East Village, New York, summer 2013
Photo of the day: NEW YORK’S TRASH GOT MAD MEN STYLE – In New York City our people certainly have style, our pets have style, our apartments have style, our restaurants have style, our clubs have style, our paper coffee cups have style, some of our subways have style, our graffiti has style, our billboards have style, The New York Times has style, our stores have plenty of style, our yellow cabs have style, our theaters have style, our street people have a certain style and even our trash . . . has Mad Men style!
Photo of the day: ONLY IN NEW YORK – do you see a woman going to the upscale trendy Trader Joe’s supermarket on Sixth Avenue in the Chelsea neighborhood to do her grocery shopping, then only to hail a cab to take her groceries home, therefore doubling her bill. In Queens and Brooklyn the ladies have shopping carts, in Manhattan – they have cabs…only in New York
High rise and Verbascum Thapsus (Great or Common Mullein).
Photo of the day: TWIN TOWERS 2013 – The iconic twin towers of The World Trade Center are gone. But today in this era of overbuilding in New York City, if you look closely and use your imagination, there are still some ‘twin towers’ to be seen . . . some more beautiful than others.
Photo of the day: STYLISH BAD ASS BIKER GRANNY – I don’t which caught my eye first? The overalls? Wearing sandals on a motorcycle? The ‘big’ bag? The ultra cool vintage colored Vespa bike? The matte black bubble helmet? Being in the middle of treacherous NYC taxi traffic? The determined look? Or the fact that she is probably somebody’s really cool grandmother! God I love New York! GO GIRL !
Photo of the day: WALKING THE WILD UNTAMED HIGH LINE – One of the most sold out tickets in New York City are the limited “art walks” offered by The High Line on the undeveloped portion. The landscaped and preserved portion of The High Line is the worlds only elevated park situated on an old rail line built in 1934, the developed portion many of my guests have walked with me from Gansevoort Street to West 28th Street. The undeveloped portion stretching to 34th Street’s Hudson rail yards has an art installation on it by sculptor Carol Bove. Frankly most of the ‘art’ is utter nonsense on the level of ‘the emperor is wearing no clothes’, but – – you get to walk on the untouched rusty overgrown part of the rail line and see a view that will not last. Unfortunately is was very overcast and threatening to rain but the experience was absolutely breathtaking! Here is a sneak peek. More to follow!
Photo of the day: TRASH AND VAUDEVILLE STILL HAVEN’T GONE OUT OF STYLE ! – I have been going to Greenwich Village since the early 1960’s. I remember the evolution from beatniks, to modsters, to hippies, to gay culture invasion, to 70’s disco babes, to the Rocky Horror scene, to punk rockers – pins and needles everywhere and then….it all died off with the gentrification of the area after the AIDS crisis. The east and west village have become, for the most part soul-less. The funky shops, store fronts, building, and people are mostly gone. The west village centered around Christopher Street has lost it’s soul long ago, it’s just a tourist curiosity abounding with Polo, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors and damned GAP stores every few blocks. The east village was home to the thriving punk rock scene has become a sterile college campus for the universities. CBGB’s punk rock club’s closing in 2005 was one of the major nails in the coffin. Since Mayor Bloomberg’s greedy empire has taken over with the zealous assistance of council’woman’ Christine Quinn, there is not much left. One of the remaining treasures is a little stretch of East 8th Street between Third and Second Avenues where some of the old time stores are still hanging on. The whole street, for the most part, still has that funky, grungy feel with wonderful stores like the comic book store and of course TRASH AND VAUDEVILLE. They have been there since 1975 and is still going strong!
Long time employee Jimmy (left) with fellow employee
The photo avbove of Ray Goodman shows the old ‘St. Marks Hotel’ mural behind him, that used to be the notorious gay baths (originally Turkish steam baths) ‘The St.Marks Baths’ which was closed down by the city in December of 1985. T+V was making ‘kinky boots’ long before the film or Broadway musical even existed. Here is their history from their own web site: “Born out of the 1970’s rock and punk scene on St. Marks Place in New York City, Trash and Vaudeville has always provided a wide variety of alternative fashion for Rockers, Mods, Punks, Goths, Rockabillies, and everyday working class heroes who just wanted to walk and dress on the wild side.
