New Yorker for 40 years
What do you think makes your store unique and a perennial favorite of downtown New Yorkers?
I don't chase after trends, I look for things that are special and designed with integrity. I follow designers I am interested in and… More >>
New Yorker Since 1988
Do you have a favorite neighborhood?
I'll always love the Lower East Side. That's where I first came to in the city. Everything's changed. I was one of the squatters down there in the '80s.
… More >>
New Yorker Since 1997
Where do you live?
In the West Village. I share a tiny place with my girlfriend. I'm pretty sure I'm the only cab driver who lives in this neighborhood. I love it, though. I'm looking at Murray's Cheese and… More >>
New Yorkers Since 2000
Where do you currently live?
Matt: Prospect—Lefferts Garden, just south of the (Brooklyn) Botanic Garden.
When you're not on tour, how do you like to unwind in the… More >>
New Yorker for 66 years
Jimmy's is one of the cheapest places to drink in Times Square. What's your happy hour?
There's not one. It's always happy. The drinks are so cheap already: $3, $4. Some drinks you can't charge $3 for—like Johnny… More >>
New Yorker since 1989
You live in Chelsea. Any favorite places around there?
Well, one of my favorite places is the Moonstruck Diner and then, of course, Billy's cupcakes and then the Empire Diner's great because you can take your dogs outside.
… More >>
New Yorker Since Birth
How have you seen Downtown Brooklyn change over all these years?
It's changed many times. In the '70s, Atlantic Antic [an annual street fair on Atlantic Avenue, started in 1974 to promote neighborhood businesses] was behind the rebirth of Downtown Brooklyn,… More >>
New Yorker Since 1994
Do you have a favorite neighborhood?
I was afraid you were going to ask me that question. You mean to live in or to wander through?
… More >>
A Whole New World
The Middle East has always played a major role in my fantasies. Anytime I needed to escape the harsh realities of life I'd open my Aladdin storybook and dream about the two of us rockin' his magic carpet, over the Arabian Desert, across the Dead Sea, and into Bethlehem. There's something metrosexy and liberating about a cartoon dude sporting open-toe… More >>
Sometimes you can gauge a gadfly's success by the backlash it creates. Drivers don't much care for members of Time's Up, especially when they're stuck behind the wheel as phalanxes of bicyclists cruise by during Critical Mass rallies (the last Friday of every month). Police don't much care for them either (remember that most traffic cops drive all day), and… More >>
Best reason to lock up your children and armor-plate your bike helmet
The Black Label Bike Club constructs weird and wonderful post-apocalyptic two-wheeled conveyances—double-decker tall bikes, double-length choppers, squirrelly trick bikes, tricked-out rat trikes, flame-throwing rocket bikes—out of discarded bits and pieces, but Black Label is about more than just riding and wrenching. It's about family . . . and you're not part of it, even if you ride a fixed-gear bike… More >>
Best spot to watch nervous mobsters and their lawyers eat club sandwiches
If mob watchers were ornithologists, they'd flock daily to Brooklyn's Park Plaza Diner on Cadman Plaza West. This sprawling piece of Queens Boulevard transported to Brooklyn Heights is the morning meeting place for indictees and their attorneys. Breakfast is followed by a ritual stroll across the park to the federal courthouse, where their fate awaits them. The Park Plaza is… More >>
Best attorney who gets publicity while bungling the case
It's a tie: Eddie Hayes and Bruce Culter, barristers for the so-called "Mafia cops" Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito. In June, two months after the former cops were convicted on racketeering charges connected to a slew of contract murders they reputedly carried out for the mob, the men filed a motion for a mistrial, not on the grounds that there… More >>
Few activist groups have the revolutionary, power-to-the-people feel of Movement for Justice in El Barrio. The 235-strong immigrant organization was formed in East Harlem back in December 2004, reaching out to the mainly Mexican immigrants in the neighborhood. In the years since, it has taken on residents' number one social-justice issue: housing. The movement has gone after about a… More >>
The good-government achievement of our time, still a model across America, is the New York City Campaign Finance Board. In its 18th year, it hands out millions in public subsidies to candidates for every city office and, in exchange, enforces tough contribution and expenditure limits. It has been so independent that it has leveled crushing fines on the campaigns of… More >>
