Month :

Feb ,2015

Aron Streit, Inc. (est. 1925): There are a lot of reasons to get excited about the last major family-owned matzo baker in the country. For one, you can peer through the bars on the windows for a glimpse of the action, and there will be a pretty good chance that someone will reach through the bars to hand you freshly-baked matzo. Second, the rabbis will give you a tour of the factory that churns out 2.5 million boxes of matzo a year – mostly the old-fashioned way. Third, their non-Passover matzo comes in about fifteen flavors.

However, they will not be around for long: it is official that they will be closing the Manhattan factory, plagued by outdated equipment, after Passover in April, and shift all operations to its New Jersey plant.…

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Saturday, February 21st

Explore classic New York with the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art in a tour of the landmarked Harkness House. Discover the design of an Italian Renaissance Palazzo without leaving New York City, and marvel in the interiors which have remained virtually unchanged since its completion in 1908. Two tours at 10:30 and 1:30pm.…

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Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York reports that Winnie’s, a bar on Bayard Street with karaoke which has been in operation as such for 28 years, will be closing in the near future, and its fate is uncertain.  However, this storefront space has had an interesting past with largely the same role in the community for its entire existence: during Prohibition, it had been a speakeasy known as Carmines, and then it became a bar called The Recess, which had a clientele of court workers, civil servants, and those whom they prosecuted.…

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Sat 8pm doors: wit’s end and the dorothy parker society’s jazz age soirée celebrates its sixth anniversary with live music from dandy wellington and his band. cocktail attire, dapper suits, and other vintage wear highly encouraged. free dance lesson at 8:30pm. flute midtown $15.…

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…for some forms. As a matter of political posturing, a local official wants them eliminated by 2016.  Full story from Brooklyn Magazine:

It’s not just Wes Anderson fans who are keeping typewriters alive: The NYPD apparently still uses the machines for some of their paperwork, a fact that irks Queens councilman Danny Dromm, who is introducing a bill to force cops to drop typewriters for computers by 2016. He crafted the bill after fielding complaints from his constituents about delays in acquiring a copies of police reports because they had to be hand-typed.

“I can’t believe the police department is still using typewriters for these types of things,” Dromm told the Daily News.”We live in a computer age…I don’t even know where they get parts for these typewriters anymore.”

The typewriters in use, Commissioner Bill Bratton insisted, are for a pretty limited number of functions. “Currently, some forms are still required to be typed, so we do still have typewriters, but the vast majority of Department forms are now digitized,” Bratton said at a state Senate hearing.

It does seem pretty unnecessary, if charming, to have those old-school clackers as part of the station. But you know, we’re talking about a city agency that has a number of police using horses for transportation. Be happy that they aren’t inscribing your police report on wax tablets.…

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Party-for-pay with formal jazz age dress code for bright young things evocative of speakeasies and old Shanghai was held on 2/21 in honor of Chinese New Year:

But don’t worry, there will be two glamorous (and expensive) old Shanghai/speakeasy themed supper club events to come in the near future…

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from Gothamist:

Despite a rumor that was seemingly confirmed by an employee, 100-year-old Caffe Dante will not be closing anytime soon. “It’s not closing,” the cafe’s owner Mario Flotta said in no uncertain terms over the phone this afternoon. “I’m telling you right now it’s not closing.”

The story began Monday when a tipster told Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York that a group of Australians had bought the business and would be taking over imminently. No one answered when we called last week, but staffers confirmed to Vanishing New York that the cafe was closing. Flotta now says there must have been a misunderstanding; DNAinfo broke the good news this afternoon.

“Somebody who works here is having a good time pulling these rumors,” Flotta told us by phone. “I think I know who she is. I don’t know…she must have misunderstood because she likes to be in everyone’s business. She must have overheard somebody talking and she misunderstood the whole situation.”

