Friday, December 7, 2012

The Holland

Last night I dreamed there was another newsstand on the second floor above Gem Spa on the corner of 2nd and St. Mark's. It was called The Holland. Possibly The Holland Spa. It was crummy looking in all the right ways.

To get to it, you climbed a flight of stairs on the outside of the building. A crusty young man slept outside the door with his pit bull. Inside, it was a hidden treasure--the walls covered in dusty VHS movies for sale, comic books, and photographic memorabilia from the long life of the newsstand. I started taking pictures for the blog, worried that, now that I'd found this wonderful place, it would vanish.

The owner was a older Greek man. His name might have been Stavros. He was lively and loud and friendly in a brusque way. He served coffee and breakfast sandwiches. A few guys hung around, but otherwise the place was empty. It was early Sunday morning. The Greek complained to me about the unseasonal warmth, "It's too hot for December! It's almost Christmas and I'm sweating!" I said, "I know, it's crazy. I might have to turn my air conditioner on tonight." He laughed, "It's ridiculous, this heat!" Then he told me to stick around for the party.

Very soon, crowds appeared at the door. People were lining up along the tops of the awnings along 2nd Avenue to get into the Holland for their coffee and breakfast sandwiches and newspapers. They all loved Stavros, and their mutual love created a bouncy, jovial atmosphere. I was amazed. How had I walked passed this place a million times and never gone inside?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Joe Jr's

November 12, 2012

I went to Joe Jr's diner on 3rd Ave and 16th. There was a big FOR RENT sign taped in the window underneath the word CONSUME painted on the glass. I felt devastated. I went inside and asked the man behind the counter what happened. He confirmed they'd lost their lease and would soon be closing.

Dizzy with grief, I went outside and cried, thinking, "Why? Why is it that as soon as I find a place to love, it gets taken away?" I stood outside, staring at Joe Jr's, thinking about how beautiful it was, and ruminating on this existential question about love and loss. I went over in my mind a list of all the places I had discovered and begun to love, only to lose them soon after. I thought, "Maybe I'm cursed. I shouldn't love anything in this city!"


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jazz Records

October 4, 2012

Last night I dreamed I was opening a record shop on E. 5th St. between A and B. It seemed like a crazy idea, but my business partner was an optimistic young woman from San Francisco and she believed we could succeed. Even more economically challenging, it was a jazz record shop.

I got very excited about writing up the dividers--those white plastic sheets that alphabetize and separate the bands--and enjoyed writing the names on the tabs with a black Magic Marker. One of the bands was called Zoot Suit Lollapalooza. I spent a lot of time getting the lettering just right.

"I can't believe I'm opening a record shop," I kept thinking to myself while I wrote on the tabs. "I'd rather open a bookstore--that would be more me--but here I am with a record shop." I was very amused with the whole thing. I also amused myself by thinking about how my fellow East Village bloggers would come in to blog about the shop, and wouldn't that be ironic, since they wouldn't know that I was me. And I figured it would be weird for me to blog about it myself, sort of like a conflict of interest.


Seaport Dream #2

I was at the old fish market building, but it was a big gold-colored stone warehouse. It was present-day and the building had been abandoned for 30-40 years. I broke in with a male friend (can't remember who he was, but he was my age) and discovered the place had been preserved all that time.

On the second floor, at the south end, was Joseph Mitchell's old office. Instead of a writer, he'd been known as a photographer. And, instead of being a nice guy, he was famous for being a big jerk (sorry, Joe!). I'd also had a long-standing affair with him. This doesn't really make sense as far as time goes because I was younger in the dream (early 20s) and he had been in his 60s when he died at least 30-40 years before (when the building was closed up).

I was feeling very sentimental as I poked around the office, looking in boxes, opening drawers and closets, sitting on the big leather couch. I remembered spending time there with JM--he wore a dark gray suit, white shirt, black tie, tan overcoat and dark felt fedora. He'd yell a lot and be angry, but he was also brilliant. I opened a cabinet and found three of his cameras. One was a dull gold color and the other two were black. Not sure what types of cameras they were, but they were big, cumbersome, and covered in dust. I looked through the lens of the gold one, pointing it out the window at the seaport. That's when I knew I was seeing the same vision of the city JM had seen, and that with that camera, any picture I took would look exactly like his. I'd discovered his "eye" so to speak.

