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nyc history

Save the Hamptons!!?

Entertaining story in the New York Times today about how the Hamptons are being battered by wealth, interlopers, drunken revelers, Uber-style helicopter companies, nightclubs run by city folk, etc. La plus ca change, right?  

(And hats off to the writer, Jim Rutenberg, has come a long way from his days as our inexperienced sidekick at a Manhattan weekly and at a New York daily.)   

We spent many summers (and other seasons) out East, starting in the sepia-toned days (1960s, 1970s, 1980s) when we could pick up a phone book to find the address and phone number of interview subjects, ranging from Juan Trippe and William Simon  (Google them, kids) to Larry Rivers and Chuck Close. Celebrities and moguls might have had an unlisted number in New York City, but most never thought to do the same for their summer home.

But the point, and we do have one, is that in the same way that what made Greenwich Village appealing is slowly being destroyed, the same thing is happening in East Hampton, and a whole lot of other places.

Main St. and Newtown Lane in East Hampton is now DKNY Tiffany Ralph Lauren Marc Jacobs. Local businesses are a rarity. The quaint old movie place is now a multiplex. Dumpy old Ma Bergman's has for decades been the celebrity eatery Nick & Toni's (though they are actually good members of the community and the least of the problems in the Hamptons). The open space is being slowly eaten up. Hard to screw with the natural light that made the area a haven to painters from Pollock to deKooning to you name them, but can buildings like the behemoths that line West 57th St and cast a shadow into Central Park one day line Three Mile Harbor Road and cast a shadow over Accabonac Creek?

I hear you laughing at the absurdity of a 100-story building in East Hampton. However, it is not that funny. Zoning laws can change with enough financial power, as can most anything else. Some things should not be for sale, such as our collective history. Even Mr. Met isn't happy about it.  

Mr. Met after seeing Shea Stadium demolished. He understands progress but understands that sometimes preserving history is more important.

Mr. Met after seeing Shea Stadium demolished. He understands progress but understands that sometimes preserving history is more important.

All Dylan Tour?

116 MacDougal Street, former home of the Gaslight Cafe.

116 MacDougal Street, former home of the Gaslight Cafe.

The death this week of Bob Johnston, who produced "Blonde on Blonde" and "Highway 61 Revisited" for Bob Dylan (plus classic albums for Johnny Cash, Leonard Cohen and many others) got us thinking about adding another tour to the Save The Village lineup - an all Bob Dylan tour.

Doing research for the Save The Village tours, we went on some other local tours - both walking and on those ubiquitous double decker buses - to see what was good, bad and ugly.

The saddest was at the end of one tour when a woman from Australia turned to me and said, "Mate... How can these people offer a Greenwich Village tour and not even mention Bob Dylan?! That is why I came on the tour!"

Agreed.

I know who John Dos Passos, ee cummings and Dashiell Hammet were, can point to the corner where the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire took place and know where on Grove St. that Thomas Paine wrote "Common Sense." And some people do come on tours for old stuff. But people also want to see places that they can relate to, from their own memories or experiences. That is why we point out where on West 10th St. Julia Roberts has an apartment. (Across from Edward Albee's old place).   

It would not be too hard to put together an All Bob Tour, encompassing where he lived, worked, played, visited, shopped... all below 14th St. (Maybe we'd stretch it up to Irving Place where one of his business managers we know had an office.)

161 W.  4th St., where Dylan first rented an apartment - a top floor studio facing the back.

161 W.  4th St., where Dylan first rented an apartment - a top floor studio facing the back.

The tour would likely include places he performed including just on MacDougal Street: The Folklore Center, Cafe Wha? (see photo), Gerde's Folk City, the Gaslight Cafe and Kettle of Fish; the Theatre de Lys on Christopher Street which was a favorite spot; also the Cedar Tavern on University Place, The White Horse on Hudson St., The Bitter End and the Village Gate (both on Bleecker Street) or he'd be in Washington Square Park listening to music on a Sunday afternoon (as famously captured in a McDarrah photograph elsewhere on this site); or places he lived or crashed such as 161 West 4th St. (see photo) , 94 MacDougal St. (see photo), the former Hotel Earle or One Sheridan Square.

And Fred W. McDarrah did photograph most of these places.

Hmmm...

94 MacDougal St., which Dylan owned in the 1970s. 

94 MacDougal St., which Dylan owned in the 1970s.