Monday, May 17, 2010

DEFINE: RETRO SIGNAGE \ re-tro sin-ij \

One of the things I love most about New York: the history that stares at you from its (key word alert) original as opposed to faux-original vintage neon signs and painted storefronts. Three totally outstanding, can't-deny-the-genius examples: Vesuvio Bakery on Prince Street between W. Broadway and Thompson. It now houses the quite adorable Bluebird bakery but had been a much-loved downtown fixture for 89 years when it was taken over by the new owner last year. Just over three and a half blocks east is Fanelli's Cafe. This bar has been around as Fanelli's since 1922 (though it was a bar dating back to 1847). My friend's dad, Robert Fitzpatrick, was a firefighter at the now-defunct neighborhood firehouse and used to hang out there in the 1960s. Finally, on corner of W. 11th St. and Hudson in the West Village, is the White Horse Tavern. It's been on that corner since 1878 or 1880 -- my mom remembers it from growing up around the corner at 312 W. 11th St. from the 1920s to 1940s. It was a longshoreman's bar then, and a place, she said, to be avoided.

Friday, May 7, 2010

DEFINE: SMART CHARM \ smart charm \

Cecele, one of the several great people who make Williamsburg neighborhood spot Beco such a chill hangout, is on a replacement evil eye necklace. This one is a gorgeous blue color, and she customized it with a swag of blue ribbon--I took a closeup shot that didn't turn out great so I promise to reshoot and post it when I see her again. This one came to her via a friend who brought it back from Turkey. Her last one had split in two, which, she told me, is what happens when the evil eye has had its fill of bad vibes. I knew why people wore evil eye charms but I didn't know the eyes really told you when they'd had enough. Cecele hasn't found any in the city that she thinks are great quality, so she gets her abroad. Someone else I know, who wears a rope of them around her neck (she works in a tough joint), loads up on them in India. I don't wear one but I'm reconsidering -- they look really cool; it's just bonus points if they truly do ward off whatever negative stuff you don't want coming your way, right?