I took the camera and my friend and I left the office and went down the stairs. When we went outside, I turned and looked back and the building and felt extremely sad because I knew that since I'd re-discovered the building, new people would, too, and they'd ruin it. So I went back in and took the remaining two cameras. That's when I found a note underneath them. The note was addressed to me and was from JM's widow. She'd known I would eventually find his things and she wanted me to have the cameras. The realization made me cry because I knew she wanted me to carry on his work. I left the office and everything else behind, but I knew I took away a treasure.


Vanishing Ray's

I walked into Ray's. There were several men in there taking things down. Ray wasn't around. A man unfamiliar to me was behind the counter. Oh, don't worry, he said, we're just closing for a few weeks for upgrades. He smiled.

I left, wondering what to do. I knew one person who could help. I went to Bob Arihood's apartment. The metallic gate covered the entryway, but the door was open. Nothing was inside his storefront apartment. Then I remembered.

--E.V. Grieve

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I am walking along W.14th with my husband, surrounded by the still largely present (yay!) cheesy discount stores. I notice, to my horror, that one of the crummy electronics places is struggling to survive and trying a new tactic to draw in the masses. I see a buddy of mine, wearing a thong and in bare feet, prancing foolishly, Chippendale's-style, in front of the shop to lure in the customers.

I am mortified for him and want SO badly to cross to the other side of the street. But he spots me first and begins jokingly amping UP the bumping & grinding nonsense, then spots my husband and sheepishly retreats back into the store. It's too late to cross the street, my husband curiously asks, "Who is THAT?" and am forced to 'fess up that I know this absurd-seeming person.

--Ellen Fagan

E.B. and Maeve

this is a dream i have, sometimes it seems to segue from when i'm thinking about old new york, (and i fall asleep) but it is definitely something that i have dreamed for real.

it is basically me looking down an endless hallway, the kind with the cloudy window doors, with smoke seeping out and the hallway never ends. it's like a 40s detective movie and i keep thinking i am going to see eb white or maeve brennan with her wild hair. a few dreams i think i've opened the door and there is eb (who i've never really looked at closely in pictures) sweating in a miasmic airshaft.

i keep walking down the hallway for ever and ever and there is no end, i do hear a typewriter clicking sound, and a few times when i can open the door i see maeve brennan in her days of when she wasn't doing ok, when her hair was wild and she slept in the new yorker bathrooms.

i always wake up wondering where did that ny go? wasn't i just about to get a job in the typing pool and make my hands blue from carbon copies, wasn't i going to hand a handkerchief to eb to soak his sweat, wasn't i going to save the long winded lady somehow form the bathroom? wasn't i going to talk to someone when they wouldn't interrupt our conversation with looking at a cell/smartphone screen and talking on one? wasn't i going to be in some timezone when someone actually looked at me the whole time when we were talking and had some kind of mystique about them because no one was on facebook or twitter and you didn't know where someone went last night because they didn't post the event rsvp on their facebook page?

no, i wake up and that's not where i am at all and i shrink yet again.


Seaport Dream #1

I was at the fish market on South Street. It was present-day, but the fish market had only recently closed and the building had fallen down due to neglect. In its place was a giant hole, like a construction site, but it was open to the East River and water filled the bottom. On the water floated wooden pallets and platforms that one could walk on, but they bobbed around and it was dangerous as a person could fall off and get crushed between the floating wood pieces.

During the day, the water-filled pit was used by locals--long-time city residents--who would do their own fishing since the fish market was gone. People had their own little boats or they would just fish off of the floating platforms. The open basin was crammed with boats, wood and people, but everyone knew each other and helped each other out. I was trying to get across the pit by leap-frogging over the platforms. There was a sense of urgency because it was getting late in the day and, with nightfall, came all the frat-boy drinkers, who turned the place into a floating beer garden.

