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Grom, Broadway & 76th, closed last month. Get the full scoop here.


Last year, Upper West Siders saw the shutdown of the entire block of stores between 77th and 78th Street. I spent a few minutes catching up with Flag Guy. The northern portion of the block seen in the left of the above photo (click to see big), has been gutted. The shell of these historically significant buildings will be preserved, which earns the developer a tax break.

This section of the block: nineteen stories of glorious glass. What was most recently there? Manhattan Diner (so-so, but reliable), Ruby Foo’s (a classic standby), Cosi (where have all the new moms and triple-decker baby carriages gone?), Laila Rowe (emergency gifts for teenage girls), Jewelry store (reliable repairs, reasonable pries), Subway (so what), World of Nuts & Ice Cream (OK in a pinch, but Emack and Grom were always the first choice), New Pizza Town (the loss of this icon remains a tragedy).

Last post on the greenhouse for awhile. If it’s still there, I’ll go back in the fall and again in winter and again in spring until they tear it down. Here is the wide view, the three big greenhouses stacked side by side, maybe a football field in length.

It leaves me wondering about a few things I could easily find out. Who mows the area around it? Something’s been planted in neat, organized rows along the road and I wonder about that. It’s  neglected and tended, in disrepair but seemingly unvandalized, overrun by a collection of nature that isn’t all that natural. Why not just leave it alone and see what happens?

My dad, 82, lives just a few miles from this place. I live in New York, about two hours away.When he was my age, he had a place with a boat on Great Bay in New Jersey he’d go weekends during the summer with Janet, his second wife. I’m convinced that I brought my second wife there once with the kids about a dozen years ago, just before he sold it. The boat was already gone, but the dock was still there and anyone who’s ever been there could instantly conjure the smell of the salt marshes and the light just before sunset. I’m the only one with that memory and I can’t say with any certainty that it happened.


You may have seen in the legitimate media some news lately about disappointing jobs numbers like this one in the Wall Street Journal. I try not to read too much or watch too much on TV other than sports (nothing really equals playoff hockey) and Modern Family (still funny). Oh yeah, and Sherlock is finally returning to Masterpiece Theater on what used to be public television.

But I digress. I think that what’s happened is that US employment is no longer very important to the markets. Markets are interested in earnings and profits, not in how many people are working in any given location. People doing a job for less money anywhere in the world helps a company’s quarterly earnings statement (or whatever they call it – read disclaimer below). So, many companies have little or nothing at stake in any particular community, e.g., the community of the United States workforce.

DISCLAIMER: I’ve done no research on this. I don’t have statistics to cite, or scholars and pundits to quote. I’m not particularly educated nor have I been trained in economics. It just seems that way to me. Use the search engine of your choice and your findings may be different. FURTHER DISCLAIMER: I nearly failed macro economics. 

Oh, and here’s a nice picture – a few weekends ago in Central Park, New York City. I stitched two photos together, and by gum it, I like the way it came out. For the camera compulsive, I used a Fargomatic Ultra 11, model 16 (firmware version q) with a 16 caliber 1.2 mm desensored lens.


On the site of the doomed Teagschwendner, work of some kind begins.

Masking their excitement with blase, the overjoyed populace passes.

And has more than a year not passed since this rainbow presented itself to the city?


Brutalism is a style of architecture. It seems to explain itself well enough in this image made recently of the AT&T switching center on 10th avenue between 53rd and 54th. The sun shone bright did not illuminate. No light enters, and no light leaves. Waves riding another frequency slip in, deposit their messages and exit with others to carry off into the ether.

It is said that on particularly dark nights and lunar eclipses a body can pass through the solid matter walls only to be absorbed by them. If you find it following you, walk slowly until you find help. Never look it in the eye. Image

At a subway stop last November… 42nd Street maybe? Part of the backlog.

A woman records the moment.

Later that day, maple leaves float in a fountain in Bryant Park.

Meanwhile far away in another part of town…



There’s the desecrated truck at rest on East 66th Street as gravity begins pulling it slowly into the asphalt. Perverse, elegant accidental street sculpture. A patron of the arts looks on.

The door was ripped from its hinges and shoved into the gaping maw of the cab like a dismembered tongue stuffed into the mouth of a decomissioned stoolie.

Danger, we are warned. Danger.

The Upper West Side has suddenly come alive with shops, stores, and shops, restaurants, sellers, vendors, and stores. Is this an economic revival, or merely the return of civilization?

But first, some creative signs pasted to the windows of the old Starlight Diner, and whatever it was that was next door.

On Broadway in the low ’80s, the competition for cupcake dollars intensifies:

After you’ve fattened them up, have their photos taken at Amsterdam & 79th:

Occupying what was once half of Avventura (other half still there), food grown from live organs, or perhaps organisms or organizations.

Opening tomorrow, a boutique espresso machine and pod shop moving into where recently you could buy boutique tea.

Hmmmmmm… Something(s) is (are) wrong with these signs. Can you find it (them)? Answers posted August 13, 2019.


Let us pause to critique the awning. Note the typeface distribution: left to just right of center, a sans serif. To the right, a classic serif font. Nice use of an outsized ampersand. To my eye, the effect is unbalanced with too little weight on the left, the number an almost afterthought followed by too much green space. Then suddenly pecan, bold but lowercase and completely filling the margin. Crammed in on the right: “barista & a cook, “lowercase. Kudos for including the street number. Overall, the effort shows that a hint of thought went into the design, but the end result looks too much like a first draft for any award consideration.

Scooter vs. e-bike.


For today’s photos, we used artsy filters.


West 79th St., in front of the only Chase branch for two blocks in any direction. Filene’s will have been on the northeast corner.

79th, between Broadway and Amsterdam.

Pigeons swoop dramatically across the world-famous Gateway McDonald’s Arc de Triomphe  in Washington Square.

December 2019
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