It's been a big year in the push to preserve the Village, thanks largely to the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. The group's vigilant director, Andrew Berman, has exhibited a knack for stopping "out of context" buildings from sprouting up on quaint, historic streets, despite the red-hot development pressures. He and his colleagues have become a thorn in the… More >>
Huffing and puffing, Mayor Mike tried to blow the Homeless House down recently, railing about how he was standing up to "the tyranny" of homeless "advocates" he refused to identify by name. Maybe he thought that by just describing them as being unwilling "to admit that we're ever making progress" everyone would know he was talking about five-foot-two giant Mary… More >>
Newspaper cartoonist Ben Katchor makes it all up, but his ongoing comic strips, which are published these days in the weekly Forward, and his graphic novel The Jew of New York, set in the 1830s, are detailed evocations of a city that no longer exists. (You'd need to go back to Berenice Abbott's WPA photographs to see anything like it.)… More >>
When you're stuck on a subway platform listening to some 22-year-old recent college grad (who probably grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut) abusing a guitar and trying to sing like Bob Dylan, you almost consider walking home. But when you're lucky enough to catch Natalia Paruz, a/k/a the Saw Lady, a gross-smelling Union Square station suddenly becomes more appealing than your… More >>
For all you suckers who think you have to ditch your responsibilities and move to a monk's cell in order to realize your dreams, consider the case of "Jon Brownstoner." The lonely force behind Brownstoner Media has started four websites since October 2004, two of them indispensable to Brooklyn. Meanwhile, he's been holding down a job in the canyons… More >>
Despite Mike Bloomberg's moral crusade against cigarettes, it's impossible to stop smoking as long as a friendly fellow we'll just call Ram peddles his wares on 34th Street. No matter how infrequently we smokers sidle up to his kiosk near Penn Station—I mean, why buy smokes in Manhattan when you can spend a lot less on Long Island—Ram knows your… More >>
When your own newspaper's star columnist calls you—a colleague—a "woman of mass destruction," you might as well leave. Unfortunately, it was too late. By the time Judy Miller was finally unembedded from The New York Times in November 2005, even the Bush regime had stopped looking for the WMDs that she had brayed about in the run-up to the 2003… More >>
Best thing to happen to New York's anti-war movement
That would have to be the Granny Peace Brigade, the 18 anti-war grandmothers who were arrested and jailed for trying to enlist at the Times Square Recruitment Office back in October 2005. Charged with disorderly conduct, the grannies spent five days at Manhattan Criminal Court on trial last April—and were acquitted. These "old dames," as they like to call themselves,… More >>
Amnesty International has the name and reputation, but Human Rights Watch pours out more vital information from its Fifth Avenue offices than any other major watchdog keeping an eye on us humans. What we like most is HRW's ability to call 'em as it sees 'em. Take executive director Kenneth Roth, a former federal prosecutor. Roth's dad escaped from Nazi… More >>
Hey, you can't stop the government from spying on us, so you might as well spy on the government. For that, you need cryptome .org, just about the greatest locally produced website of documents and photos. John Young and Deborah Natsios, partners in architecture and information gathering, run Cryptome and its affiliate sites out of an Upper West Side apartment.… More >>
Lobbying is a bigger business than ever in New York's City Hall, with $36 million spent last year—more than double the amount doled out just five years ago. The reason for this unsightly splurge is that everyone from Time Warner to World Wrestling Entertainment is seeking some little edge or favor in city legislation or contracting and needs to get… More >>
Homesick for the little village where you grew up and relatives who can help you feel better no matter what crisis looms? Elspeth Treadwell runs Podunk, a tearoom flooded with light on one of the prettiest streets in the East Village. This native of Minnesota listens, clucks sympathetically, fixes you tea and calorific snacks, and tends a space soothing in… More >>
Remember as a child sitting on Santa's lap and rattling off your Christmas list in his ear? As an adult, you can still partake in this holiday ritual and even take Kris Kringle back to your apartment if the mood strikes. It happens every year at Santacon, a mass gathering of folks dressed in cheap Santa suits who troll the… More >>
Founded by Agnostic Front's Roger Miret, theRumblers Car Club has a bare-knuckled approach to hot rods that separates it from other car clubs. Rumblers don't trailer their precious cars; they drive the shit out of them. And while the focus is pre-'64 vehicles, no one is very interested in stock. Each car is modified to meet the needs of its… More >>