I remember the horror of it--being afraid of getting crushed between the unstable pallets, but being more afraid of being drowned by the hordes of drunkards who only came out at night. They were also in danger of being crushed by the wooden floats, but for some reason, they weren't concerned. The overall feeling was that the dangers faced by the old-timers didn't apply to the newcomers who were taking over. It was a given that the fishing operations taking place during the day would soon be eliminated by more beer gardens. I was much older in the dream--in my 50s or 60s. I woke up feeling very off balance.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Golden Handcuffs

I find myself in the most amazing of all locations. A house with a yard, not over-manicured, perhaps a hammock. There is a view of river all around, and somewhere in the distance the Empire State Building. It is sunny and very quiet and absolutely gorgeous. I am deeply happy and feel at home. There is the main house, and also a small cottage in the back.

I am offered to rent the place for $1,200 a month. It is unclear if I would be allowed to sublet the cottage,or even if I would have an official lease.

I have a dilemma--do I give up my apartment in Penn South, which I am guaranteed to have until I die--for a place that I might not be able to have forever? Is there some way that I could afford both payments? I feel trapped.

And then, perhaps in a different storyline, I was swimming around Manhattan...


Friday, August 31, 2012

Vanishing Houses

I had this nightmare last week. I wish it were just made up.

In it our house was magically shifted a block to Fourth Avenue. We were all sharing one room, sitting up in a large bed. It was night. Suddenly, from the north, an army of figures, all dressed in dark suits, came racing down the avenue jeering & screaming. I suddenly realized that the front wall of the house was missing. How had we not noticed until now? One of the crowd, a thirty-something guy, glanced in as he passed, and slowed down. He walked right in and looked around the room, with a smile of undisguised contempt. He could take whatever he wanted.

I woke up, heart pounding. Quick wall count. One, two, three, four. All there. But the wooden building felt like a house of twigs.

Postscript. Woke early up this morning to pounding next door. The shared roof coming off.

--One More Folded Sunset

Friday, August 24, 2012

1947 Bowery Meet-Up

Last night I dreamed I was walking on the Bowery with my mother, only it was also kind of Greenwich Avenue. We came to Partners and Crime bookshop, which had recently shuttered. I was anxious to see what had replaced it. A green flag on the shop read, "Pim Cup Books." (Spelled Pim, not Pimm's).

"Another bookstore?" I said, "That's amazing! That never happens."

We went inside. There were no books. It was a big cafe theater, with tables and chairs, a bar, and a stage. And it was filled with people--all of them in flawless 1940s period costume. A sea of gray fedoras. Sailors, Bowery bums and prostitutes. Children dressed as street urchins hustling shoeshines. Onstage, a vaudeville show. Everything was perfect, like I'd stepped back in time. I felt a bit like I was intruding, dressed in my modern clothes.

"Are they hipsters?" I asked, but they couldn't be hipsters because there was too much age diversity, too many older people. "It must be a movie. But where are the cameras?" I looked for the cameras. No cameras.

While my mother went off to find cigarettes and an ashtray, I walked around and around, looking at everyone and their amazing costumes. Finally, I asked a man dressed in a sailor suit what it was all about. He told me, "We're a meet-up group. We're the 1947 Rodgers and Hart on the Bowery Meet-Up Group." Then he told me all about his uniform, how he found each piece, which had come from 1947. The only imperfection, he said, were the tap shoes (tap shoes! he was an MGM musical sailor!), which were brand-new and had cost him a million dollars. "But," he said, "I figured, once I wore 'em a few times they'd get scuffed up and no one would know the difference."

My mother came by and I told her what the sailor had said. "Oh, I love Rodgers and Hart," she said, smoking her cigarette, even though I'd told her it was illegal to smoke in New York now. She didn't care. She smoked anyway. She said to the sailor, "1947, that was my era." And I envied her for having lived during a better, more interesting time.


