Friday’s puzzle was a lot of fun for me, as the format of picking places in Manhattan allowed me to poke around the city both virtually and physically. I both learned some new things and got to reminisce about places past. Some of the pairs that I chose for the “which is further uptown puzzle/quiz” were done strictly for wordplay i.e. two Terminals, John Jay Park or College, but others were trips through time and space for me. For instance, I went to college at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus and still have a nostalgia for Lincoln Center and the surroundings. Also, at one point of my life just about everyone who I was close to worked or lived on West 57th Street, so Carnegie Hall was a stones throw away. I remember the GM Building for my early childhood as a place to stop near F.A.O Schwatz’s, and with the state of the American automotive industry, I thought putting it and the Chrysler building together in a puzzle was timely.
I also wanted to use two fictional addresses, and I had found one for Nero’s Wolfe’s brownstone, but I could not find any other landmarks for any other fictional New York private eyes! That’s when the Fantastic Four’s HQ the Baxter Building jumped into my head, and fortunately when Stan Lee was creating his Marvel-verse he put things in locations he knew. Avengers Mansion is pretty much the Frick Museum BTW.
As for Extra Virgin and Diablo Royale, the two restaurants I picked for the “West Fourth is further uptown than West Tenth” question, I must admit that I have never even set foot in either place (anyone know if either is any good?). I just needed two restaurants and I liked the contrast of the names. The whole West Fourth Street crossing West Tenth, Eleventh etc. is one of my favorite things to throw at newbies to the city. Blows their mind every time, and it also gives the Village its reputation of difficulty in navigation. This preserves what little charm the West Village has left. Speaking of which:
Heinz Dept. – O. Henry’s and the Bar Was Called Jimmy Armstrong’s
In my musings post after Puzzle #30 I had asked for some help regarding two places that have disappeared from New York landscape, the Greenwich Village Eatery O Henry’s and a bar that a great friend of mine worked at (bloody well ran) on West 57th Street. My sister found the location of O. Henry’s from a blog called New York Songlines, and according the site’s this virtual walking tour of West 4th Street, the location, 345 6th Avenue is now a bank. Talk about the village losing its charm! The bank in question is now a Capital One Bank and that is now directly across the street from a WaMu. Sigh. There is pretty much nothing else about the place on a google search. I may have to, like go to a library or something for this one. Shudder.
The bar who’s name I could not remember was Jimmy Armstrong’s. This Clinton neighborhood joint had some tales to tell, but it too had the bad fortune to close in 2002 so precious little appears on the internet about it, but I did find a post mortem in the Times about it.
And so it goes. New York is change isn’t it? For those of us who desperately want to leave a mark in or on the world New York is a cruel place to live. Beloved places vanish, majestic buildings crumble and as the people who made these places “places to be” pass on, the memories also recede. What made O. Henry’s a long time village staple? What made Jimmy Armstrong’s so inviting? Mostly the people who ran the places and the people who came. When they go, the rest of us get a bank or now a chain “pub” in the case of Armstrong’s. In fact, right now in New York if the people who make a place special die or fall on hard times the chains are all too eager to gobble up them up and spit out a high-rise or a retail hell in their place. I find this more than a little sad. Which leads me to:
Brooklyn’s Loss is Seattle’s Gain
Scott M.X. Turner is one of those guys that makes something special. He fought the Atlantic Yards Project, he hosted the Rocky Sullivan’s Pub Quiz, and he did great graphic design work for the fair people of Brooklyn (yours truly included, the Puzzling New York Blog’s logo and banner are his work). Scott is unfortunately for us Brooklyn dwellers leaving us for the Emerald City. I have only known Scott for a few months, but he has been more than generous to me with his time and energy. He went to great lengths to focus my ideas for this blog’s look. He allowed me to do many guest rounds at the pub quiz to promote my blog even though my following was nil, and he was a great “talk”. Politics, sports, music, you name it he was sharp and game. I will miss having him around, but Seattle won’t know what hit it. If you want to catch Mr. Turner’s final go at quizmastering check him out tomorrow at 8:00 PM. Need Info? Sure thing.