Orin is a kind of subway performer, but instead of singing or playing an accordion, he draws. That might not sound so entertaining, but when you have your portrait done on the sly and then presented to you with no real pressure to tip, you'll feel pretty special. Every morning, the baby-faced portraitist gets up and makes a T-shirt to… More >>
The Metropolitan Opera may not yet be ready to shake off its reputation as the stodgiest institution in the stodgiest of arts. But in an age of budget cutbacks and declining attendance, freshman general manager Peter Gelb has tapped the Met's considerable resources (it's the world's largest performing-arts organization) to fund a slate of bold new projects he hopes will… More >>
Matt Murphy—the genius performer who hits the streets dressed up as a half-penguin/half-chicken character named Chengwin—has dreamed up many a lovely chicken mutant over the years. There is the nefarious Chunk, half chicken/half skunk; the bewitching Chove, half chicken/half dove. There is even the brilliantly inspired Chixon: half chicken, half President Nixon. Our favorite, however, will always be the half-chicken/half-Fabio… More >>
Though the Treasury Department claims he owes them a fine of $10,000 for "trading with the enemy," Benjamin Treuhaft prefers to think of his crime as "tuning with the enemy." It's been 13 years since he started shipping pianos to Cuba. It's not as if he's mildly pursing his mission—he's actually sent food receipts from his trips to the U.S.… More >>
Trash & Vaudeville's Jimmy Webb is a St. Marks Place institution. Webb, the manager and buyer of punk fashion palace Trash & Vaudeville is almost as iconic as the icons from that era. With shaggy bleached blond hair, leather pants (of course), and an eternally optimistic attitude, he makes friends easily. He's come a long way since arriving in the… More >>
Live downtown? Own a car? Hungry? You are not alone. Where best to eat? Queens, of course—specifically the pan-Asian paradise that is Broadway between Roosevelt Avenue and Queens Boulevard, right off the Broadway exit of the BQE, with the best spots beyond Elmhurst Hospital. For Malaysian there's Taste Good, 82-18 45th Avenue, and I've always wanted to try the Vietnamese… More >>
Has your 1997 Ford Escort lost its pizzazz, or more specifically, its driver's-side mirror? You could call your dealership and get laughed at or you can take the Grand Central Parkway out to Northern Boulevard in Queens and enter the wonder world of Willets Point—a 75-acre unpaved industrial enclave that's home to dozens of tin-shack shops offering all the parts… More >>
Some cemeteries' spookiness doesn't fade when the sun rises, even when the cheerful chirps of birds echo off moss-covered graves. This residual daytime creepiness is what one would expect when visiting the East Village's New York City Marble Cemetery during its once-a-month afternoon open houses. But if you're looking for a spine-chilling time, the place's lovingly tended green lawn and… More >>
It didn't cost a billion dollars (or half a billion either), it didn't spawn wrenching criticism by family members of victims, and it's been open for almost two years already. It's also simple, moving, and serenely located on the pastoral waterfront lip of the north shore of Staten Island, overlooking New York harbor and the skyline where the twin towers… More >>
When the management consulting firm BearingPoint—a former division of KPMG—agreed to move 633 employees to 3 World Financial Center, it got a $2.4 million grant from the state- and city-run, federally funded Lower Manhattan Job Creation and Retention Program established in the wake of 9-11, plus $700,000 in additional tax breaks. Nothing unusual there—according to the subsidy-watch group Good Jobs… More >>
Most Holocaust memorials stick to a simple script of Nazi aggression and Jewish victimhood. The Sheepshead Bay Holocaust Memorial, an array of stone tablets set on a leafy patch at the western end of the bay, tells a richer story. It casts the net of culpability wider than usual, indicting the Western countries that (with the notable exception of the… More >>
Most of the 60,000 people who die every year in New York City get a headstone or a mausoleum or have their ashes sprinkled somewhere. But some aren't so lucky, so every year around 1,000 of our neighbors who aren't identified or claimed or can't afford to go anywhere else are buried on Hart Island, a tiny bit… More >>
It's hard these days to find someone who can craft baskets or make soap by firelight—unless you're at Historic Richmond Town, where, depending on which aged house you enter, you might meet a lass trapped in time anywhere from 1690 to the early days of the 20th century. For other-borough residents who tend to scoff at the Isle of Staten… More >>
