Photo of the day: “THEY’RE HAVING A 2 FOR 1 SALE!” – Sometimes people just go overboard at these BOGO (Buy one, get one) sales! Seems whatever it was they were selling – he was more interest in the “2” and the “1” !
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
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.”
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.
Photo of the day: MODERN DAY MARILYN – The Marilyn-esque look will last forever. I was strolling through the east village and came across MM staring down at me through the window of the wonderful 125 Second Avenue vintage shop “ENZ’S”. This mannequin has so many MM references: the cherries from her ‘The Misfits’ dress, the halter top from the famous subway skirt blowing scene in ‘The 7 Year Itch’, the pouting lips, the droopy eyes and lashes, the famous flip hairdo with an updated color – it’s Marilyn!
The east village is one of the last vestiges of what the entire “village” used to be like. Odd, unusual shops filled with quirky items, retro and hand made looks and even quirkier shop owners. Sadly in the Bloomberg/Quinn era the flavor of our ‘originality’ is quickly disappearing in favor of high rent chain stores and the ever cancerous growth of the New York University (NYU) campus. I truly hope in 2025 I will still be able too wander along some of our streets and find a Marilyn pouting at me through the window of a funky shop.
Address: 125 2nd Ave New York, NY 10003 Neighborhood: East Village (212) 228-1943
Nearest Transit: Astor Place (6) 8th St-Broadway (R, W) 3rd Ave-14th St (L)
Hours: Mon-Sat 12 pm – 8 pm
Sun 1 pm – 7pm
Photo of the day: MEET BETTE MIDLER IN PERSON MAY 9, AT KORVETTE DEPT. STORE – 36 years ago! May 9, 1977. It was a Monday afternoon, I am sure I played hooky from college, and I got there early and got in line with all my Bette Midler memorabilia which she gladly signed (in those days, stars did that!). It was the advent of Bette’s much anticipated ‘Live At Last’ 2lp record set. To capture the escence of 1970’s bawdy Bette – you need to hear her live, up till then there had been only three studio recordings of her. The ‘Live’ record album became one of the most quoted and mimicked in every drag queen’s act in those days. “Hello Cleve-land!”
Red head Bette was in true camp mode and kibitzed with everyone. Dig the groovy 1970’s graphics in the background of the smaller photo. Doesn’t her assistant look like ‘Laurie Partridge’?? I stayed a while and took some photos of the, then, rising superstar. On the way out of the old Korvettes Department Store – I grabbed this sign with the photo, right out of the standing sign holder and raced for the door. Today the sign is one of the few artifacts left of the long gone (then one of the first) discount department store Korvettes located at 575 Fifth Avenue/47th Street, to the consternation of SAKS Fifth Avenue, which was just two blocks up on the swanky avenue.
Eugene Ferkauf, owner of E. J. Korvette department store, standing outside by storefront on Fifth Avenue
(The store used both spellings: KORVETTE and KORVETTES.)
Now today, 36 years later, you can see blonde Bette on Broadway in the play “I’ll Eat You Last.”
Queen Elizabeth II Prince Philip and Marvin Traub
Mondays on Memory Lane – Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip ‘shop’ Bloomingdale’s 1976: It wasn’t your average advertisement in the local papers ‘Come Meet the Queen at Bloomingdales’! This being 1976, the height of the disco era it could have been any one of dozens of queens. Divine, Sylvester, Craig Russell, Holly Woodlawn, Rollerena, Charles Pierce, Danny LaRue, Jim Bailey?
No, this was THE Queen to beat out all other queens, The one that always carries her handbag wherever she goes. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Phillip. (As Bette Midler once famously asked: “What has she got in that handbag?! A card that says ‘I am the Queen?!’) Bloomingdale’s then CEO and president Marvin Traub had pulled off the media stunt of all stunts and convinced the Queen to visit his store. This was quite a coup for him. She wasn’t visiting Macy’s, SAKS, or Bonwitts, Tiffany or Bergdorf’s, she was visiting the store that was so hotly in vogue at the time. The Queen “didn’t choose Saks, and she didn’t choose Bergdorf — she chose Bloomingdale’s,” Traub once boasted in an interview with The Post.
As part of the city’s 1976 bi-centennial celebrations, on Friday, July 9th, 1976, the Queen first decided to participate in a little historical reenactment herself. Most famously, the Queen graced the steps of Trinity Church to receive back rent owed the crown — 279 peppercorns. A bronze plaque presently marks the spot at Trinity where she accepted the peppercorns.
After a luncheon at the Waldorf, the royals fit in a couple unusual stops. The first was a spot of afternoon tea at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Harlem, accompanied by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Afterwards, they sped downtown for a tour of Bloomingdale’s, not only stopping traffic, but reversing it on Lexington Avenue, to allow the Queen to exit her vehicle from the right side.
She quietly moved from floor to floor, admiring the many displays of products of British make, particularly the pottery and furniture. She was also greeted to a private fashion show, as Her Majesty was led through a room of mannequins garbed in the latest stylish trends from 1976. Along the way, a few American designers made appearances to greet Queen Elizabeth, including Calvin Klein.
