Posts Tagged ‘New York’
February 26, 2014 | by Sadie Stein
“I didn’t even know you could still get that!” exclaimed a rather fabulous looking tiny woman in a turban and plaid coat. I had ordered a date-nut bread sandwich with cream cheese. We were on line at the Chock Full o’ Nuts kiosk located in my neighborhood Gristede’s.
This supermarket is notable partly for its mysterious principles of organization: spices, for instance, can be found in three different aisles in the store. When I need something that defies obvious shelving classification—liquid smoke, say, or rice noodles—I come here, just to challenge myself. (In those two cases, I failed and ended up having to ask for help. The items were in, respectively, the salad dressing and “International Foods” sections.)
Anyway, I had gone to the Chock Full o’ Nuts to get my usual: the “Chock Classic” sandwich, a bargain at $2.99, so rich and filling that it extends to at least three small meals. (For the uninitiated, the business did start as a nut stand in the twenties. A few years ago, Chock had to add the slogan “NO NUTS! 100% Coffee” to its packaging.) The sandwich was an economical standby on the menus of the restaurant chain, which used to be all over New York, and now serves as a reminder of Chock’s glory days. It was this that caught my neighbor’s eye. Read More »
February 18, 2014 | by Sadie Stein
“Gilded New York,” an exhibition up at the Museum of the City of New York right now, showcases the ostentatious visual culture of late-nineteenth-century elites. A friend and I went last weekend, in the midst of a heavy snow. There are impossibly elaborate Worth gowns, impossibly ornate Tiffany jewels. There are idealized portraits and embellished vases. There are the McKim, Mead & and White mansions that dotted Fifth Avenue, and photo after photo of jam-packed (but highly exclusive) balls. If you’ve been reading any Wharton or James lately, I highly recommend it.
One portion of the exhibition features a slideshow of party-goers, many of them costumed, at the landmark balls of the era. Mrs. W. K. Vanderbilt’s 1883 fancy dress ball was one such: a game-changer that established the nouveau-riche Vanderbilts—and their brand-new Fifth Avenue mansion—as social forces to be reckoned with. There doesn’t seem to have been a theme, as such, to the costumes, other than general lavishness. As the New York Times reported, in the months leading up to the ball “amid the rush and excitement of business, men have found their minds haunted by uncontrollable thoughts as to whether they should appear as Robert Le Diable, Cardinal Richelieu, Otho the Barbarian, or the Count of Monte Cristo, while the ladies have been driven to the verge of distraction in the effort to settle the comparative advantages of ancient, medieval, and modern costumes.”
In the end, people seem to have gone for all of the above: while royalty and nobility of all eras and nations were well represented, the ball also featured Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II as “Electric Light” (interpreted by Worth/Mainbocher), and a King Lear “in his right mind,” while Miss Kate “Puss” Fearing Strong sported a taxidermied cat’s head as a hairpiece, and had seven real cat tails sewn to the skirt of her gown. Most of the costumes seem to have been recognizable enough, but one can’t help thinking that all evening long Ward McAllister must have had to go around saying, “No, I’m Comte de la Mole! You know, the Huguenot lover of Margaret of Anjou? Whose embalmed head she carried around?” (On the other hand, perhaps Gilded Age society was really up on their Stendhal. Or even their Dumas.) Read More »
February 5, 2014 | by Clifford Chase
Fat little dog trotting contentedly along the sidewalk, right at his master’s side, with a plastic steak in his mouth.
Neil Young sounds like a lonely alley cat, I thought, most poignant when slightly out of tune.
Whenever I got on the subway, I looked around for someone cute to glance at, and if there wasn’t anyone I resigned myself to boredom.
Old queen in the locker room: “When you’re the prettiest one in the steam room, it’s time to go home.”
At forty-three I was no longer in my heyday.
The name of the medication printed in a half circle and the “100 mg” made a smiley face on my new, blue pills.
On the L train, a poem called “Hunger” spoke of walking home “through a forest that covers the world.”
I’d had the same part-time public-relations job since November 1985. It was now February 2001 and counting.
I was drawn to Neil Young not by the specific content of the lyrics (too hetero) but by the overall tone of longing, which I defined as a kind of sadness that had hope.
On the L platform, a diminutive Chinese man playing “Send in the Clowns” on a harmonica, with flowery recorded accompaniment.
I write this in the hope that aphorism-like statements, when added one to another, might accrue to make some larger statement that will placate despair. Read More »
January 17, 2014 | by Matteo Pericoli
A series on what writers from around the world see from their windows.
From room 1006 at the Standard, East Village, you see a white-faced clock overlooking a small triangular park. A sea-green dome ringed with small arched windows is partly blocked by a boxy rectangular building, faded and plain except for the cross on its south-facing wall. On the rooftop hangs a single line of laundry. Straight ahead is a building, wide and blank as a wall, that nobody seems to enter or exit.
If you don’t live in New York, you might not know the names of these buildings or their significance, how they function in the city, what they mean to its people. But this is the gift of being somewhere new, in a place that will never be home. Everything is defined by your first impressions. That sea-green dome, so out of place and time, might house things both ancient and futuristic—rusted astrolabes on the shelves, side by side with next generation iPads. The crucifix could be the final remnant of a failed church, the original cathedral demolished decades ago, replaced by a building full of a thousand cubicles. That white-faced clock, the brightest thing at night, may very well be the front of a crime-fighter’s headquarters or a supervillain’s lair. That line of laundry, winter-damp and flapping—those are the clothes of a dead man who had no loved ones left behind to gather them. And directly across, that building is lifeless as ever, but someone is inside, waiting to be glimpsed, you’re sure of it. All you need to do is wait. —Lysley Tenorio
Lysley Tenorio is currently the Paris Review Writer-in-Residence at the Standard, East Village.
January 7, 2014 | by Sadie Stein
“There is a new hotspot for heavy petting on the Upper West Side,” declared the West Side Rag, awesomely, some months ago. Widely considered the dirtiest, crummiest, saddest, and generally worst movie theater in Manhattan, the Loews Eighty-Fourth Street transformed itself in 2013 into an amorous teenager’s paradise, instituting luxurious, fully reclining seats and removable armrests. Reported the New York Post,
The new loveseats are a huge hit with teens. Upper West Sider Richard Velazquez, forty, was seated in the same row as an enthusiastic teen couple at a World War Z showing last month. “Even before the previews started, they were going at it,” says Velazquez.
“She was not entirely on top of him, but a quarter of the way there. When the movie ended, they were still at it. I was thinking, ‘Get a room already,’ but the theater was their room!”
I don’t know if this gamble—or whatever it is—has paid off. Did anyone want an unsanitary multiplex with business-class seats? Who knows? All I know is that the Love Theater is my local, a mere five-minute walk from door to door. They don’t often show films I want to see—I guess the lineup is more geared toward the tastes of the heavy-petting demographic—but yesterday I crossed Broadway to see The Wolf of Wall Street, my thinking being that a comfy seat might come in handy in watching a three-hour film. Read More »
November 25, 2013 | by Sadie Stein
Over the past months, we have closely followed the efforts of our friends at St. Mark’s Bookshop to find a permanent, affordable home in Manhattan’s East Village. Now, the owners have announced plans for a December 5 fundraiser to help them move to a smaller home a few blocks east of their current Third Avenue location. Both in-store and online, you will be able to bid on signed first editions by the likes of Anne Carson, Lydia Davis, and Paul Auster.