Pearl Street Diner
in Lower Manhattan on Pearl Street at Fletcher Street
I recently learned from the NYNeon blog that the Pearl Street Diner has been closed since the hurricane. I should have guessed and gone to check on it, but I go down to Wall Street so rarely these days that I sometimes forget about the good things tucked in amongst the concrete canyons. I really hope the diner reopens soon — and I’ll be there for a proper neon visit the minute it does. (That NYNeon blog post linked above also lists some other sad neon losses from the last year.)
Adios to 2012. It’s not my favorite year so far, but there have been some bright spots. Most importantly, thank you all for following along, for contributing, and for chiming in. Fellow neon fans definitely make my world brighter
See you all in 2013!
John Shoe Repair
(On the Upper East Side on 67th Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenues)
The cobblers of New York City are a wonder. Operating out of shoe-box sized shops, each packed with the detritus of a lifetime of repairing our worn-out footwear, the enable us to keep pounding the pavement in style. There must have once been so many more of them, in the era before sneakers and the rise of disposable fashions, but there are still a good number today. And a good number of them have neon signs, usually small skeleton signs hanging in the window like this one, but with a wide variety of shoe types from boots to high heels. When winter comes (these one-man operations (are there any women cobblers in New York?) tend to close early), I’d like to finally take a shoe-neon-only walk, and gather a whole poster’s worth of neon shoes.
I dropped my shoes off this afternoon with John. I inadvertently wore through the heels (and nearly through the soles) last winter. I hope he can fix them. I’ll find out tomorrow. If he can, it will have been a bargain — $5!
Half of his tiny shop was filled with a massive shoe lathe that looked like some kind of intricate contemporary sculpture. The other half, more assemblage, featured piles of hardened glue, scraps of leather, and bits and pieces of this and that, with assorted pliers and punchers and whatnot here and there. I would have been claustrophobic to spend too long there, but for a brief visit it was wonderfully quiet and private and soothing, all earthy browns and cozines, with the iconic pink and green shoe glowing softly out the window. Here is New York, alive and busily industrious.
PS: Happy birthday to my mom today!
PPS: Did I tell you? I started a new project to explore New York by daylight: apicnicineverypark.tumblr.com
UPDATE: Shoes look great! When I picked them up, John told me, I think, about his forthcoming trip to Athens (where he apparently hails from), where it is even hotter than it is here, though of course everyone leaves the city when it gets too hot, or goes swimming (communicated largely through miming breast stroke). He is very nice and an excellent cobbler and you should take your shoes there. Oh, and be prepared for the overwhelming smell of shoe polish when you open the door.
(On Second Avenue @ 34th Street)
I love the Clover Delicatessen sign, which I discovered while riding a bus—not something I do every day. It must have been fate. What a font! The Greek E in Clover, the curved ends on V and C, all perched atop the straightforward Delicatessen. Plus the facade has great green enamel panels (which nicely play off of the green glow of Clover) and stainless steel detailing. All around aces.
After an epic walk from work on Friday night (up to 77th for rye bread at Orwasher’s, then back down to Clover) I stopped in for a much needed refreshment—one of Clover’s famous black & white cookies. Unlike most examples of New York City’s signature cookie, Clover’s is cakey and delicious rather than a flat, dry thing more aerodynamic than delectable. The only problem with the cookie is that it’s nearly the size of a cake, so next time I’m gonna have to bring someone to share it with—maybe on the way to a movie down the street.
Another fun fact about Clover Deli is that around the corner is the House of Wine and Liquor which has, as many liquor stores in New York do, a neon window sign advertising their delivery service and including their number. The cool thing is that the number has an exchange: LExington2-0980. I’ve seen other signs around New York with exchanges (there used to be tons of EVergreen numbers painted around Williamsburg), but never in a neon sign.