Viewing entries tagged
walking tour

OLD/New: Dom Edition

Above: Outside The Dom (from 'Polski Dom Narodowy' or 'Polish National Home', 23 St. Marks Place), where a banner advertises 'Warhol; Live; The Velvet Underground; Live Dancing; Films; Party Event Now,' part of Andy's Exploding Plastic Inevitable series of staged, multimedia events. March 31, 1966. Below: Same spot in February 2016. Photos copyright Estate of Fred W. McDarrah.

Above: Outside The Dom (from 'Polski Dom Narodowy' or 'Polish National Home', 23 St. Marks Place), where a banner advertises 'Warhol; Live; The Velvet Underground; Live Dancing; Films; Party Event Now,' part of Andy's Exploding Plastic Inevitable series of staged, multimedia events. March 31, 1966. Below: Same spot in February 2016. Photos copyright Estate of Fred W. McDarrah.

  With all the buzz lately about the new book about St. Mark's Place (see our November 3, 2015 blog post), thought we'd do an old/new from the hallowed grounds.

   Pretty self explanatory... Pictures do indeed sometimes take the place of one thousand words.

   But to hear the stories behind the Dom, the Electric Circus, the All Saints rehab and the rest of the street, you need to come on one of the Save the Village tours. Both The Artist's World and East Village reference this famous address.

The People You Run Into. Hi, Jeff!

  Gallery hopping after the Artist's World tour, who'd we run into but... an artist!

  The brilliant but not entirely humble Jeff Koons was milling around at his Gagosian show in Chelsea the other Saturday. Dude posed for selfies with tourists, answered high falutin' questions from grad students nearing an art history degree, explained his work to the curious and was entirely polite to everyone.

   

Very Full-Phil-ing, the people you run into

Chuck Close, Phil/Watercolor, 1977. The original is about 6 feet by 6 feet. Watercolor and acrylic on paper. © Chuck Close, via PaceWildenstein, New York. Photo by Ellen Labenski.

Chuck Close, Phil/Watercolor, 1977. The original is about 6 feet by 6 feet. Watercolor and acrylic on paper. © Chuck Close, via PaceWildenstein, New York. Photo by Ellen Labenski.

  One sees a lot of famous faces in the Village. As a former gossip columnist who still keeps up on things and looks at a lot of photos, I still miss plenty, of course.

  At dinner recently I saw Alan Cumming - at a low end red sauce joint in the East Village. Another dinner had Tony Danza one table away (alas, no Alyssa Milano!).

  Lily Tomlin (!) walked up to me on Prince St. and asked for directions. Kim and Kayne have an apartment right across the street from me (can't they afford better!?).

  Bob Dylan is no stranger to my elevator. No necessarily recently, but an old pal of his still does live upstairs.

  As a kid, I'd play with Naomi Wolf, Robert Downey Jr. and Matthew Broderick in Washington Square Park.

  David Byrne, Steve van Zandt, Susan Sarandon, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Lou Reed and Philip Seymour Hoffman (before they both died): always out and about.

  Though really, who cares. Celebrities are people too. Generally.

  But today I stopped, stared, chatted, and asked to take a photo of one. On 14th St., just off the Save the Village tour route, while heading from the Greenmarket to the gym, I was passing the Guitar Center music emporium and saw the legendary minimalist composer Philip Glass.

  OK, not Sean Lennon or Julia Roberts or Sofia Coppola or Alec Baldwin (all Village denizens).

  This guy, however, is better: one of the most influential music makers of the late 20th century. He has been part of the downtown scene since about 1967. Compositions like The Photographer and Einstein on the Beach should be familiar to people, and he has composed everything from operas to Academy Award nominated movie scores and other orchestral works. 

  Polite too, to a jackass who had just stopped him on the street. Last time I had bumped into him was at Tower Records, I gushed, when I introduced him to my son, and showed the kid Glass' records in the rack. He said he remembered, as "really, I don't get recognized very often." But he may have just been being polite. And I had interviewed him in the distant past.

  Anyway, I let him flee, which he did, into the Guitar Center. After publishing his memoir, Words Without Music, earlier this year, he's back to making music.

  Go listen to it.    

Philip Glass on 14th St., December 9, 2015.

Philip Glass on 14th St., December 9, 2015.

  

Neighborly

Taped to a bench in Washington Square Park the other day.

Taped to a bench in Washington Square Park the other day.

Don't know if the owner ever got his/her bike back, but someone did seem to make a mighty effort to reunite them!

Reuben. Not the sandwich.

61 Fourth Avenue today.

61 Fourth Avenue today.

  The Reuben Gallery was a pioneering gallery of Happenings, events and new media art that ran from 1959 to 1961.

