As much as I may be disinclined to admit it, I am wrong on occasion. This might be why I’m so obsessed with finding the Lunachicks wall with exact precision. I’m really committed to getting it right, if only for my own sake . Honestly, I can’t imagine any of you are quite as fixated with it as I am, despite my repeated posts about it here.
In any case, way back in 2012, I published a post here about Jim Jarmusch’s iconic film from 1981, “Stranger Than Paradise.” In re-reading same, incidentally, I notice I devoted what I now consider to be a churlishly unsympathetic paragraph to Jarmusch’s first effort, “Permanent Vacation.” Sure, that film may have been rough around the edges, but who the Hell am I to take such pot-shots? I was out of line for that, and I apologize to all parties concerned.
Anyway, “Stranger Than Paradise” remains a keeper. If you haven’t seen it, go do so at once. Regardless, at the tail end of that post, I wondered aloud about the whereabouts of the corner where Eva is depicted waiting after exiting her cousin’s apartment. It became my quest to pinpoint it. Here's that iconic image, once again...
One reader suggested it was the southwest corner of Bleecker and Bowery (just steps away from where that Joey Ramone-in-boxing-gloves mural is today and where Drew Carolan shot his hardcore portraits). I didn’t buy that, but I didn’t seem to post anything else on the subject until December of 2013, wherein I blithely asserted that it was the corner of Jersey Street and Mulberry. I’m not sure how I deduced as such, but I certainly seemed pretty sure of myself.
That’s nice and all, but it turns out I was entirely incorrect.
For a start, the brick-face on those respective corners don’t really match up, but I seemed to have glossed over all that. Today, meanwhile, while I wasn’t even looking for it, I found the actual corner. Bear with me on this one, as we have to go back to the Lunachicks’ shot…
For whatever reason, my kids had the day off from school today, so I was relieved of the duty of dropping them off. Even still, I woke up earlier than I might’ve otherwise. Y'see, in the middle of the night, I’d been struck by the notion that the afore-cited Lunachicks’ wall is not somewhere in NoLita as previously speculated (given that I’ve been zig-zagging my way around that neighborhood on my walks home from work, over the last several days, and continually come up empty). For some reason, I seemed to convince myself that the actual spot I’m looking for is somewhere on Carmine Street. I can’t tell you why I suddenly thought this, as there was no smoking gun moment or anything, but I’d felt a convincing hunch. As such, with a little bit more free time this morning, I left a little earlier to go check that strip out before heading to the office. SEE HOW THIS IS DRIVING ME CRAZY?
As it unsurprisingly turns out, it’s not there either. C'mon...like you didn’t see that comin’?
Finding myself on the west side, instead of repairing back to West Broadway, I continued my southbound trajectory, shortly to traverse through SoHo and gradually into TriBeCa.
Even after all these years, I’m still surprised to see TriBeCa transformed into such a genteel environment, when it used to feel so neglected and desolate. Collister Street, for example used to be a narrow, filthy canyon of dirt and graffiti. Today, it’s squeaky clean and bereft of its former character. The similarly slim Staple Street (which I wrote about here) is also a much less ominous byway to walk down. When I reached that end of that street, however, another thought occurred to me. I turned around to examine the southwestern corner. Let’s compare and contrast, shall we?
I’m completely convinced that this is the actual corner used in “Stranger Than Fiction.” The brick-face, however weathered in the ensuing 35 (!!!) years, is a total match, and look at how the sidewalk still slopes down! It’s a perfect match.
So yeah, five years later, I can happily say that one is solved and correct. Yay.
But the Lunachicks’ shot? That one is still out there … somewhere.