The Cheesy Apple

Last night I dreamed that a new, swank restaurant opened up in Chelsea called Studio 9. It was only for real, old-school New Yorkers--only for the fierce and the extraordinary. Well, a 400-pound tourist woman tried to get a table and was turned down. A riot of thousands of 400-pound tourist women ensued, all trying to get in to the restaurant where a few, rarified real New Yorkers were eating steaks and drinking dirty, unflavored martinis. A gender-bending drag queen walked through the crowd with a big sign that said, “The Cheesy Apple,” i.e., communicating that New York is now tacky and full of riff-raff.

I have dreams like this regularly – like that I’m trying to have a roof party with friends and a stroller harpy busts in with her kids. Even in my dreams I can’t have a New York experience anymore.


$6 Wedding Ring

I was walking down Clinton Street on a bright and sunny day. The entire east side of the street was a thick forest and on the west side were ramshackle 2-story wooden storefronts. It was humid, bugs buzzed, and the air smelled of wildflowers. I was happy in the dream until I remembered that I was supposed to get married in an hour and had totally forgotten.

I immediately wondered where I could buy a wedding ring on such short notice. It also had to be cheap, as I only had about $6 on me. I rounded the corner on Delancey and went to that jewelry store on the corner of Norfolk. I asked the guy for the cheapest gold ring and he put it in a paper Cracker Jack type bag, like something you'd get at a carnival. Relieved, I walked back over to Clinton and headed north, feeling everything was now right with the world.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

An Alternate Coney

I have a recurring dream, which I will embellish only a little: It is of an old, but not entirely abandoned, amusement park that once rivaled Coney Island—but apparently never existed. An alternate Coney Island on the other side of the borough, North Brooklyn, near the Navy Yard. They have their own trademark mascot, a competitive cousin of the Steeplechase Imp. They have their own famous hot dog joint, an alternate Nathan’s. An abandoned subway El runs alongside their own famous roller coaster, both casting rusted-iron shadows. The cityscape is sepia-toned. Nothing is gentrified here whatsoever. When I awake, I feel certain this place exists.

Is this amusement park the foiled plan of some visionary—not George Tilyou or Walt Disney—but some would-be conjuror of mass entertainment whose dreams never got off the ground? Are these the ruins of what never was—as if it once had been?

I walk along the rusted perimeter of this archeological ruin. I sense that a few sparsely attended attractions still operate somewhere inside. The roller coasters, shoot-the-ducks midway games and sideshows are closed. The park had an affiliation with the image of comedian Joe E. Brown—the “Generalissimo of Joy,” who was once chairman of National Smile Week. He, too, had a grotesquely overblown smile, like the Steeplechase demon. Brown’s trademark cavernous mouth is on the twin pillars of the park’s main entrance.

I can barely make out faded depictions of Little Lulu, Popeye, Olive Oyle, Betty Boop and Wimpy on fun houses. Faded ads testify there was once a spin-off here of Auster’s Egg Creams, from the Lower East Side, called Egg Cream Land. And for longshoreman or wayward dads at night, there was The Ritz Bros.’ Shayna Tuchas Burlesk.

The park peaked in the 1930s, when Coney was long past its technological prime. It was slightly more modern than Coney, 1930’s state-of-the-art, yet not so futuristic as the 1939 World’s Fair. One concession’s faded logo claimed to have first introduced cotton candy, the first spinning sugar machine. There is a pre-WWII airplane ride for children. Little planes that once rose and fell have lost their original colors; the metal parts have rusted through. Yet, I wonder whether this ride still operates. There’s an abandoned electric-track spook house, with dancing Mr. Bones skeletons on the facade. One advertises a choice of three doors to enter, like the spook house in a Little Rascals short. Its entry doors that burst open are, of course, embossed with the giant mouth of Joe E. Brown.

A creaky hot dog joint around the corner still operates. I head for it. The front entrance swings open like a spring screen door. This joint once competed head-to-head with Nathan’s from the other side of Brooklyn, like the underdog Dodgers against the Yankees. They still serve seltzer bottles and egg creams. I’m one of the only customers present. There are old-timers who swear by it, over Nathan’s. But how do they maintain a license to operate, much less a Board of Health rating?