  Opened by Anita Reuben in the summer of 1959, at 61 Fourth Avenue, between 9th and 10th Sts., the first public event was Allan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 Parts (October 4–10, 1959), which inaugurated the term “Happenings.”

  Reuben’s husband, Max Baker, an advertising executive, saw potential in the word.

  The building - now likely to be converted to.... wait for it.... luxury loft condos, is part of the Artist's World tour. Come on the tour to hear more.

The Iceman Cameth... So others did too

Plaque in Golden Swan Park at corner of West 4th St. and Avenue of the Americas. It is the same West 4th St. that Bob Dylan sings about and lived on.

Plaque in Golden Swan Park at corner of West 4th St. and Avenue of the Americas. It is the same West 4th St. that Bob Dylan sings about and lived on.

Big reason folks like the Beats and Bob Dylan came to the Village was to follow in the achieving creative footsteps of folks like Eugene O'Neill.

As the plaque above says, the bar that was the inspiration for "The Iceman Cometh" and the off Broadway venue that hosted its premiere were both in Greenwich Village.

The Beats and Bob Dylan Walking Tour passes by this corner and many other important locations in the Village literary canon.

Special holiday tour added Saturday November 28th at 12 noon.  

The location of the former Hell Hole is now a park often used to host recycling efforts.

The location of the former Hell Hole is now a park often used to host recycling efforts.

Beat me to it!

Sixties activist Jerry Rubin on St. Mark's Place. Like Travelerette, he is a fighter.

Sixties activist Jerry Rubin on St. Mark's Place. Like Travelerette, he is a fighter.

As I was doing a Save the Village Greenwich Village walking  tour last week, it struck me how many retail spaces were vacant. For Rent. For Sale. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah.

I was going to start taking pictures of each and every one, to nail down my point - and the point that so many others make lately - that things are tipping in the wrong direction, that landlords are evil, etc. Familiar turf here. 

Well, someone beat me to it.

http://www.travelerette.com/2015/09/the-ugliest-approximately-100-abandoned.html

Didn't know her until now, but I love her already. Another soldier in the fight. She documented 103 vacant spots and probably could have captured more.

She concludes,  "I hope that was enough to convince you that something must be done about this. Now it's your turn, Mayor De Blasio, Commissioner Gordon or whoever else is listening, to stop the evil Penguin Landlord from destroying Gotham City with his ludicrous rents. If I can take these 100 something pictures, I'm sure you can do something, no matter how small."

Right on, sister.

Old/New

Before: The corner of 8th St. and MacDougal in front of the famous 8th St. Bookshop. (Pictured is peace activist David McReynolds delivering a "Ban The Bomb" speech on September 18, 1960.  

Before: The corner of 8th St. and MacDougal in front of the famous 8th St. Bookshop. (Pictured is peace activist David McReynolds delivering a "Ban The Bomb" speech on September 18, 1960.  

After: The same corner, now a chain coffee spot, in September 2015. People came to the Village for, among other things, independent bookstores. Save the Village or it will be nothing BUT awful chain stores.

After: The same corner, now a chain coffee spot, in September 2015. People came to the Village for, among other things, independent bookstores. Save the Village or it will be nothing BUT awful chain stores.

How it was and what it now is: The Save the Village tours highlight lowlights like this. Only YOU can prevent forest fires, as Smokey the Bear used to say. Well, only YOU can prevent future abominations such as this one, where the nerve center of a literary generation morphs into a cookie cutter coffee joint that could easily be found in any strip mall in America.  

Labor Day

Three plaques mark the location of 1911's Triangle Shirtwaist fire on Greene St and Washington Place.

Three plaques mark the location of 1911's Triangle Shirtwaist fire on Greene St and Washington Place.

To mark Labor Day, we wandered a bit off the path of the tours (going two blocks east of Washington Square Park) to the site of 1911's Triangle Shirtwaist fire. The blaze took 146 lives, most of them young female garment center workers. The workers were locked into their workplace and many jumped from ten floors up to try and escape the flames.  It remains the city's deadliest industrial accident and led to changes in the fire codes, factory safety and spurred the growth of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union.

The building is both a national and a city landmark. Close ups of the three plaques are below. They speak for themselves.     

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. 

A piece of Whitney History

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A piece of Whitney History

The scaffolding is finally off the New York Studio School at 8-12 West 8th St., a stop on the Save the Village tour. The building was the original home of the Whitney Museum, which opened at that location in 1931. The museum came into being when the Metropolitan Museum of Art rejected Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s gift of over 500 modern paintings. So she opened up her own museum. It is now regarded as one of the finest on the planet and is housed in a magnificent new space on Gansevoort Street after years on the Upper East Side. It left 8th St. in 1954.

Anyway, the point here is that for the first time in decades, the carved stone name of the museum is visible above the main doorway to the building.  

Or at least it will be temporarily. The school will cover it up again soon with its own signage.

But we snapped a photo of the uncovered doorway. It looks fantastic. You'd think the school would want to keep it visible; it is an extraordinary and unique link to art history. Can't they put their name off to the side, or above it. Or both if they think someone will mistake it for the Whitney Museum.

It remains impossible to fathom why everyone doesn't think like we do. Such a mystery.

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Making Christopher Park a National Park

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Making Christopher Park a National Park

A campaign is underway to make a National Park out of Christopher Park, located across from the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street. Go to savestonewall.org to learn more.

At .19 acres (according to http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/christopher-park) it would not be the smallest National Park. That would be the Philadelphia house where Polish freedom fighter Thaddeus Kosciuszko lived, which clocks in at .02 acres. His name should be familiar to drivers who have spent hours crossing the short, potholed and badly designed bridge on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway that bears his name, which crosses Newtown Creek.

As of June 2015, Christopher Park has a new informational sign posted by the city Parks Department, detailing the famous 1969 riots that mark the start of the modern day gay rights movement. The image on the sign was taken by... Fred W. McDarrah, making him part of the official New York City story of the gay rights movement. It is on the Save the Village tour

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Preserve the Artists Club!

Preserve the Artists Club!

 Fred W. McDarrah images are everywhere. Here are two that are part of the ongoing Activism show at the Museum of the City of New York.

And bang the drum slowly for one of the key locales of the Artists walking tour, and the New York School and Abstract Expressionist movement: the famous Artists Club.

According to our friends at EVGrieve, condos are in the works for the corner of 10th St. and 4th Ave., the corner that hosted the greatest incarnation of the famous gathering spot for artists.  http://evgrieve.com/2015/07/10-stories-of-condos-in-works-for-long.html

You can read more about The Club in the Artists Tour web page.

Willem deKooning, the older white haired fellow on the background photo of the Tours page (on the stoop of the New York Hotel Employment Agency) lived and worked down the block from the club at 88 East 10th in the early 1950s. He had moved from just around the corner at 85 Fourth Avenue. By 1960 he had sold a few pictures and rented a studio space at 831 Broadway (located across the street and just south of the Regal 14 Union Square cinema; an apartment that was later carved out of deKooning's space recently rented for $8900 per month). In 1963, DeKooning decamped for Springs, a budding artist's community in East Hampton, where he lived and work until he died in 1997.

SAVE THE VILLAGE!

SAVE THE VILLAGE!

Demolishers dismantle an artist's studio, the facade of which is painted with the slogans 'Save the Village' and 'Wake Up Mr. Mayor!' New York, New York, May 16, 1960. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah.

Demolishers dismantle an artist's studio, the facade of which is painted with the slogans 'Save the Village' and 'Wake Up Mr. Mayor!' New York, New York, May 16, 1960. Photo by Fred W. McDarrah.

Welcome to the Save the Village Tours blog.

In addition to talking about the tours, posting photos of tours and the people on them and the sights that are seen, we will do something else, too. 

We'll keep track best we can of downtown changes that we feel, well, may be not so good. We're all about supporting the folks that are SAVING what is left (see: Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, gvshp.org/) and doing whatever little bit we can to keep Greenwich Village what is was, and is. With Fred W. McDarrah's photos one can see clearly what we are losing.  

It is not a new crusade. The McDarrah image on the Home page that has "Save The Village... Wake Up Mr. Mayor" is from 1960, and is referring to Mayor Robert F. Wagner. Similar slogans probably first appeared on the walls of the caves at Lascaux. 

But it is a crusade where this time, the light at the end of the tunnel may be a freight train coming to run us over. One conductor is NYU, which is doing its best to destroy the neighborhood that gives the school part of its appeal. Another conductor is Rudin Management, which replaced St. Vincent's, the only hospital in the Village, with more million dollar apartments. Another conductor is the husband and wife team of Oscar Proust and Colleen Goujjane who were cited last week for without anyone's knowledge or permission destroying part of the doorway to their landmark 1834 carriage house (first owner: Aaron Burr) which is now the restaurant One of By Land Two if By Sea. 

Not to single out the folks above. There are many, many, many, many greedy evil demon landlords, developers and real estate professionals to be stopped. Calling them out on their activities, and highlighting what is being lost, is important.         

