Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Back to the '90s


Longtime readers probably know about my nostalgia fetish, particularly when it comes to my neck of the NYC woods. So you can imagine my delight when seeing a bunch of old haunts -- including two angles of my actual street corner(!) -- pop up while watching the entire run of "Seinfeld," which seems to film all of its driving scenes in Chelsea and the surrounding neighborhoods. Above you can see the famed Eighteenth & Eighth restaurant, named after the intersection that the New York Times called "the epicenter of gay life" in New York City back in 1994. Because I've always worked afternoons, I used to love to go there to have oatmeal and coffee and read the paper -- the place to myself -- before going into the office. It's where I took my parents to dinner when they visited me for the first time in the city -- and it's also where I overheard some people talking about their friends finally being about to get their television show on the air -- which turned out to be "Will & Grace"! Next to it you can see my old hardware store and the red awning of my Indian restaurant, all of which are long gone.

Another episode featured this angle of 18th and 8th, where you can see my favorite Cuban-Chinese place, my old laundromat, my old liquor store and Viceroy restaurant, where my brother Bill and I ate while waiting to view the apartment that would become my home for the past 23 years. (All four of the places I mentioned are long gone, although the laundry was gutted and reopened under different management.) 

And I caught a glimpse of 8th Avenue at 17th Street, where the funky gay clothing store Camouflage was rebranded as a high-end shop where Jerry ends up buying an expensive jacket with a pink and white candy-stripe lining. (Note that the awning of the Paradise Muffin Co. is partially visible, later shortened to the Paradise Cafe.)

I also noticed two familiar places on Greenwich Avenue. Here was see the Alex Theater, which was really the Art Greenwich Twin/Cineplex Odeon where my friend Ken and I used to see movies when we first moved to New York. (The "Sex and the City" gang also caught a flick there at the end of one early episode.) The building was demolished and is now the location of a schmancy Equinox gym. (In the distance you can see the Jamaica restaurant Day-O, which perished in 2011.)

And last but not least, just east of there you can see the old Pottery Barn -- which was a quaint little place before becoming a huge chain. (Two doors east was Alphabets, which only very recently closed.) Wikipedia says Pottery Barn was co-founded in 1949 by Paul Secon and his brother Morris in Chelsea (of all places), which is news to me.

Between the '90s New York porn and the fact that "Seinfeld" reminds me so much of my beloved late brother Bill -- when I crashed with him upon relocating to D.C. on Jan. 30, 1993, the first thing he did after we watched the women's final of the Australian Open was make me watch the first three and a half seasons he'd recorded on his VCR -- I've been on sentimental (albeit wistful) streaming journey.

Question: Why was everyone on “Seinfeld” constantly DRIVING? No one I know in Manhattan owns a car let alone drives around the city. 😩

1 comment:

JP Aragon said...

This brings back a lot of memories for me too...the driving in "Seinfeld" might have just been a way to waste running time.