Good morning. It’s the weekend… Yayyy! Bright and sunny on Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy 😎
If you fancy a wander along the High Line today, you can drop down and check out the last day of the Gordon Parks exhibition at the Jack Shainman Galleries (it’s held across two locations on W20th and W24th Streets). You might have to form a socially distanced line to get in, but it’s worth it. “We see Parks rendering a visual shorthand for bigger questions and conflicts that dominated the times. Bearing witness.”
If you are OK with your art being virtual, our friends at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts on W39th Street have an exhibit called Midtown that’s just started. Check out more details in our story here.
Here’s what’s been happening in Hell’s Kitchen this week.
There is controversy about the proposed demolition of the lobby at the McGraw-Hill Art Deco Tower at 330 W42nd Street.
The building is landmarked, but the lobby is not. It holds a special place for us, as W42ST magazine had its first office there on the 17th Floor. It was also where Marvel Comics started (hence the Hell’s Kitchen connection with all those superheroes). Our neighbor on the 17th floor was a guy called Fred Papert, famed for helping to save Grand Central Terminal with the help of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
Fred was also president of the Municipal Art Society when he told New York Magazine in 1978, ”Have you seen that lobby? … If Fred Astaire worked in an office building, this would have been the one.” Read about why it’s worth saving, and find the link to the petition…
Our favorite Freeze Frame of the week was Don Humberto Colmenares‘ iceberg view of VIA from across the Hudson.
Tracey Kleinman Berglund draws pictures in real-time, visualizing what speakers like Bill Clinton and Melinda Gates are talking about. She’s live-illustrated everything from events about robotics to peacekeeping to focus groups on making tastier sausage products. You will also see her work regularly online in The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts. Here’s Tracey’s West Side Story.
When Diane Heatherington mentioned to Luisa at Domus that she had a cake tin full of matchbooks and matchboxes, Luisa recommended Diane should get in touch with W42ST. We are glad she did! The collection has inspired a new series for us — OLD FLAMES — where we pick one of the matchbooks and ask for your stories, memories, and photos.
To start off our weekly matchbook series, we struck on classic Hell’s Kitchen staple, Jezebel. Opening in 1983 at 630 9th Avenue (at the corner of W45th street, now 5 Napkin Burger) you might remember this soul food party haven for its eclectic and funky decor, described by New York Times columnist Bryan Miller as “the best soul food south of 110th Street (maybe above, too).” Do you recall the owner Alberta Wright, or the Shrimp creole, or three different types of chicken? Are there other stories of Jezebel we should know? Do you have a picture from before it closed in 2007? George is going to pull all your memories together this week. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was described as “a fantastical model of Manhattan and beyond”, but giant rents brought miniature world Gulliver’s Gate to its knees and the attraction in Times Square shuttered for good in January of last year after filing for bankruptcy. They are now battling to save the models from slow destruction. “The pumps, seals and systems for one of the largest miniatures are at risk for dry rot” and engineers have told Gulliver’s that “batteries may be leaking corrosive chemicals on sensitive electronics,” says the court filing. Read more…
Great news for New York’s bargain hunters — Century 21 is coming back! The 60-year-old retailer will return to the city this year. As one reader stated after we posted our story on Twitter Thursday evening: “The Ted Cruz thing WAS the biggest news of the day.” Read more…
What are the ingredients that make Hell’s Kitchen such a tasty dish for Chef Christopher Motta? “Its style… character… the history… and the food and all the bars are a huge plus!” he says. Read Christopher’s West Side Story and vote for him in Favorite Chef.
Bird & Branch’s owners Brandon and Faith Lee are celebrating their coffee shop’s third birthday this weekend. You may remember them feeding essential workers at the start of the pandemic.
To celebrate, they are still giving. Today, all profits from in-store and online purchases will be donated to @bowerymission. They are also matching any “Give COVID The Bird” breakfast orders this coming week — so buy 5 breakfasts for those with food insecurities, and they will send 10!
Meanwhile, if you want to give Brandon and Faith a birthday gift, vote for them in the “Made for Small Business” contest. They could get a grant of $10,000 to help keep them open!
Don’t make a reservation in New Jersey for dinner! New York will increase indoor dining from next Friday to 35% capacity. Governor Cuomo made the announcement yesterday, saying that he wants to raise the limit to 35% to align with the rules for New Jersey eateries.
What we’ve been reading
90,000 packages are stolen daily. Here’s a fightback story… (New York Times)
Rents and home prices are continuing on a downward trajectory. (Streetseasy)
Andrew Yang talks food. (Grub Street)
“Black Renaissance” celebrates the artistic and cultural legacy of Alvin Ailey. (Pix11)
Sorry everyone, there’s more snow in the forecast for Monday. (NBC)
Swinging Jenny by Jay Lagemann looked pretty in the snow yesterday on W58th Street.