Back in August of 2008, I posted an entry dubbed “Recent Things.” This was essentially just a series of photographs I’d snapped with my still-quasi-new digital camera (not iPhone) to offset a series of photo posts I’d portentuously titled “Things That Are No Longer There,” and variations thereof. I stumbled upon that latter post this morning, and was struck by how many of those things – a decade later – are themselves no longer there … or at least not how I’d left them, so to speak. Let’s review, shall we?
This, as the sign says, was Bleecker Bob's. I devoted almost as many posts to the slow demise of this storied stronghold of punk vinyl as I did to the untimely vanishing of the Cedar Tavern. In any event, it closed in 2013 and, contrary to original plans, did not turn into a rock'n'roll-themed frozen yogurt emporium, but rather a fair-to-middling Japanese restaurant I dined in in 2015. Read that account here, should you honestly care.
This is a shot of my then-four-year-old daughter Charlotte standing cherubically in front of what had been the fabled Moondance Diner at the bottom of Sixth Avenue, just north of Canal Street. About year after this photo was taken, the Moondance closed (its physical manifestation moving out west to Wyoming, if memory serves) and a giant, fuckoff hotel was erected in its footprint. I sneer every time I walk by it ... which is daily.
This is the former exterior of Marty's Cool Stuff on LaFayette Street just north of Bleecker. The shop was a complete, unmanageable mess, but Marty did indeed have the odd bit of genuinely ...er... "cool stuff." The only lasting bit of ephemera I have that I'd prized there is this orange metal sign that says "Smiths Overalls." It hangs just above the interior transom of our front door. Today, this is part of the noxious streetwear flagship, KITH.
This is the former entrance to 9 Second Avenue, just steps to the south of the Mars Bar (also gone, of course) on East First Street. Largely derelict and abandoned by the time of this photo, the building's significant back history was lovingly told in an amazing documentary called "The Tao of 9 Second Avenue." I wrote about it here, but it's well worth seeking out. Today, the spot in this photo is part of a TD Bank branch.
Fittingly just around the corner from the shot immediately above, this is the north-facing exterior of the old Mars Bar on East First Street between Second Avenue and the Bowery. A constantly shifting and captivating canvas for murals and spontaneous expressions of colorful street art, this strip of East First Street was always one of my favorite spots in Manhattan. It's all gone now. What's in this space now is that TD Bank, a chic condo's chilly lobby and -- last time I checked -- a business called The Alchemist's Kitchen.
Believe it or not, this is Extra Place on the northern end of East First Street, just steps to the east of the Bowery. Yes, down at the end of that arguably forbidding dead end was the rear of CBGB. Many an atmospheric photo of punk luminaries was snapped in this forgotten byway. Today, it's a comparatively straight-laced and squeaky-clean strip of neatly appointed -- but frequently empty -- storefronts.
This last one probably doesn't need a lot of explanation. That's Charlotte, again.