Best place to dig for the past (and live it there)
During the late 1800s, Plumb Island was occupied by homesteaders who found New York City somewhat inhospitable. Because the island was outside municipal jurisdiction, alcohol and tobacco were tax free, boxing and whoring were legal, moral turpitude ran rampant, and soon, the shantytown became a favored destination for thrill seekers from across the water. In 1907 the Army was sent… More >>
There's nothing quite like the feeling of finding your own building in the 9,335-square-foot Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum of Art, an appropriately dazzling scale model of the greatest city in the world. Locating your high-rise or brownstone from among the model's 895,000 buildings—every single New York City structure built before 1992—testifies to one's… More >>
If you thought there was something missing from the East Village last summer, you weren't just imagining it. In March '05, the parks department removed the 15-foot steel art installation called the Alamo from its perch just south of Astor Place's Lexington line subway stop to have it restored. New Yorkers soon wondered, "Where else are we going to find… More >>
Sure, Manhattan's Chinatown may seem like the next best thing to experiencing a Shanghai marketplace firsthand. But it's not the only game in town. In fact, Brooklyn's Chinatown spans nearly 20 bustling blocks on Eighth Avenue in Sunset Park, making it one of the biggest concentrations of Chinese establishments in the metropolitan area. The neighborhood kicks off with a bang… More >>
Resurrected like the Mets this year was a Brooklyn landmark, the YWCA on Atlantic Avenue, just off Flatbush, a borough symbol for decades. It was so broke, weighed down by years of debt, that this home for 214 women living in single-room-occupancy intimacy almost shut its doors. It's such a prime piece of real estate, a short distance away… More >>
Back in January, the roof caved in at the 150-year-old Roumanian-American Congregation Synagogue on Rivington Street, one of the last vestiges of Ye Olde Yiddische Lower East Side, conveniently located a block from the trendy Hotel on Rivington and across the street from hipster vegan teahouse Teany. Initial reports suggested that the dwindling congregation planned to repair the damage, but… More >>
Best example of a building that never should have gone up
OK, sure, we know, some people have more money than others, as Hemingway famously explained to F. Scott Fitzgerald when Scott insisted that the rich are different from you and me. But how can it be that the horrendous bilge-green glass Astor Place Tower, now looming over the Alamo cube and the subway entrance and the skateboarders like Godzilla at… More >>
Best place to get murdered, raped, or robbed in the city
Where else but East New York, Brooklyn? The birthplace of Murder Inc., the neighborhood is perennially the city's leader in violent crimes. But this year, East New York's 75th Precinct is the early contender for a dubious grand slam, leading the city in all four violent-crime categories: murders, rapes, robberies, and felonious assaults. The five-square-mile swath on the Queens border… More >>
Residents of Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan coming home from LaGuardia Airport will know the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway as that dreadful traffic-choked, potholed, serpentine thoroughfare they have to endure on their way to the bridge or the tunnel. The artery may seem like a bumpy welcome mat at the door to the concrete jungle, but there is a silver lining to this… More >>
At least when you go to the pound you can prepare yourself for the special combination of happy and sad feelings that will take over when you set eyes on whimpering puppies in cages and obese, depressed cats napping in their litter boxes. Animal Haven's Mobile Adoption Program's traveling orphanage—a van fitted with cages and big windows for … More >>
The city guy who perfects his broad chest and bulging arms by way of a membership at Crunch trades in, it might be argued, a tiny bit of manliness in the process. (There's something just a tad unappealing about a dude doing crunches in front of a mirror.) The Union Square Greenmarket gives New Yorkers back many things we've lost… More >>
If your Aunt Helen is visiting from Seattle again, and you're none too pleased over this prospect, since, after all, this is a woman who, upon her last visit to New York City, begged off going to the art museums, proclaiming, "Dalí makes me dizzy," have I got a place for you to take her this time. The Waterfront Museum… More >>