Trash and Vaudeville was founded by Ray Goodman in June of 1975. Ray discovered St. Marks Place at the age of 13, and never left. He was immediately attracted to the incredible energy that surged throughout the block. Whatever the scene was – Beatniks – Hippies – Glam – Punk – it was all going down on St. Marks Place.
Ray spent most of his free time on St. Marks Place. There was the Electric Circus, the Fillmore East, and CBGBs, all within a few blocks of the area. Some of the greatest Rock n’ Roll Meccas all right there. Ray’s love for Rock music inspired him to open a clothing store that would be entirely influenced by Rock n’ Roll.
Right away Trash and Vaudeville attracted musicians and bands looking to dress in a style that embraced their individuality and creativity. St. Marks Place has always been a gathering place for the ‘cool’, with an energy that still flows today.
The store has been in its original location since opening. The list of artists, musicians, actors, street dwellers, teenage rebels, and people from all over who have shopped at the store goes on and on.”
Hans in London 1974
Photo of the day: IT’S A BOY !
Mondays on Memory Lane: EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW AGAIN, REMEMBERING 1970’s SHOE STORES – Just as the young women of today are teetering on their nine inch platforms, the exact same shoes were the rage in the early to mid 1970’s. In the disco era it wasn’t only women teetering about, it was men also. I was about six inches taller in those disco days.
There were many “cool” in vogue streets to buy your shoes in those days. One was, believe it or not, today’s staid East 59th Street between Third and Second Avenues, right behind Bloomingdale’s. Right around the corner on 58th Street and Lexington Avenue was Arrowsmith Shoes (advertised in the above 1975 ad). The other of course was West Eighth Street – shoe mecca.
The coolest pair I ever bought, which I am missing and lamenting to this day that I didn’t keep, were bought at 227 East 59th Street in a store called “Jumping Jack Flash” they specialized in ‘Galm Wear’ glitter suits, outrageous platform shoes and accessories. I afforded myself one $75 (or about $100) pair there – they were navy blue with wooden platform and heel. On each toe was a silver leather star and on the outer side of each shoe was a silver shooting star. I wore those shoes to every “in” event till the shoes finally fell apart. I also had 3″ high buffalo sandals, rubber wedgies, black velvet Herman Munster-like ‘evening’ shoes I would wear to formal events to the consternation of my mother.
1974 Off to London wearing my Jumping Jacket Flash shoes (covered by the bell bottoms.)
West Eighth Street in Greenwich Village was shoe mecca. Literally one shoe store after another, 3 blocks of wedgies, heels and platforms, not to forget outrageous boots. It was a common thing to spend your night in “shoe alley.” You got dressed as funky as you could and would start at Sixth Avenue and walk up one side of the street, in and out of every single shoe store, upstairs and downstairs, admiring the hip disco funky clothes, jewelry and wide belts. Passing legendary Electric Lady Recording Studios, the head shops and the 8th Street Playhouse, then a revival movie house soon to become famous for showing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” You stayed the longest in the stores which had the best disco music blaring. The shoes were made of every material possible: wet look vinyl, leather, plastic, wood, cloth – you name it. Then when you reached Broadway you would cross the street and peruse every single store on your way back down the street, finishing with grabbing a hot dog at Gray’s Papaya at Sixth Avenue and then head onto Christopher Street to join the evenings ‘parade’. God I miss those days! It’s all gone now. The shoe styles have returned but the fun of the era is but a memory. Both streets have lost their flavor and soul. East 59th Street is now mainly cabinet shops and furniture stores. On West Eighth Street, one third of the stores are empty due to Mayor Bloomberg/Councilwoman Quinn and landlord greed.
Empty West 8th Street 2013, Greenwich Village
But – I have one outrageous pair left! (See top left main photo). They were even a bit too outrageous for the times then, so I didn’t wear them as much, and so they have survived. Aqua marine perforated leather, with orange leather lace-up, brown heel and toe and clunky wooden platform and heel. My treasured memento of dancing a little happier, knowing how to balance myself as I walked and being always at least three inches taller.