at the phot credit!

Photo credit: NYC Past

New York Minute

Katz's Deli.

Check out this story at Slate by Jordan Weissmann on how Katz’s stays in business:

The newer generation of artisanal delicatessens that have risen up in recent years—restaurants like Brooklyn’s Mile End Deli and Washington, D.C.’s DGS Delicatessen—are fundamentally different. They serve their own excellent, obsessively sourced variations of house-cured and smoked pastrami (or Montreal-style “smoked meat,” in Mile End’s case). But volume isn’t really part of their equation. Instead, they emphasize profitable alcohol sales and have more varied menus with higher margin main dishes. And crucially, they can pack less meat onto the plate, which would be anathema at an old-school deli like Katz’s.

“Katz’s is super-special. It’s the only thing of its kind in the entire world,” Mile End’s founder, Noah Bernamoff, tells me.

The reason Katz’s was able to live on while its competitors disappeared largely boils down to real estate. As Sax writes in Save the Deli, New York’s delicatessens can basically be divided into two groups: those that rent their buildings and those that own. Famous renters, like the Stage Deli and 2nd Avenue Deli, have closed in the face of rent hikes. Famous owners, like Carnegie and Katz’s, have lived on. (And when 2nd Avenue Deli reopened, it bought a building … on New York’s 3rd Avenue). If Katz’s had to deal with a landlord, it would likely have disappeared or moved long ago.

[Photo Credit: Antonio Bonanno]

Where & When: S.2 Game 2

Greetings, kids and kittens, welcome back to another edition of Where & When. Our season premiere was very solid and we had a pretty good turnout (though I was remiss in declaring a winner since it seemed to be a group effort, so everyone gets a root beer), how about we follow up with some more excitement and discovery?

I’ve somehow stumbled upon some pretty interesting locales and buildings, so I’m rather amped to share them with you this week; provided of course that I have time to set them up like this. So c’mon, let’s get to the game, shall we?

 

Where & When S2 Game 2

This looks like a rather unique structure for New York, doesn’t it? It sort of reminds me of a beach resort hotel… well, at least one of those thoughts is relative to the location, or close to it.  The region was likely not as developed as it is now, but a place like this would certainly stand out in any era.  As usual, your job is to determine where this picture was taken and when.  There are enough clues in the picture to get a good idea when, but where is going to take some thinking.

There’s a frothing decanter of root beer waiting for the first person to answer both questions correctly, and a bonus scoop of ice cream for the one who can answer the bonus question of what this region looks like now; i.e. what has become of what you see in the photo.

All participants with good guesses or good stories will get a equally frosty glass of cream soda.  Cheers to all involved and I’ll try to get back sometime during the day (but as you can tell, I make no promises).  Enjoy!

photo credit: Library of Congress

Where & When: Season 2!

Greetings ladies and gents and welcome to a new season of Where and When! No, it wasn’t a dream or a passing fancy of some lunatic minds, it was and is a rather fun puzzle game for our readers to utilize their deductive skills in tracking down the answers to life’s important questions… well, trivial maybe, but all games involve a certain amount of seemingly useless knowledge. Back by popular demand (and a moment to spare in a busy work schedule), I’ve brought to you something new to disseminate and ponder.  But before we get down to the nitty-gritty, a little background for the newcomers to Bronx Banter and/or this game we play…

Earlier in the year, Alex posted an interesting picture here from another site of a New York City landscape from the early part of the 20th century (so near, and yet so far) in which the writer asked help in identifying the location depicted in the picture.  After some pondering and sharing of our observations within the picture, several of our loyal readers (myself included) concluded that the picture was an early photo of Manhattan’s West Side along the Hudson River; facing north from the busy piers near Midtown and peering far into the distance where the George Washington Bridge was just under construction.  By this we were also able to determine the probable date the photo was taken.  Riverside Drive was the dominant roadway, but the Henry Hudson Parkway was also under construction at the moment the picture was taken.

It was a fun undertaking, as I later wrote to Alex, and I suggested making a game out of it.  “You’re hired” he responded, and I’ve been the administrator of this effort ever since. I’ve experimented with rules and formats throughout, trying to make it fair and more involving for everyone as our readers are so widely dispersed that some miss out on the game due to the difference in time from here to there part of the globe, but I’ve compensated in creative ways to involve them as well.  In the end, I settled for a free exchange of ideas and suggestions with the stipulation that whoever answers he questions fully explain the process they used to find the answers (the journey can be equally as, if not more entertaining than the destination itself).  The winners (the first person to answer the questions correctly) would receive a theoretical root beer; a Banter tradition that began with the jinxing of anyone who posted an identical comment to the comment prior to his or her own.  The rest of the players were given cream sodas as a consolation prize for playing.  I had something special in mind for the person who tabulated the most wins in a year, but because my work schedule began to interfere with regularly scheduled postings, I tabled that idea for the time being (but it’s still under consideration).

About the scheduling; I tried to adhere to a two or three-a-week schedule of games, but I ran into two big problems: life (big problem, supersedes everything fun) and supply.  I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I try to find interesting challenges for these games and generally avoid stock footage of standard New York City easy-to-identify landmarks. There are many sites with different photos of many places around the city, but even some of those are nondescript and would not provide a fair amount of clues to present as a challenge.  So with those limitations, I’ve often found myself painted into a corner concerning what to present.  Alex and I have discussed this at length and he has encouraged me to open my definition of what I consider interesting challenges as it were, bearing in mind that some people may be seeing these locales for the first time.  With that in mind, I am being more open minded about what to present so that I don’t run out of material and also to allow one of my main goals to come into fruition: to educate and enlighten our readers and players about the history and appreciation of our great city and its region of influence.  The most important thing to remember is that it is a game and was born from and meant for fun.

So let’s have some fun, shall we?

Where & When S2 G1 C

Here we have an aerial photo of a region within the city that you may or may not recognize from certain features within the picture.  I think this is an easy one, but I’m sure that those of you not native to the region will want to look up some of the details in whatever manner you use to research. I can say this much, the features in this picture give a good indication of the time period of this photo, so I don’t have to drop many hints.  If you get it within the correct decade, you’ll get credit for the when answer.  So, if you answer Where this picture dipicts and When it was likely taken, you will win our traditional first prize, a frosty mug of high-quality root beer (which is always up for discussion).  As a bonus, if you can identify at least two major features within this photo with proper names from the time it was taken, you will get a scoop of ice cream to add to your root beer, making it a root beer float of course.  All players who participate in the discussion will receive a cold mug of cream soda for your efforts.  I will try to return during the latter part of the day to reveal the answers and discuss any trivia or history that’s associated.  You are all free to discuss whatever you like about it, but please avoid using the direct link in the photo credit (unless you find it during your research) and also as discussed before, show your math.

So ladies and gents, welcome back and have fun!

photo credit: Wired New York

New York Minute

gcarlin

So good. 

Photo Credit: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times]

New York Minute

umbrellaz

Every day when I get out of the subway on my way to work I see this dude selling the papers.

I walk up to him and bow. We smile and say hello. That’s it.

I admire the hell of him because he’s out there no matter the weather. Like this morning, a cold, rainy one in Manhattan.

New York Minute

munshin-break_opt

The Bronx is Up…

New York Minute

footballnyc

Hut, hut…

Picture via Kateoplis.

New York Minute

secondave

Ah, the 2nd Avenue Deli…

[Photo Via: Indy Pendent Thinking]

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver