Thursday, January 24, 2008

Loretta On The Roof - 1990

No idea how we came across this footage. It's described as: "Loretta on East 10th Street Rooftop. Summer of 1990. Remembering the day she moved into Manhattan. I miss the Old New York."
Yeah, we do too.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Remembering yesteryear at Sophie's

Photographer Ali Smith worked the day shift at Sophie's in the early '90s. During that time, she captured all the regulars who helped make the place what it was. (Sadly, this was before our time, so we never got to meet characters like Jimmy Tokens and Degenerate John who are featured in her photos.) Yesterday, Ali put up four framed photos from her time there. If you're at the bar, take the time to look at -- and appreciate -- her work.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

New York City Big Apple Minute 1980 Commercial

Ah, back before the condos...American Apparel...the Bench. (Uh, OK. We didn't live here then. Still! It still looked a lot like this when we showed up in the early 1990s...)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

"Can someone explain to me the advantage of having bank branches on every damned corner?"

The art of smiling had a short post that was in reaction to the news of Sophie's as reported by Jeremiah's Vanishing New York.

Margaret, the author of the post, shared what a lot of us think these days about the East Village and Lower East Side: " this point I'm more surprised to see anything that's still as I remembered it. The last time I was at Russ & Daughters, I bought my pickled herring from the son of one of the daughters, a man I remember from years ago, and I said I hoped they would be there forever; he smiled and said they weren't going anywhere, and in fact they were thinking of expanding. Moishe's Bakery and Ben's Cheese are gone, but Yonah Schimmel's Knishes is still there, dirty as ever.
Can someone explain to me the advantage of having bank branches on every damned corner?"

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The origins of Sophie's

Our favorite New York-related blog, Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, had an excellent post Jan. 2 on Sophie's. He spoke with owner Bob Corton, who discussed the bar's history...and future:

In the 1980s, Bob worked for bar owner Sophie Polny, a tough old lady who ran a pub on Avenue A. Bob became manager when Sophie moved her bar (known only as the Polny Restaurant Corp.) to its current location on 5th between A & B, into a space occupied by a joint called the Chic Choc, named for partners Virginia Chicarelli and someone called Chocolate. “Chic Choc” is still written on the doorstep of Sophie’s.
Sophie Polny didn’t like to spend money. Bob recalls, “She only got a jukebox because it came free with the pool table. But she mostly used it for sitting on. The jukebox was her perch.” When she moved to 5th Street, rather than buy new, she brought her old wooden bar with her. It’s still there today, with its stained-glass cabinet doors and cottage-roof motif, a popular style dating back to (from my best guess) the early 20th century.The bar used to open at 10:00 in the morning for the old Ukrainian men who liked to sit all day over beer and shots of vodka. Said Bob, “If I showed up to open at 10:01, there’d be 8 guys waiting out front to get in and they’d hand me a bag of shit for being late.”

Please read the rest here. He also has photo's of Sophie's on his Flickr page.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Chain reaction

Local independent businesses in the East Village have had a challenging time making a living in recent years. Here's a group trying to help.