03 September 2014

Because They Can't Leave Anything Alone


I was walking up Avenue A about a month ago when I notice a lot of scaffolded over the building that houses the Gracefully deli—apparently the future home of the New York Sports Club. I peered more closely behind the wood and metal and mesh and noticed that, in their refurbishment of the building, the vandals had taken down the distinctive, vertical, block sign that had for decades announced the address as the former home of Burger Klein.

28 August 2014

Wooden Phone Booth Sighting: Kew Gardens Cinema


I don't think I've ever posted an item regarding Kew Gardens. Well, that changes today, as a kind reader sent me this photo of a wooden phone booth on view inside Kew Gardens Cinema.

27 July 2014

Old Deli Sign Uncovered on Upper Broadway


A reader sent to me this photo of a lovely old Delicatessen sign that was uncovered during construction on a storefront at Broadway and 103rd. Can't make out the first word—that is, the name of the place. Lovely font on the sign.

25 July 2014

ANOTHER Giambelli's Memory


I have to say, Giambelli's must have been some place. I wrote about it's closing, after 50 years on E. 50th Street, five years ago. And the comments and memories keep flowing in. Makes me hurt inside that I never went there. 

This one came the other day. It's from "Peniche" in New Zealand (!). Just read and marvel:
...We used to dine at Giambelli regularly in the mid 1970s. One evening we arrived to find the restaurant gutted for renovation. As we turned to leave a diminutive, but immaculate gentleman on the sidewalk introduced himself. 'I am Francesco Giambell...please!' and indicated a stretch Cadillac, sat beside the driver and took us to Mercurios. He asked my name, led us into the restaurant clapping his hands announcing 'Champagne for Senor Peniche and his party,' saw that we were well seated and returned to Giambelli for more customers. I have thereafter been called 'Peniche' by my friends although the name only vaguely resembles my own.

03 July 2014

The History of the Valley Candle Company


A couple years ago, I posted an item about how the television series "Miami Vice," in 1985, was allowed to blow up up an old business on Columbia Street called the Valley Candle Company.

I didn't know much about the company when I wrote that post. Since then, however, I've been contacted by a descendent of the company's founder. That was Saverio DellaValle, pictured below. (Hence, the name of the business.) Saverio came to Brooklyn from Naples in 1905. He made religious candles and delivered them to the churches in NYC. An open-minded businessman, he also made candles for the religious Jewish holidays. There were family stories that, while he was making candles, Saverio ran a still running in the factory during Prohibition. There's an enterprising gent!

The family sold the business in the '70s.

02 July 2014

Lost City: San Francisco Edition: Random Sign


Looks like I have some globe-trotting readers. A native of Edinburgh, who was recently traveling in San Francisco, snapped this shot from a taxi on mid-Market Street. "The building was having a complete renovation, and this was briefly exposed in the process," wrote the reader. "I’m assuming that it was formerly a pawn broker."

30 June 2014

Wooden Phone Booth Sighting: Harmonie Club


A reader who has been very good about spying old wooden phone booths in the City and sending me shots of them, has done so again!

This was taken inside the Harmonie Club at 4 E. 60th Street, a club I did not even know existed. The Harmonie Club was founded in 1852 and has been in its handsome McKim Mead and White designed building on 60th since 1904. "Jacket and Tie are Required. Shorts, sneakers or tennis shoes are not permitted at any time." My kind of place.

19 June 2014

Lost City: San Francisco Edition: A Good Sign: Kaye's Footwear


Old Kaye's Footwear, which once sold Florsheim Shoes in San Francisco's Chinatown, doesn't exist anymore, but the handsome sign lives on.

17 June 2014

Lost City: New Orleans Edition: A Good Sign: McKenzie's


An old bit of signage in the Uptown neighborhood of New Orleans. It is currently the home of the Creole Creamery, an ice cream joint. McKenzie's, founded in the 1920s, was a bakery, and a bit of a legend in NOLA.

16 June 2014

The Building With the Curved Cornice


I've long been intrigued by this small trick building on Fulton Mall, largely because of its unusual, curbed cornice, which appears to be original. I've not been able to find out anything about its past life. Anyone out there known anything?