Saturday, June 10, 2023

New York, New York

New York City. Maybe you've heard of it? I don't want to brag, but I've been there. I hit the Applebees in Times Square. JEALOUS? 

Anyway, I have some nice scans of vintage scenes from the Big Apple... starting with this September 1962 view of MacDougal Street, one of the most interesting and vibrant art and culture spots in the city (which is saying something) and maybe even the whole country. Click on THIS to read the Wikipedia page about MacDougal Street, it's pretty interesting.

Zooming in, we can see the legendary Cafe Wha?, where so many famous musicians and comedians performed early in their careers, including Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Bruce Springsteen, The Velvet Underground, Peter, Paul and Mary, and MORE. In fact, a mere ten months before this photo was taken (on January 24th, 1961), Bob Dylan took to the stage at Cafe Wha? for his first performance in NYC. 

Here are some vintage photos that I scrounged online for your edification.

Next, from October, 1958 comes this photo taken looking southeast along East 57th from 5th Avenue (roughly). It's just a beautiful scene, like something out of a movie! The building to the left with the arched entrance is the old Steinway Hall. The tall building in the distance to our left is (I believe) the Ritz Tower, though I could be mistaken. Hey, what do I know, I still don't have indoor plumbing. 

Well.... here's a current-day view. Hmmm. Can I go there, only circa 1958??

Let's go grab a slice of pizza. I'm walkin' here!


Nanook said...

In the upper left is a 1955 Ford Country Sedan station wagon, possibly in Coral Mist. In front of it is a 1961 or 1962 Cadillac, possibly in Tunis Beige. The car with its bonnet hoisted skyward is a 1953 Chrysler New Yorker, possibly in Niagara Blue.
Poking back into the Chrysler is a 1962 Pontiac Sport Coupe, possibly in Mandalay Red.

Thumbs-up to the pair of kids with the roller skates by Café Wha?

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

I wonder if "Cafe Wha?" and "Cafe Why Not?" were owned by the same people, or if they were rival establishments making fun of each other's names.
Love the beatnik lady on the Cafe Why Not? sign. I'm snapping my fingers to show approval.

B&W sign: "Creepniks"? Never heard that one before.

in the East 57th photo, that's an interesting taxi on the left; red and yellow and chrome. I'm sure 'somebody' will know the make & model.

Nanook, "Mandalay Red"; I like that one. But, what about the taxi???

Thanks for the NY, NY photos, Major.

Nanook said...

@ JB-
It's a 1958 Ford. Doesn't everybody know that-?

TokyoMagic! said...

Is that Yoko Ono on the "Why Not" banner (upper right corner of first pic). And if so, is she smoking a cigarette, or screaming into a microphone?

Just two weeks ago, I got take-out food from a restaurant with the name, 'Y' Not Burger. The restaurant has been in the same location since the late 1970s, and owned by the same family. The last time I had eaten there, was with my grandfather, over 40 years ago. I know everyone here wanted to know that.

Major Pepperidge said...

Hi folks, I’m going to be gone for almost the entire day - I apologize! I’m able to respond to the early comments now.

Nanook, I wondered if you’d do your “Nanook thing” and ID all of the cars! “Niagara Blue”, “Tunis Beige”, “Mandalay Red”, they don’t name ‘em like they used to.

JB, I have no idea who owned the “Cafe Why Not?”, but it sure seems like they were trying to glom on to the fame of “Cafe Wha?”. Who knows. I love the word “Creepniks”, very psychobilly. I agree, that taxi is cool, I love the color scheme. I guess it doesn’t pop quite as much as the classic yellow cab though.

Nanook, I sure knew it, I just didn’t want to seem braggy.

TokyoMagic!, I have all of Yoko’s albums and listen to them when I am having trouble sleeping. So soothing. Thanks to your little story, I’m hungry for a hamburger at 7:30 in the morning!

JG said...

The City that Never Sleeps. Because it’s too noisy there, I guess.

I’ve heard 57th Street called Billionaires’ Row, something about a lot of rich people. If they’re so rich, why are they living in New York? I’ve been there several times and was ready to go home every time. Never felt that way about Hawaii, just sayin’.

Thanks for the pics Major!


Hogarth said...

That first shot of the Village makes me ache to walk into it.

Dean Finder said...

Any pictures of Cafe When? or Cafe Who? Cafe How was on Staten Island, so it doesn't really count.

JG said...

@Dean Finder, Cafe I Don’t Know is on 3rd (Ave).


Chuck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck said...

JG, of all the places I’d choose to operate out of in NYC, that would be my third base.

Bu said...

NYC..."my hometown"...kind of, sort of...I have an office here that I am in frequently, I am going there tonight before going to somewhere else...NYC is a good base camp as you can literally get anywhere on planet earth fairly easily...for money. I find that NYC is only moderately expensive compared to other cities in the US I travel to. There is always a place for a "dollar slice" (Bravo Pizza) , and if you know where to go you can stay for a moderate price...time of year to avoid: as soon as they put up that darn tree at Rock Center everything goes south, and I try to avoid this time as much as I magical as NYC can be during the holidays. It's the "bridge and tunnels" that accelerate the population dramatically. As a bridge and tunnel, I can say that. As an ex-pat, there does come a time in everyones NY life that it's time to go....and it is sooooo crystal clear when it happens...the city isn't for everyone: I do think you either can do it, or you can't. Most mortals are not built for it, nor can understand it, and yes...4 blocks is a long way going East to West. But not North to South. But there isn't a true East or West, or North and South, and East and West are predicated by streets, where Soho, and Noho refer to another street, and Nomad refers to another street. The West Village is on the West Side, and the East Village is on the East it? I don't generally refer to Greenwich Village as such...and lump all of the West Village into the West Village: where this photo was taken. Most of all of this is still there, and in a town of TRE, it is remarkable how much has not been TRE'd and there are multiple peoples/systems/ordinances to keep TRE at BAE. I once paid $75 for a reservation to get into the Minetta Tavern. There was a secret club (for money), where once you joined you paid MORE money to get into IMPOSSIBLE reservations. It was very cloak and dagger, and you didn't use your own name. The funny thing is, I got caught in some other city, and couldn't make it to the famous Minetta Tavern, so I had some friends use it. Things like that help when you have some executive that MUST go to THE place in town, and wonders WHY the locals can't get NYC: cash is king, and that's all I'll say. I love NYC, but most of the time, I refer to it (in love, of course...) as "ugh...that wretched city is killing me....". This is what happens when Creepniks get old....and mortals: public service announcement: when you go to a Deli...Please...for all things good and holy, know what you want. Also, know what you want in your coffee before you order it. If you say regular, you are getting cream and sugar. If you say "uhhhhhh" me...the people like me will bulldoze over your order and start barking my own order. Not being mean. Just no time....