Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Not now, cool cats. After I moved to NYC in October 1995, the city was blessed with the biggest blizzard in decades Jan. 6, 1996, reporting as much as 3 feet of snow. Schools in the boroughs closed for the first time in 18 years.

Billboard was then located in Times Square and the offices closed in the afternoon. The pic at left shows a parking meter buried halfway—and these ain't drifts, baby. It snowed that much.Taking in the glory of it all, I walked 40 blocks home to West 82nd Street—and was fortunate to have camera in hand. Passing Lincoln Center, I slipped flat on my heinie. But the overall mood in the city was so celebratory, I just, uh, laughed my butt off. Amazingly, Broadway was shut down for the first time since the 1920s. A wondrous day.

Brooklyn Heights: Montague & Henry

Brooklyn Heights Blog contributor Melanie Hope Greenberg sent in a vintage Heights photo of Montague and Henry Streets from the 80s.... and below, the same block from the summer of 2008... and 1916.

Brooklyn Heights: 100 Years Ago

A couple glorious shots of the nabe from nearly 100 years ago... 1916 versus 2009. It certainly had more moxie then.109 Montague Street, home of Heights Books for the past five years. Sadly, the building was just sold for $3.7 million, so the business is moving out in March and this will soon be another bygone memory of the Heights.And below, 101 Montague Street, now a Thai restaurant. So sad that the crown of the building was stripped away.My buds at the Brooklyn Heights Blog were kind enough to post this entry.

To All The Homes I've Loved Before

Over the last three days, I have shoveled through literally thousands of photographs—on paper. Remember those? One of my goals was to collect pics of each of the buildings I've lived in since moving to New York—when I actually resided there. Here goes:Montague Street, Brooklyn Heights. Current home, since May 2000.78 Reade St., in Manhattan's Tribeca, with Francie & Debbie. 2nd floor. January 1999-April 2000.468 West 23rd St., in Manhattan's Chelsea, with Steve. 1st floor and ground level duplex, with a yard! September 1996-December 1998.My first New York apartment! 214 West 82nd St., on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Two-room studio on 2nd floor. September 1995-September 1996.And, just for fun, here's the house I grew up in, Lynchburg, Va.

New York Subway: 40 Years Later

1969 versus 2009: What a diff, eh?

The Heights: Then & Now

52 Livingston Street, 1953. Beautifully preserved and finally landmarked.
153 Joralemon, 1953. Below, also showing bodega currently on ground level.123 Henry Street, 1954. The only thing that looks any different here is the tint of the photo and the size of the cars.

94 Joralemon, 1928. Unfortunately, because of the time of day, it was impossible for me to duplicate the angle of the vintage photo without blinding the lens with sunlight, but the similarities are apparent, including the chimneys on either side."The Little House That Could" at 135 Joralemon Street sold last year for nearly $4.2 million after a loving restoration following a fire in 2006 that left it in sad decay. It's now a charming if not curious clapboard amid the brownstones of the nabe. Below, 1926. Note the For Sale sign nailed to the porch.And finally, a fascinating view of 135 Joralemon back when it had a yard on the side and beautiful one-family homes on both sides.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Brooklyn Heights: Montague & Henry

Brooklyn Heights Blog contributor Melanie Hope Greenberg sent in a vintage Heights photo of Montague and Henry Streets from the 80s.... and below, the same block from the summer of 2008... and 1916.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brooklyn 100 Years Ago

On a clear day (in 1908), it appears you can see forever. This extraordinary photo, as noted by the photog, shows the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. Worth clicking for full view.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let's Eat In The Heights: Then & Now

The Heights Cafe, at 84 Montague Street just up from our apartment, has been the go-to restaurant for upscale dining since I moved to the nabe in 2000. Found this fab foto below on Brooklynheightsblog today, showing what occupied the space in the 1980s: the Promenade Restaurant (courtesy of Melanie Hope Greenberg). I dashed out in the snow to snap the current pic, as close as I could manage to the same angle.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cobble, Cobble

Not rare... but special. Along the streets of DUMBO, Brooklyn

Park Place?

Here along the Brooklyn Heights waterfront, the promise of a multi-use park, by all reports, is still alive, despite the crappy economy—and thankfully, progress continues, as the old pale blue warehouses continue to come down. Now there's a crane on premises. Above, now; below, early this fall. If I live to see this, I'll be a helluva happy Brooklynite.

20 Front Street, Brooklyn

Long gone... no info online anywhere, so literally fabric of the past.


Discovered this joint today at Front and Jay streets walking through Dumbo into Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn. McBrooklyn has lots of comments and the consensus seems to be that the cuisine at Pedros is barely edible. But an A for outside decor!And how about 190A for true loft living! This looks to be a former storefront that is now a two-level residence. I imagine that the tony residents of DUMBO who paid $1.5 million for their 900-square-foot space with Bosch stoves might not be as amused by this as I.

Not A Prime Example Of Gentification

Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn... Imagine the possibilities of this clapboard dump, though I admire the crazy hippie (likley rent-stablized since 1968) that occupies street level. Click picto see fliers in the window. Best: "Forget the dog... Beware Of Owner."

Manhattan Bridge Hugging Empire State

I'm no pro, for sure, but I'm right proud of this photo.

As I was walking through Dumbo today, I discovered a picture-perfect view of the Manhattan Bridge framing the Empire State Building in the distance. At right is a close-up view, and below, the full spectacle. I gave it sepia treatment to even the contrast.

Graffiti Row

Even though we got snow this morning in Brooklyn, temps finally lifted above the freezing mark and I eagerly walked over to the indoor Brooklyn Flea in Dumbo—and on to explore a new nabe in the hood: Vinegar Hill, a sadly run-down section of B'lyn just past Dumbo. What a contrast. Here are some creative examples of graffiti I met along the way.