Stretching from (basically) 22nd Street to 18th Street and located under the FDR Drive is this scenic strolling cove park—one of the best places for a breezy, safe, picturesque waterfront walk or jog. Financed and created by Stuy Town (the massive apartment complex), the park gets its name from the lush greenery that lines the path—hedges, flowers, plants, landscaped gardens,… More >>
There are plenty of attractions that draw parents from all over the city to the Rockefeller Park playground in Battery Park City—the age-segregated climbing structures, the pedal-powered carousel, the big-enough-to-avoid-toddler-fights sand tables. But the most welcome feature during the summer is the vast water play area, which offers a dueling squirting hippo and elephant, while a line of dog's heads… More >>
To qualify for the Family Planning Benefit Program, go to Planned Parenthood with ID, proof of address, and a fistful of crumpled pay stubs. The entitlement counselor will take you into her office and figure out if you're poor enough. Usually you are. She doesn't mind; she is warm, chatty, and not easily surprised by stunted incomes. Once you're accepted—the… More >>
Dying to watch anorexic teenagers sashay down a runway but despair of gaining admittance to a real fashion show? While it's true that shows have strict door policies, if you really, really want to attend one of these things, listen carefully: A few days before Fashion Week begins (it's twice a year, early September and February), go to… More >>
You know your mom has it in her—a little remnant of party girl occasionally sneaks out—but she keeps herself under control for the most part. What you need to do is bring her to Mamlouk for dinner. Just tell her you heard they have great Middle Eastern food, which is true, but act surprised when the waiter asks if you… More >>
One of the oldest working firehouses in the city may be shut down on October 12, along with the two other houses of the New York City Fire Patrol. This state-chartered organization, founded in 1839, saves property during fires (estimates range from $10 million to $100 million worth a year), resets sprinklers afterward, and functions as a rescue crew during… More >>
It doesn't take much to improve the banking experience. The Bank of America ATM next door to Beard Papa picks up the desserterie's gentle wafts of cream puff fillings through the wall throughout the day, giving the space a scent not unlike that of the Warm Vanilla Sugar products from Bath & Body Works. It doesn't quite justify the $7-a-month… More >>
On the site of a small wood-frame Russian Orthodox church, the Ganapathi Temple in Flushing, Queens, was the first Hindu temple built in North America. It was designed in strict accordance with the Agama Sastras (scriptures relating to temple building) and composed of imported materials created by artisans in India. As such, it looks entirely out of place in this… More >>
Historic though it may be, when it comes down to it, ground zero doesn't offer tourists much to see other than an ugly hole in the ground. Adventurous disaster junkies can get a more satisfying fix at the site of Brooklyn's Malbone Street wreck, the most deadly mass-transit accident in the nation's history. On November 1, 1918, in the midst… More >>
Best way to explore New York without putting on pants
Since the day in 1999 when proprietor Kevin Walsh typed up his very first report on a former trolley barn in Woodside, the irreplaceable forgotten-ny.com has been accumulating the Web's most fascinating collection of New York City historical detritus and neighborhood lore. Unlike most city historians, Walsh largely disdains the well-worked turf of Manhattan for the five boroughs' less explored… More >>
Best way to spy on your neighbor's real estate deals
Property Shark was begun in 2003 by a frustrated laid-off programmer turned Harlem landlord as a user-friendly front end to the city's property tax rolls. Since then, its feature-friendly site has become the Google of the real estate set, but it's also a great tool for amateur land-use sleuths, or just the nosy: That guy across the street annoying you?… More >>
Arthur Wood's house will never be featured on MTV's Cribs; from far away his humble abode (which he purchased for $2,000 in 1971) looks like a dilapidated piece of shit, and it isn't any better up close. The front windows of his beloved Broken Angel Building are either boarded up or cemented over, and there's a hole on the side… More >>
We've gotten used to the government using public policy to stomp out personal freedoms. But when Mayor Bloomberg decided to declare war on smokers and used the power vested in him and his money clip to force buttheads to quit, shit got outta hand real quick. Not being able to smoke in restaurants and the workplace is one thing—after all,… More >>