There appears to have been some kind of bathing pavilion—not Brooklyn by the Sea, like Coney Island, but Brooklyn by the River. The East River. The presence of the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge looms nearby. Tires once swung over barnacled dry docks where kids could leap off and swim. Floats are now obscured in seaweed. Popeye the Sailor’s tattooed anchor forearm is on the Admiral’s Row pavilion. Some kind of longshoreman ethic once ruled. The skeleton of a carnival tent rusts by the pier, where you could once get an illegal tattoo.

Closer to Manhattan, right over the bridge, these were the stomping grounds of incredible hipster Al Dubin, lyricist of “42nd Street,” “Lullaby of Broadway” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” His heart belonged here, not in Coney Island, and his enormous girth was enhanced by the hotdogs and egg creams. After all, this park was just a few subway stops from Tin Pan Alley on 28th Street.

People in this part of Brooklyn today seem barely aware that it exists and are indifferent. The amusement park is just over there, always had been, no one pays any attention. Time marched on without it. But is it possible no one ever sees it, just me?

My dream also begs the question of whether New York City, not to mention Brooklyn, could have handled two great amusement parks simultaneously. Well, why not? They nearly supported three major league baseball teams for 75 years. Palisades thrived for 70 years in New Jersey. Freedomland in the Bronx only lasted four. But just how much had these two parks—Coney and The Joe E. Brown Grounds—undercut each other’s business over the decades, leading to the demise of both?

In popular song, this park was associated with the ditty “I’ll See You My Dreams.” Ukulele Ike performed it there. “Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland” was Coney Island’s most famous song. And by odd coincidence, 50 years later, “I’ll See You in My Dreams” became popular by another, unrelated Joe Brown, the English ukulele player who does fine throwback numbers. Always playing second fiddle, many things were nearly, but not quite the same, as Coney.

--Josh Alan Friedman

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fedora Returned

July 25, 2012

Last night I dreamed that the Fedora restaurant was taken out of the hands of its current owner and given back to the original owner--except, in the dream, the original owner was a man named Alfredo. He had fought for the restaurant in court and won, thanks to an odd rent control law.

While much of the Fedora had been destroyed in its gutting and remodeling, a great deal of it was still intact. Alfredo did his best to bring it back to its pre-gutting glory. The menu became Italian again. Old photos were returned to the walls--mostly autographed headshots of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand. If it was a gay place before, now it had become a super gay place.

The men's bathroom opened up into a huge space filled with Broadway musical memorabilia. Everything was glittering and wonderful.

I could not believe I was free to enjoy Fedora once again.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ray's in Cement

The morning sun is just starting to rise above Avenue A and the homeless are waking from their drunken stupors in Tompkins Square Park. Beautiful young families, parents around thirty and a baby in a stroller, are walking through the park and I am walking alone, free to admire them.

I start to feel hungry so I wander across Ave. A and walk into Ray's Candy Store for perhaps an egg cream and a beignet. There is no line. Ray hands me an egg cream and the shop starts to go dark. I look out the window and see huge trucks covering the building with cement. Ray yells at the top of his lungs "get down here with me" as he opens up a hatch into a cellar. I hop over the counter and climb down the ladder and turn around at the bottom, seeing a group of 5 or 6 people. About half of the group was Native American and the other half were Dutch, like Peter Minuit and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. They welcomed and hugged us and said "You didn't think it would last forever, did you?" I suppose they were right.

--Victor B. (age 15)

Friday, June 15, 2012

I Dream of Jeremiah 2

I turned up in the dream of another blogger, C.O. Moed:

We were in a van traveling west on Houston Street. A tall thin, young man with long dreds and a beautiful bandana sat next to me. He wore magenta / deep purple lipstick--the kind I wore in the late seventies. His nails were either green or purple.

I began pointing out different things from the van window as we passed "First Avenue," but in fact it looked more like 2nd or the Bowery. There was all this construction. A tenement building like a chess piece was standing at an angle to the corner, awaiting removal. I pointed to the corner and said, "Oh, and this is my neighborhood and that is a big glass building soon," and perhaps another remark about the destruction of my neighborhood.