“We still have the best espresso not just in the Village, but in the whole city and more,” Flotta continued. He also hoped their revamped menu would continue to serve the next generation of Greenwich Village residents and visitors. As for the gossipy employee, Flotta has some plans in store. “Now she’s away, she’s in Santo Domingo with her husband. I’m waiting for her to come back to give her a piece of my mind!”…

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from Gothamist:

After 100 Years, Greenwich Village Staple Caffe Dante Will Close

(via Foursquare)

This one hurts. In the year of its 100th birthday, MacDougal Street stalwart Caffe Dante will close its doors, having been sold by longtime owners the Flotta family. A tipster tells Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York that the family has sold the business—and the name—to a group of Australians and that the eatery is “set to close within ten days.”

According to reports, the management company that owns the building doubled the cafe’s rent in 2013, which prompted the family to close it down and then reopen as more of a sit down restaurant. “They tried to comfort the masses,” says the tipster. “They amended the business, and refurbished in the hope that they would be able to earn the difference in rent.” Despite the truly delicious food—and continuity of their excellent cappuccinos, gelato and cannoli—employees confirm Caffe Dante will close imminently.

We’ve reached out to the Flotta family to see if they have any parting words and we’ll update when we hear back. Meanwhile, a reader told Jeremiah Moss that “The Aussies reportedly plan to keep the Dante name, ‘not out of respect to this great business, but so they can keep the existing licenses.'” Hopefully they’ll decide to keep the cannoli, too.


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Apparently, New Yorkers were into S&M long before it became fashionable, and the Dutch Colonial society had their very own version of Sadie Hawkins Day!

from Bowery Boys history blog:

Whip it! Early Valentine’s Day custom in old New York involved public displays of flirtatious flagellation

In old New York, there was a curious Valentine’s Day custom involving young women running around town whipping men with rope.

Yes, you read that correctly.  This form of socially acceptable violence was popular in the colonial era and extended well into the early 1800s.  It derives from a tradition practiced as part of an early Dutch holiday known as Vrowen Dagh* (or Woman’s Day) and was likely popular among the young ladies of New Amsterdam, New York’s precursor.

According to the 1850 history ‘Rural Hours’ written by Susan Fenimore Cooper (daughter of James), “[e]very mother’s daughter … was furnished with a piece of cord, the size neither too large or too small” and fitted with a “due length left to serve as a lash.”  Cooper elaborates on this playfully violent custom:

“On the morning’s of this Vrowen Dagh, the little girls — and some large ones, too, probably for the fun of the thing — sallied out, armed with such a cord, and every luckless wight of a lad that was met received three or four strokes from this feminine lash.”

Young men of marrying age dashed from place to place, fearful of being flirtatiously struck in this whirlwind of flying rope.

“Every lad whom they met was sure to have three or four smart strokes from the cord bestowed on his shoulders,” writer Gabriel Furman recalled in 1875.  “These, we presume, were in those days considered as ‘love-taps’, and in that light answered all the purposes of the ‘valentine’ of more modern times, as the lasses were not very likely to favor those with their lashes whom they did not otherwise prefer.”

There obviously seems to be some statement about domestic violence in this practice.  At one point, injured males suggested the following day be a “Men’s Day,” allowing men to chase women around with these braided whips.  But they were told “the law would thereby defeat its very own purpose, which was, that they should, at an age and in a way most likely never to forget it, receive the lesson of manliness — he is never to strike.” [source]

At some point in New York, this custom actually did blend with the English custom of Valentine’s Day, and young women of the colonial era continued enjoying this frivolous custom — in fact, well into the early 1800s.  It blessedly vanished by the mid-19th century, replaced with the more recognizable gesture of sending valentines through the mail.

“We heard that 20,000 [valentines] passed through the New  York office last year,” Cooper writes in 1850.  But it seems the writer had grown tired of even this custom. “They are going out of favor now, however, having been much abused of late years.”

*I think the actual Dutch word would be Vrouwendag but I’m preserving the original spelling from Fenmore and Furman’s text.…

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from untapped

Monday, February 16th

Join the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation in a book reading where murder meets history at “Shadows on Bleeker Street.” In the novel, after a rare book signed  by legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass is stolen, Professor Jeff Gardner joins a  Bleecker Street literary  walking tour, which he feels will enable him to recover the book—and  trap the killer of Jeff’s  colleague, who had discovered the Douglass book. The event is taking place at HB Playwrights Theatre from 6-8 pm. Although the event is free you must RSVP.…

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