We’re having a morbid streak here on THEG (and no, Marty, Anonymous Guy isn’t dead, and if he were, which he’s not, I didn’t kill him; I swear). But I don’t make the news, I just report it.
First, they are closing Milady’s. That’s right, another one’s gone. For those of you who don’t know it, Milady’s is (was) a great local bar in SoHo that has stubbornly remained the same (cheap, working class, mildly menacing — I recently made the mistake of walking in there in a suit and tie) through the gentrification and then Prada-ization of the neighborhood. On the one hand, it’s amazing that it lasted this long. So I come here to praise Milady’s, as well as to bury it. Jeremiah links to this intriguing writeup from Bryan Miller in the Times circa 1992:
Milady’s, at the corner of Prince and Thompson Streets in SoHo, is rather nondescript from the outside. Inside, though, about 6 P.M. on Fridays, it becomes a raucous after-work clubhouse. The spacious room has rec-room paneling, sound tile, red-and-white-checked tablecloths, Connie Francis on the jukebox and a big color television mounted overhead.
Frank Genovese, the 35-year-old owner, grew up a few blocks from the bar, and later worked there before buying it 10 years ago. “I thought of making this place much fancier than it is,” Mr. Genovese says. “But then in my experience the chi-chi places make a lot of money for a very short time — but then?” He says his bar is having its best year in memory. Milady’s is primarily a neighborhood bar, although periodically celebrities like Madonna (“She comes with two huge people and has a club soda at the bar”) and Sylvester Stallone drop in for fresh homemade ravioli or the house favorite, a charred chicken salad with five types of greens and a mustardy vinaigrette.
Edit: In my haste to post this, I neglected to note that Milady’s was bar 297 in Marty’s epic NYC bar crawl. You should go over there and read all about Marty’s visit way back in 2010, but here’s a taste:
The second morbid item of the day is to note the passing of Judy Protas at the ripe old age of 91. Who is Judy Protas, you ask? Well, she’s the writer who came up with the ridiculously brilliant “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s” advertising campaign. Talk about leaving your mark. Rest in peace, Ms. Protas. I hope there’s lots of rye bread wherever you are.
You know, I don’t want to be too one-note, and I know it’s not the original, which remains, but I don’t like this at all. Eater reports:
A reader sends in these deeply troubling photos of classic New York hot dog stand Gray’s Papaya being disassembled, piece by piece. Our tipster notes: “Sad news as it appears the Gray’s Papaya on Eighth Street and Sixth Avenue is dunzo. Walked by this afternoon and saw a demolition crew taking down the iconic neon sign and removing the fixtures inside.”
An employee at the Upper West Side original confirmed that the Greenwich Village location had closed, although he was unsure if it was done for good, or just shuttered for a revamp. But it looks like this goose is cooked.
And, in fact, in the short and undistinguished life of this blog, this is the SECOND satellite Gray’s location that has shuttered. Total fuckjob.
Here’s a video focusing on the 8th Street location. I’m not sure why they made it, and I’m pretty sure they are wrong that this location opened in 1973 (that was the original), but the chick in the video seems real friendly.
This is the most bizarrely infectious song. So since it’s in my head over and over again, here you go. You’re welcome.
Wiley. Weirdo. But he’s not a bipolar. Goddamn it.
Rumor is out that J&R Music World may be closing. If true, it would mean that yet another one-of-a-kind New York institution will be gone, and we’ll be left with the same generic megastores found in malls across the land.
I always loved the random and incongruous mish-mash of stores and floors that J&R was made up of, even if it didn’t always make much sense. I mean, where else is a guy supposed to pick up a new Technics 1200 (also apparently dead!! WTF!!!!!)?
Walking down the street the other day, I came across this legal notice taped up outside a local deli.
Apologies for the poor image quality, but the noteworthy item to me is that the identified Licensee is:
Too Old & Too Tired Deli Corp.
I respect the honesty. And yes, that is actually how the company is registered.
I would be remiss if I failed to mark the passing of Al Goldstein, one of the more fascinating, and grossest, gentlemen ever to grace my television screen. Note that earlier this week, The Observer posted an article titled “Al Goldstein Is Not Dead”, but that claim appears to have been overtaken by events, at least according to the Times:
Al Goldstein, the scabrous publisher whose Screw magazine pushed hard-core pornography into the cultural mainstream, died early Thursday in Brooklyn. He was 77. Mr. Goldstein did not invent the dirty magazine, but he was the first to present it to a wide audience without the slightest pretense of classiness or subtlety.
The manifesto in Screw’s debut issue in 1968 was succinct. “We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ,” it read. “We will apologize for nothing. We will uncover the entire world of sex. We will be the Consumer Reports of sex.” “He clearly coarsened American sensibilities,” Alan M. Dershowitz, the civil liberties advocate and Mr. Goldstein’s sometime lawyer, said in 2004. “Hefner did it with taste,” Mr. Dershowitz added, referring to Hugh Hefner, the founder and publisher of Playboy, which predated Screw by 15 years. “Goldstein’s contribution is to be utterly tasteless.” Apart from Screw, Mr. Goldstein’s most notorious creation was Al Goldstein himself, a cartoonishly vituperative amalgam of borscht belt comic, free-range social critic and sex-obsessed loser who seemed to embody a moment in New York City’s cultural history: the sleaze and decay of Times Square in the 1960s and ‘70s.
A bundle of insatiable neuroses and appetites (he once weighed around 350 pounds), Mr. Goldstein used and abused the bully pulpit of his magazine and, later, his late-night public-access cable show, “Midnight Blue,” to curse his countless enemies, among them the Nixon administration, an Italian restaurant that omitted garlic from its spaghetti sauce, himself and, most troubling to his defenders, his own family. “I’m infantile, compulsive, always acting out my fantasies,” he told Playboy in 1974. “There’s nothing I’ll inhibit myself from doing.” Alvin Goldstein was born on Jan. 10, 1936, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to Sam Goldstein, a news photographer, and his wife, Gertrude. They had another son, Bob.
For better, and for worse, the dude was memorable. Rest in peace, Al. You were one of a kind.