The van stopped and metamorphosed into an area by a skating rink. The tall young man went off to get something and I realized THAT was Jeremiah Moss and I didn't need to tell him anything about the neighborhood! He came back and I made my introductions. I was a bit flustered. He was incredibly gracious.

--C.O. Moed (dreamed 4/15/12)

I Dream of Jeremiah

Goggla had a dream about me. She writes:

You lived in a room in the cellar of NYU. It was full of copiers and you were employed as their master xeroxer. There were no windows. The only natural light came through a skylight, which was really a hole that looked up through dirt at Washington Square Park and NYU buildings. The room was like an abandoned office--pillars here and there, gray carpet, fluorescent lights. It was really crappy and messy with paper all over the place, wires hanging out of the ceiling and a huge amount of dust. I was house-sitting for some reason, so you weren't there. I recall being quite surprised and horrified that you lived (and worked) there. Also, you left a date planner for 2010 on the floor and it had lots of personal info in it, like bank account numbers. I thought you really should be more careful.

--Goggla (dreamed 3/28/12)

Monday, June 4, 2012

50s City

June 4, 2012

Last night I dreamed that I stumbled into a part of New York City that had been preserved in the 1950s. Or maybe I had gone back in time. I wasn't sure. The windows were full of wonderful neon signs and I had my digital camera, taking pictures of everything.

It was Midtown and the office buildings all held book publishing companies. I was overcome with excitement, and could not stop saying, "Once, long ago, New York was full of book publishers! They had power and influence! Everyone wanted to work in their offices!" And I felt terrible grief about the present fact that books have been rejected by the culture in favor of electronic screens.

The dream was decorated with beautiful, Mad Mennish set design.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Artworld Asshole

Astor Place had been filled with shiny new buildings made of glass and chrome, all of them containing high-end art galleries. The streets had become crowded with gallery people--all of them with nasty, superior attitudes. I felt snubbed every time I walked through Astor Place.

After being snubbed and cut off too many times, when a man in fedora and trenchcoat cut across my path, I became irate. I screamed after him, "You cut me off? Fuck you, you artworld asshole! I'll shove a blowtorch up your ass and blow you straight to Hell!" He kept walking.

I hoped that using this course language would embarrass all the artworld people who wanted Astor Place to be a place of refinement.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Spank the Monkey

Last night I dreamed that I wandered past the former location of Estroff Pharmacy on 2nd Avenue, between 8th and 9th, where I used to get my prescriptions filled (and which is currently under construction). A new business had gone in. The entryway was decorated with memorabilia from the old Batman TV show. I went inside to investigate. In what looked like a crappy office, preppy young men in crisp suits sat around a table. They leaned back in their chairs.

"What is this place?" I asked.

"Welcome to Spank the Monkey," said one, grinning. "Also known as The Grab Ass!" The men laughed conspiratorially, proud of their creation. They invited me to go inside and check it out.

Behind the office was a small bar decorated to look like a suburban basement, the kind of place where teenagers can hang out without Mom and Dad interfering. Wood paneling, crappy couches. The bar was filled with frat-boy types and leggy fashion models. Everyone was dumb and talking about dumb things. One girl was complaining in a loud voice about designer jeans. I was appalled and kept trying to sneak pictures of them to post on the blog.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

No One Was Injured

I dreamt that someone painted over the Joe Strummer mural on the side of Niagara. And when I saw it--while inexplicably riding a bike the wrong direction on Seventh Street--a new mural was in progress. It was black and purple and looked like a bruise. And it was going to be Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones.

I took photos and hurried home to post the photos on my blog. I was in such a hurry, I didn't stop at the site of a construction accident. (No one was injured.)

--E.V. Grieve

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gas Station Art

I dreamed that the closed gas station on 8th Avenue at Horatio Street was reopening because the owners were able to renegotiate their lease.

