"When Max Fish opened some 25 years ago on a “drug-infested” street in a low-rent neighborhood inhabited mostly by artists, musicians and local Hispanics, no one could have predicted that 25 years later it would be priced out of the neighborhood and be treated with the reverence of a latter day CBGB."

The day after its closing, an ode to legendary LES bar, Max Fish. (via papermag)


I lived in a windowless loft lit by stolen chinese restaurant signs that shared a backyard with Max Fish when it opened.

(Source: papermagazine)

Sad

Progress

I walked past a café on Avenue A yesterday; a place I used to frequent. For a while I ate breakfast there almost daily. On the days I didn’t have time to sit for a meal I would pop in for an iced coffee and a bagel to go. But it has been a little over a year since I set foot in the place. They had the greatest bagels back in the day, but even when the baker went back home to Morocco and the amazing bagels were replaced with average commercially baked ones I continued eating there. It was only when they told me that Moe was no longer welcome there that they lost my patronage for good.

Rewind to 1987. The first time I set foot inside the place it was an empty, bombed out storefront. I went there for an art opening that someone had set up by breaking into the place and installing their sculpture. Without power, the event was illuminated by candlelight. It was one of those amazing nights were all of the beautifully ugly people, famous and infamous both, were in attendance. Someone had rolled hundreds of joints and left them in a big bowl. Complete outlaw scene. Terrible art, by the way, but a great night.

Later the space became a coffee shop. Unlike the art show, this was a semi-legal venture. It was ad hoc and rag tag, however, with the space being decorated with thrift store furniture and the walls bare. The main barista was an odd character, a bald brown dancer with bright green eyes. He tried to get me in bed numerous times but I managed to avoid it. It was a pretty great place, with the most interesting characters passing through. It was completely normal to look up from your coffee and see DJ Dmitri and Lady Miss Kier from Dee Lite sitting across from you in full stage outfits. One thought nothing of it.

Eventually they started staying open at night. A DJ booth was installed in the back room and they started serving booze. No liquor license was involved, of course. They just did what they pleased. It also became a huge pot smokers hangout. During the day the sweet smell of cannabis clung to the walls; at night you could hardly see through the haze in the place. They played early hip hop mixed in with classic hard rock, a mix that was unheard of at the time. It was paradise for a quick minute.

Eventually the police shut it down, as all good things must come to an end. It sat vacant for a while, then reopened as a legally operated café. A Moroccan fellow named Al put it together and grew the business. It was still pretty thrift store, but the sprung couches had been replaced with mismatched formica tables. Al and I hit it off right away when he noticed my Sinn Fein cap. We bonded over liberation politics and the shared struggle of the internationally oppressed. Slowly the food got better, and when he brought his cousin the baker over to work for him things got really good.

Eventually he was eased out of the business by the majority (silent) owner. The tables were augmented with antiques, all of which were for sale. The delicious housemade pastries were replaced by mass produced items from a commercial bakery. The record store next door became a bank. The sweet and earnest African staff was replaced by bored white kids. And now a “For Rent” sign hangs over the door. I suppose it’s only a matter of time before it shutters and reopens as a 7-11.

So goes the East Village, so goes New York City, so goes the world.

Pimp Dog

Pimp Dog

Nice night

Nice night

New York is beautiful in the snow

My man Mervyn. He’s the cat who painted Moe’s portrait. Mervyn likes to ride his bike around downtown “to look at pretty girls” and not even snowy frozen streets will dissuade him.

My man Mervyn. He’s the cat who painted Moe’s portrait. Mervyn likes to ride his bike around downtown “to look at pretty girls” and not even snowy frozen streets will dissuade him.

Agyness Deyn has a bulldog…

…and a frigging attitude. Look, I get it, you’ve got lovely features and photograph quite nicely. That doesn’t mean I’m hitting on you, or even being the slightest bit flirtatious when I grunt good morning at you. I do the same to the owner of any dog Moe plays with in the morning. Frankly if you didn’t have a dog you wouldn’t have gotten a second glance. You’ve got the body of a scarecrow and the personality to match.

Ugh, people.

Tags: east village

"Hooooooo, Moe and the big man are back! Where you been big fella, I haven’t seen you?"

— I love coming back to the East Village every time, even if the cat who panhandles outside Key Food still calls me fat.

dennymayo replied to your photo… THE PICKLE STORE

Hell yeah! Most Sundays that I’m in town I stroll down to this place: http://www.pickleguys.com

I’m not even a huge pickle fan but Elaine and Moe love them, and I pass by Russ and Daughters for some lox and bagels on the way home.

Click through for a full set of Sandy aftermath photos

Click through for a full set of Sandy aftermath photos

Hurricane Sandy

Now that the power is on I can tell you all the tales of how awful the storm and it’s aftermath were for us. Things got so drastic that by day 4 the living envied the dead…


Nah, not really. It honestly wasn’t much of an imposition on us at all. While some people took it on the chin (and still are) it was pretty mellow in the East Village. It’s not like I had a job to go to anyway, and I’m generally a very prepared individual. In the run-up to Sandy the news was full of lists of things to stock up on. I already had all of it, so we basically checked the batteries, hunkered down and rode it out. On Halloween we impulsively jumped into a cab and ran up to The Palm for giant prime steaks and all that goes with them. If that aint Disaster Fantasy Camp I don’t know what is. If we could vote to turn the power off one week a month I’d probably be in favor of it.

Plenty of folks were much less fortunate than us, though, and I strongly encourage all of you to consider helping these folks out:

http://www.bowery.org/media-news/presidents-update/hurricane-sandy-bringing-out-best/#needs

I want to make fun of this guy for putting on a Winnie the Pooh costume and hanging out in the park,   but I admire people who follow their dreams, no matter what they may be.

I want to make fun of this guy for putting on a Winnie the Pooh costume and hanging out in the park, but I admire people who follow their dreams, no matter what they may be.

Somebody dressed up as Elvis for the Halloween Parade.

Somebody dressed up as Elvis for the Halloween Parade.

There were some beautiful dogs at the park yesterday.

There were some beautiful dogs at the park yesterday.