Tuesday, 21 July 2009
Friday, 20 March 2009
You think Central Park is "nature."
Your favorite movie has DeNiro in it.
You run when you see a flashing "Do Not Walk" sign at the intersection.
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Hotel Gansevoort, 18, 9th Avenue at 13th Street (above) epitomizes the entire essence of the Meatpacking District. Uber-Chic and cutting edge trendy, slavish to 'killer' fashion, vainglorious and 'serial hedonistic' and yet fun, lively and irresistible. Like other establishments in the area it equates 'success' to the number of thick-necked, shaven-headed men in suits standing menacingly on the premises ostensibly providing security. Hotel Gansevoort even has these 'heavies' in each of it's elevators as well!
....and bedroom ....
It's 187 rooms all have high ceilings and large windows, sophisticated color scheme (neutrals and greys with a shot of blackberry) and minimalist decor, are comfortable enough if not a little tight in square footage. I stayed for two nights in 2008 and whilst initially a tad resistant to the room size and the 'razzmatazz' of most habitues and visitors, really warmed to the place particularly the front desk staff who were delightfully charming and helpful. The buffet breakfast served in the Ono Restaurant was very good value at $13 per head.
With the global economy in recession at best, there will be a marked reduction in visitors to NYC, along with a tightening of both corporate and individual's belts, which would indicate a 'shoot-out' between the Standard and Gansevoort for the lion's share of whatever is going of Meatpacking's hotel business and the sobriquet of the 'place to stay and be seen at' in this style obsessed district.
Sunday, 15 March 2009
Like most urban legends, this incident was probably a hoax because the odds of anyone surviving the 135 foot plunge are practically nil. Skeptics claimed that Brodie had a friend toss a dummy off the bridge while he hid under a nearby pier, then swam out when rescue boats approached the scene.
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Just as well really as shortly before the Civil War, Christopher "Kit" Burns leased the building as "Sportsmen's Hall" ostensibly to run a tavern but as a side-line to promote, illegal but semi-tolerated bare-knuckle boxing matches.
Friday, 13 March 2009
Take away the television (and most of the women), and you'll have a pretty good idea of what this pub looked like when it pulled its first pint back during the Civil War. It still retains a neighborhood atmosphere right down to the regular's football pool. The intricately carved bar serves enough beers (including Pete's own brew, 1864 Ale) to slake all but the pretentious thirsts, and the dense decor recalls an eccentric grandmother's attic.
O.Henry, the pen name of American writer William Sydney Porter (1822-1910) was regular at Pete's Tavern. His short stories are known for wit, wordplay, warm characterization and clever twist endings and from his favourite booth in the front part of the tavern wrote in 1904 one of his most famous stories "The Gift of the Magi".
Thursday, 12 March 2009
The building became a salacious footnote in a sensational 1907 trial involving a teenage showgirl, a jealous husband, and a renowned architect Stanford White (below).
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
The future of Hotel Pennsylvania is currently in doubt as the owner would like to demolish it and replace with an office tower. The debate rages on with nothing as yet decided.
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
As big a hole as it was, it still pales into insignificance when compared to the 'mind-boggling' size of the enormous hole left in the balance sheets of the world's leading financial institutions by 'toxic loans and other trading losses' made by negligent, foolhardy and totally irresponsible but surprisingly highly remunerated executives.
"If it's not the Easter Day Parade my street cred's blown."
"Fidel Castro is my name."
Lock up your daughters - the Fleet's in town
Monday, 9 March 2009
41 Thomas Street is known as the birthplace of Tabloid journalism and newspapers. This is the notorious address where Helen Jewett (below), an upper class prostitute was murdered in her brothel in 1836. The murderer smashed her head in with an axe and later set her bed on fire. This was the first murder that was covered in detail by the city journalists and papers. The increase in circulation guaranteed that this sort of reporting would become the common practice.
Jewett (1813-1836) was borne in Maine to a working class family and her first job was as a servant girl in the home of The Lord Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Court where she developed into a sexually assertive young woman. Upon reaching the age of 18 she left her home and became a prostitute locally, eventually finishing up in New York City.
Jewett's body was discovered by the matron of the brothel at 3am on April 10, 1836. The position of the corpse in bed indicated that the attack was not expected as there were no signs of a struggle. After inflicting the lethal blows, the murderer then set fire to Jewett's bed. The room was full of smoke and Jewett's body charred on one side. Based on the testimony of the women who lived in the brothel, the police arrested 19 year old Richard P. Robinson on suspicion of Jewett's murder. Robinson, a repeat customer of the victim, flatly denied killing her, and did not display much emotion when confronted by the still warm corpse. He was later charged with the murder.
On June 2, 1836, Robinson's trial began and after days of testimony from several witnesses, including, Posina Townsend, the judge gave the jury its instructions and ordered that as most of the other witnesses were prostitutes, the jury must disregard their evidence. These instructions coupled with the circumstantial nature of the other evidence resulted in the jury only taking less than half an hour to return a not guilty verdict.
Friday, 6 March 2009
The famed anarchist and feminist Emma Goldman (below) lived in an apartment on the sixth floor of this old building from 1903 until 1913. She published her journal, Mother Earth, here starting in 1906. In that same year, her anarchist colleague and lover, Alexander Berkman (below with Goldman), was released from prison and joined her. Berkman had served 14 years for the attempted assassination of Henry Clay Frick in 1892.
Goldman's apartment was known as the "home for lost dogs" because many people who had little money and no place to stay often ended up here. It became a gathering place for Greenwich radicals and intellectuals.