I recall it was in the mid afternoon and many office workers made it a long lunch to see the famous couple. I got there several hours early to get a good viewing spot on one of the upper floors where a museum exhibit had been set up. The aisles were narrow here so therefore the best spot to snap a picture with my little instamatic camera with the square flashcubes. The buzz on the floor was heightened but polite, no shoving or pushing – after all, it was the Queen! She graciously perused the exhibit but her eyes and his swept across the crowd as they truly tried to connect to the people of New York, it was quite remarkable. (Remember, this is before John Lennon’s 1980 assassination and security was still very lax in those days.) A representative of Bloomingdale’s remarked, “we thought — and the Queen agreed — that it would be a very American experience for her to go amidst all the crowds and just pretend she might be shopping.”
It was a surreal ‘pretend shopping excursion’ but it was a thrill for me, but alas…no…she didn’t do the royal hand wave 🙂
Story told in honor of her 87th birthday yesterday April 21.
STAIRWAY TO PARADISE: In a year where we have suffered a great amount of closings of iconic landmark stores, restaurants and shops in New York City due to the voracious greed of the landlords, there is one thing we can still count on…the clickety clack of the wonderful wooden escalator at Macy*s.
Macy*s is paying tribute to those glorious wooden moving stairs in their main Christmas window this year, featuring fashions of the past fifty decades. The escalators will take women to the largest ladies shoe department in the world – shoegasm!
The Otis (as in elevator) escalator has been lifting shoppers to all heights since 1927. My favorite memory: in the 1960’s when women wore those thin stiletto heels they would always get caught between the wide slats of the escalator. One day mom and I were ascending to the second floor – mom got off the escalator – her shoes didn’t…that almost became routine. Women had to stand on their tippy toes as to not get caught. Since the stilettos were made of a primitive plastic, they would either break off or get sliced off by the notorious escalators. Limping women was a common sight in 1960’s. “Clickety clack, clickety clack buy another pair off the rack!”
In New York City – shopping is a sport !
BLOOMINGDALE’S Friday’s hours:
7:00AM – 10:00PM
Saturday, November 24
9:00AM – 10:00PM
Sunday, November 25
10:00AM – 9:00PM
Monday, November 26
9:00AM – 10:00PM
Tuesday, November 27
9:00AM – 10:00PM
Wednesday, November 28
9:00AM – 10:00PM
|MACY’S HERALD SQUARE STORE HOURS
|Friday, November 23:
||12:00AM – 10:00PM
|Saturday, November 24:
||7:00AM – 11:00PM
|Sunday, November 25:
||10:00AM – 10:00PM
|Monday, November 26:
||9:00AM – 9:30PM
|Tuesday, November 27:
||9:00AM – 9:30PM
|Wednesday, November 28:
||9:00AM – 11:00PM
SAKS FIFTH AVENUEMon-Sat 10 am – 8 pmSun 12 pm – 7 pm
LORD & TAYLOR
Mon – Sat: 10am – 9pm
Sunday 11am – 8pm
Holiday hours begin November 26: Monday to Friday open 10am until 9pm. Saturday until 8. Sunday 11am until 7pm
“TIMES SQUARE HAS BECOME A THIRD RATE SHOPPING MALL”: This is Broadway actress and living legend Patti Lupone’s reaction to being asked what she thinks of today’s “new” Times Square. The photo seems appropriate since today it was announced by co-owner Richard Turk, to everyone’s shock and dismay, that COLONY RECORDS in the Brill Building, 1619 Broadway (at W. 49th St.) is closing after 64 years. “Give me the porno theatres back!”, Patti exclaimed during a February 6. 2011 interview at the 92nd Street ‘Y’.
There is not one place left where you can buy a DVD, CD, book, sheet music or any form of entertainment anymore – but you can buy a bra in Times Square! A bra. Many small theatres (The Helen Hayes, The Morosco, the Bijou) were torn down to make room for mega hotels, rather than building over and or around the theatres. Bette Midler on opening night of her 1975 hit show “Clams on the Half Shell”, took one look at the new bland Minskof theatre and said to the audience “This place has all the charm of a Ramada Inn!”.
People spend millions of dollars to replicate vintage diners – yet we tore down Howard Johnson’s in 2005 (a knife in my NY heart) to make room for an American Eagle store. Virgin records closed in 2009 with it’s towering DJ booth. If you liked your Broadway performer’s singing in the show you just saw, you could spend all night hunting for recordings by them and other related shows while listening to the DJ as he spun the latest songs. Perversely and ironically Planet Hollywood just shut down this year too in Times Square. The chain is having financial difficulty, but to close the one in the east coast epicenter of entertainment?? (Where are the bus loads of out of towners to eat?) And now, unbelievably, Colony Records is closing in approximately six weeks- where are the performers to buy their sheet music and do their research? ‘On line’ is the almost ‘Fahrenheit 451’-like answer.
“What’s a Barnes & Noble?” ask vapid teens as they walk dazed under the huge neon signs advertising names of stores they can shop in just as well at home. “But it’s the Times Square American Eagle, Sephora, Forever 21, Gap and Footlocker!” they insist. Times Square has lost it’s soul. Shows are being dumbed down for the out of town audiences (in order to make a profit), so we have The Exorcist coming to Broadway this fall (starring Brooke Shields???) after the musical version of the movie Ghost failed and closed. I sink my head in my hands as Patti does, “Times Square has become a third rate shopping mall.”