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November 26, 2013



I still go to Surprise Surprise. The staff there is quite helpful (if you ask for help.) Meanwhile so long Astor Place!


Whenever I'm in Kmart with someone who has never been there I take them to that window. Its such an amazing view! I do think it opened in 1996 - I was in the UK at the time and I remember seeing this segment where Ruby Wax interviews Helen Mirren. At the very end they stop at Kmart and are as dumbfounded as we all were that they'd put a Kmart on Astor Place. They also walk around a rather nondescript NYU land, but Tower Records makes an appearance.

I can't imagine anyone has ever warmed up to that place, its weird being on three floors and you can never find anything. I usually forget its even there when I'm trying to find something and use it as a last resort.

rick mcginnis

My single vivid memory of the diner (now Starbucks) at Astor Place is from the '80s, and the girlfriend who didn't heed my pleas to stop sucking up the free booze at the gallery opening we were attending uptown. (She was trying to keep up with me - it was a feminist thing, I think - but I had a good 60 or so lbs on her, and am Irish to boot.) She got all frisky, then woozy, on the subway ride back downtown, and proceeded to upchuck all over my Doc Martens right in from of appalled diners in the big window seats in the diner. Good times.

Alex in NYC

My lasting memory of the pre-Starbuck's diner was that they just did. not. give. a. fuck.

I remember sitting their one afternoon with my friend Rob and, for some reason, we ordered a pair of chocolate shakes. The delivered them, but without straws. We asked if we could have a couple of straws. The guy took about ten minutes getting them, came back, and from the distance of about seven feet, blithely tossed them on our table like an afterthought. We couldn't stop laughing.

James Taylor

Another terrific post on what is surely the only pleasure to be derived from setting foot in K-Mart.

I have vivid memories of watching that Helen Mirren interview back home in England, probably for the sole reason of prolonging a school night in order to catch the merest glimpse of recent footage of NYC. Ruby Wax was an annoying TV personality but on the BBC her brazen Americanness stuck out like Cool Whip on crumpets. Seeing this again now her loud-mouthed brashness seems completely normal, and not because I now live in New York, but because I think people in general have become more like that. I'm more struck by Mirren's painful Englishness.

In Ethan's photo you can see one of Paula Scher's posters on the side of Joe's Pub. Walgreen's was still Barnes & Noble when I moved here... I must have missed Astor Wines' residency in that building.

Dean Spicoli

In Southern California (some say there's no place as bad as) Kmart is the best place to buy flannel shirts.


I really love this sentence you wrote about Astor Place: "basically how once upon a time in pretty much symbolized the gateway to everything I held dear".
It totally applies to me to...and I remember thinking of Astor Place as the door to the east village and to the best fun I was having in NYC in the 90's....arriving at St Marks and 3rd was a joy, just thinking of all the adventures awaiting for me...
New York in the 1990's Photo Archives

Uncle Waltie

K Cafe was one of the most serene EV vantage points on a snowy winter's day. I spent many a morning there overlooking Astor Place and Cooper Union, which turned into a picturesque winter wonderland. The staff was always very nice and let you sit there for hours over a cup of coffee.

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