They were clearing out the rubble of the old gas station to make way for their renovations. Amid the ruins were bunches of original drawings for classic movie posters, including Star Wars. The woman who created them was trying to save them--many had been damaged by the elements. She wanted her artworks to be preserved. But the businesswoman in charge of the gas station's renovation didn't care, she just wanted everything cleaned out and tossed away. The two women were in conflict about the movie poster art and kept fighting over it, with the artist crying and begging while the businesswoman bossed her around. I stepped in to mediate between the two of them and was able to help them come to a compromise of some sort.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yankee Catacombs

I've dreamt I've been wandering the catacombs of old Yankee Stadium, walking into and around old musty rooms no one has visited for decades, finding all sorts of arcane baseball stuff, furniture, equipment, uniforms. I loved that old place.


Back to Meatpacking

I dreamed I went back in time, to the Meatpacking District before it was "MePa," before it was a luxury shopping and partying destination. The buildings were all made of brick and covered in graffiti. I had my digital camera and became very excited to take pictures of everything.

There was more, but that's all I can remember. I often have this dream where I go back in time to an older New York City, armed with my digital camera, and I become very anxious, running around trying to get pictures of every detail.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

7th St. Ghost World

My dream starts off with me walking down East 7th Street between 1st and A. It's early evening around Christmas time and they have all those wreaths and lights up, but there are no fancy restaurants or overpriced boutiques. I'm talking to a friend who works at Otherworldly Waxes and then I cross the street. The scene changes and it's summertime and I'm petting the cat that lives at Mikey's Pet Shop. I start to walk back up toward 1st Avenue with the cat following me, then the cat and I cross the street again and we're hanging out with two little kids whose parents own an herb shop (I think it was called Penny's).

I remember that I'm supposed to be at work (at Nemesis--other end of the block), so I leave and start back down the block, but when I get there the store is gone and there is a fancy salon in its place. I have no idea what's going on.

Maybe I'm a ghost living in a ghost world of a long time ago or maybe I'm going crazy. I decide that I didn't want to go to work anyway and I cross the street and walk into the park.


Chelsea Hotel Bombed

My anxiety dream involved having to hand in my daughter's application for a selective citywide public middle school (I am a cliche) and discovering that the location for the drop-off had secretly been moved from the school to the Chelsea Hotel. But the Chelsea Hotel was bombed just as I rounded the corner, racing to get there before the deadline. I ran into the smoldering rubble holding this envelope with the application in it, and thankfully there were no people at all, even though there was twisted metal everywhere and smoke. I had to find the cardboard box I knew existed, in which to leave this application. I woke up in a sweat.

I think the dream is not only about a changing New York City, but also a changing me. I was once a 22-year-old who lived in a falling-down tenement around the corner from the Chelsea Hotel. Now I am a 44-year-old with a mortgage.


Fine Fair

About 6 months ago I had a nightmare. I was walking through rubble that spread from Delancey to Grand and from Essex to about Pitt Street. There was a faint path I walked on, but I was carrying a lot of bags from FINE FAIR. I realized that a huge chunk of my neighborhood was gone. I walked along sobbing and feeling like no one else cared that all this was lost.

--Karen Gehres

Monday, March 12, 2012

McSorley's Bed & Breakfast

I spend a final night sleeping at McSorley's, which is a bed and breakfast, before they dismantle the place to be sold to either McNally or DeLucie. The new owner will be putting the memorabilia back once it's cleaned up, but "it will never be the same." EV Grieve comes in carrying a large quiche. I take pictures of the photos coming down from the walls and weep.


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Loews Village 7

Last night I dreamed they demolished the Loews Village 7 cinema to build a "fashion salon." I was taking pictures of the demolition and overheard an older couple talking. The woman said, "Where are we going to see movies now? Up in the 50s or 60s where we'll be mugged and killed?" I then started weeping inconsolably for the loss of the Loews 7, feeling my movie-going choices taken away.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ralph Lauren Pine

Last night I dreamed they opened a Ralph Lauren store on 1st Ave near 3rd--it was called "Ralph Lauren: Pine," decorated for urban lumberjacks with lots of faux trees.