Hot 97 a/k/a Shot 97 prides itself on being the official home of hip-hop and r&b in the city, and that's probably true; the radio station has owned the heart of the hip-hop generation for over two decades. But the way things are going these days, the station might want to consider embracing its status as the official home of… More >>
Nice work if you can get it: At around 9:40 every weekday morning, one of the NY1 anchors will spend 10 minutes summarizing a few stories from the Daily News, the Post, Newsday, and the Times. Visually, the show eschews glitzy graphics in favor of . . . holding the paper up to the camera. Better yet, it's the host… More >>
Being raised in a born-again Christian household left a bad taste in my mouth: One Good Friday, when I was 10 years old, my mother forced a heaping tablespoonful of horseradish down my throat, just to make sure I'd never forget how much Christ had suffered for me. There were other "lessons" too. Anyway, once I turned 18 and my… More >>
Sure, the zoo isn't too bad, Sheep Meadow is a nice place to stretch out, and mimes can be funny for a minute or two, but the best reason to go to Central Park is to check out the Central Park Dance Skaters Association Skate Circle (every Saturday, Sunday, and holiday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. from mid… More >>
At most petting zoos, you don't have to be much of a charmer to have the beasts quite literally eating out of your hand. You fill that hand with food, you place it near their mouths, they gorge their furry little selves, end of story. But at the petting zoo in the Prospect Park Zoo, the animals are so spoiled… More >>
Witness the Just Married, a rare breed often found on weekends at Fulton Ferry Landing, which overlooks the Lower Manhattan skyline across the East River. The female of the species is usually ornamented in a white gown, sparkly headgear, and face paint. It is not odd to see her male counterpart wearing a more sedate—and somber—black-and-white suit. They exhibit great… More >>
Ciao for Now, a neighborhood bakery, can only fit 15 or 20 (uncomfortably) into its tiny dining room, but this little sugar shack with the ginormous heart is beloved by hundreds nonetheless. They'd have a killer rep on the merits of their excellent organically inclined, locally grown baked goods alone—sumptuous muffins (blueberry streusel, corn, strawberry mango, bran, vegan), yummy… More >>
Need to get from the Big Apple to Beantown on 20 bucks? Head down to Chinatown and join the steady line of broke-ass students, hardworking immigrants, and new-age hobos waiting to take the Fung Wah and Lucky Star buses departing for downtown Boston every hour (some every half-hour). The ride is about four, OK, sometimes five hours long and the… More >>
Two buses, actually—the 14th Street cross- towns, M14A (which starts at Abingdon Square, traverses 14th Street between Eighth Avenue and Avenue A, and then heads south to Grand Street at the FDR Drive) and M14D (which starts at West 18th Street across from Chelsea Piers, toddles across 14th from Ninth Avenue to Avenue D, and heads down to Delancey… More >>
Kids in the Mall
Cartier be damned! The hell with Chanterelle!
What if all you really want is a pair of Claire's earrings and a Cinnabon? New York City may be a world-famous culinary and retail destination; it may boast boutiques and bistros of almost insufferable glamour—but is the town up to satisfying a craving for, say,… More >>
Free At Last
Oh, how awkward to whip out my imitation-cowhide wallet and find only a Sunoco receipt where the Benjamins are supposed to be! The check stares at me scornfully from the restaurant table, and my companions' laughs are as hollow as my billfold, so I slip outside to seek salvation behind the glowing "ATM" sign at a corner deli. But there… More >>
Culture and Vultures
The best argument against that old whine "New York City isn't what it used to be" is, "That comment isn't what it used to be. It's the tiredest, most clichéd utterance in history—and it's almost invariably said by people who didn't have what it takes to stay here."
… More >>
Shake Me, Wake Me When It's Over
The first 100 days in the administration of new mayor Christine Quinn was a whirlwind of
legislation and initiatives, a veritable tour de force of government that some said could only be likened to the first terms of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia or FDR.
In… More >>
I'm pulling a beaded velvet chemise over my head and I'm going out tonight, but I'm not exactly sure where. Maybe I'll start the evening at the 300 Club at 151 West 54th Street, where the proprietress, Texas Guinan, is famous for greeting patrons with a loud, "Hello, Suckers"; or maybe I'll go downtown, to the Pirates Den at 8… More >>
Part-Time New Yorker Since 1998
So, you're a part-time New Yorker. Where do you live when you're here?
In the West Village. It was a friend's place, and when she left she just handed it over to us. It's pretty sweet, especially… More >>