Won't try to replicate the general brilliance of EVgrieve.com, easily the city's leading news, entertainment and lifestyle blog. It focuses on life below 14th St and east of Broadway. And we'll be more narrow in focus than vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com, which accurately and amusingly calls itself, "A bitterly nostalgic look at a city in the process of going extinct."

Instead, we'll focus our musings best we can on the ground the tours and the photos cover, as well as note places where McDarrah photos are currently being displayed, either in galleries and museums, or newspapers and magazines, or online.

As of today, July 16, 2015, here is a current list of institutions that have McDarrah on the walls:     

 

DOMESTIC:

 

YOKO ONO: ONE WOMAN SHOW, 1960 – 1971

WITH NEVER BEFORE SEEN MCDARRAH PHOTOS OF ONO AND HER WORK FROM THE 1960S

MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

11 WEST 53RD STREET

NEW YORK, NY 10019

ON EXHIBIT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 17, 2015

 

ARTIST TO ARTIST 

PORTRAITS OF ARTISTS BY HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON, HOLLIS FRAMPTON AND FRED W. MCDARRAH

ALBRIGHT-KNOX ART GALLERY

1285 ELMWOOD AVENUE
BUFFALO, NEW YORK - NY 14222

ON EXHIBIT UNTIL NOVEMBER 8, 2015

HTTP://WWW.ALBRIGHTKNOX.ORG/EXHIBITIONS/EXHIBITION:07-11-2015-PHOTOGRAPHS-OF-ARTISTS-FROM-THE-COLLECTION-OF-THE-ALBRIGHT-KNOX/

 

THE YOUNG LORDS IN NEW YORK   

FEATURING MCDARRAH  PHOTOS IN THE FIRST MUSEUM SURVEY TO EXAMINE THE RADICAL SOCIAL GROUP FOUNDED BY PUERTO RICAN YOUTH IN THE 1960S.  

THE BRONX MUSEUM OF THE ARTS

1040 GRAND CONCOURSE

BRONX, NY  10456

ON EXHIBIT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 13, 2015

http://www.bronxmuseum.org/exhibitions/presente-the-young-lords-in-new-York

 

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK   

INCLUDING MCDARRAH  PHOTOS IN AN UNPRECEDENTED THREE SEPARATE EXHIBITIONS

MUSEUM OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK

1220 FIFTH AVE.

NEW YORK, NY 10029

1) FOLK CITY

ON EXHIBIT UNTIL NOVEMBER 29, 2015

2) SAVING PLACE 50 YEARS OF NYC LANDMARKS

ON EXHIBIT UNTIL SEPTEMBER 13, 2015

3) ACTIVIST NEW YORK

ONGOING EXHIBIT  

http://www.mcny.org/exhibitions/current

 

INTERNATIONAL:

 

WARHOL UNDERGROUND

WITH 25 CLASSIC MCDARRAH IMAGES OF ANDY AND THE FACTORY SCENE

CENTRE POMPIDOU-METZ

1 PARVIS DES DROITS DE L'HOMME, 57020. METZ, FRANCE

ON EXHIBIT UNTIL NOVEMBER 23, 2015

CENTREPOMPIDOU-METZ.FR/WARHOL-UNDERGROUND

 

MILAN TRIENNIAL

RARELY SEEN FRED W. MCDARRAH PHOTOS; ART, ARTISTS AND FOOD IS THE EXHIBITON THEME

TRIENNALE DESIGN MUSEUM

VIALE ALEMAGNA, 6, 20121. MILAN, ITALY

ON EXHIBIT UNTIL NOVEMBER 1, 2015

EXPO2015.ORG/EN/THE-THEMATIC-AREA-OF-ARTS---FOODS-IS-PRESENTED-AT-MILAN-S-TRIENNALE

 

LOUISE BOURGEOIS: I HAVE BEEN TO HELL AND BACK

NEVER BEFORE EXHIBITED MCDARRAH IMAGES OF BOURGEOIS

MUSEO PICASSO, MALAGA, SPAIN

ON EXHIBIT  UNTIL SEPT 27, 2015

HTTP://WWW.MUSEOPICASSOMALAGA.ORG/EN/MUSEO-PICASSO-MALAGA-PRESENTS-THE-EXHIBITION-LOUISE-BOURGEOIS-I-HAVE-BEEN-TO-HELL-AND-BACK

MODERNA MUSEET, STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN  

ON EXHIBIT  FEB 14 TO MAY 17, 2015

 

Darn that is an impressive list!

And THREE shows at the Museum of the City of New York at once? That is unheard of. 

The point is that there is a tremendous demand for photos (and the memories?) of a Greenwich Village fast fading. That is why you are reading, right?