A Double Shot of Nostalgia

I never thought I’d be one of those people crying for the days of the old, real New York City.  But this year, besides realizing I am now officially an old person, I found out that not one, but FOUR of my fave NYC spots were not going to be in 2013 with me.

The Barnes & Noble on 6th Avenue and 8th Street closed down, meaning the last B&N left in the area is at Union Square.  When I started NYU, there was one on Astor as well as the other two locations.  The Astor Place location became a David Barton gym (bleh!).  There was also a second Strand book depot in the Lower East Side by my high school.  That’s become one of those discount stores.

Partners & Crime, one of the coolest mystery book shops also closed its doors in the summer of 2012.  I didn’t find out until I stumbled across a blogger’s entry on its closing.

Soho Billiards, one of the last dive downtown pool halls was shut down back in October 2012, when it was evicted by the landlord.  There were so many nights I spent playing pool with friends down there.  I hadn’t been in some time, but I’m sorry to see it go (shady as it was, it was like the 1990s never ended down there).

The Village Chess Shop, adjacent to several NYU locations was also evicted from its home since 1972.  This happened back in November 2012, with announcements in December that the shop was going to reinvent itself at a nearby location.  What’s not the same is that the store might not be it’s old kitsch self with the new description.  Ever since the park renovations, there aren’t the chess boards outdoors and crazy homeless people playing outside anymore.  I will make an effort to check out the Chess Shop’s new location.

I’m bored of all the condos and overpriced, comically commercial bullshit that comes out of the ashes of these stores.  Where’s the spot for the average middle class broke New Yorkers and students?  Unfortunately, my home region of Brooklyn is also becoming this way as well.

I know New York is always changing.  I know everyone says New York is over, but really a new chapter is beginning.  I lived through CBGB’s leaving NYC right before I could even visit.  Gentrification is a growing problem, it has been for some time now.  But I miss when NYC was about everyone having their own spots in the same space.  So, this year I got hit with a ton of nostalgia for what seems to be the end of an era in my life.  I’ll miss the mainstays of a bygone era, probably sneer at the hipster boutiques or trendy restaurants that take their places when I walk by, but the ticking hands of time continue with their same song.

Classic Movie Catch-Up Weekend

I know I should be re-watching Firefly in preparation for it’s 10th Anniversary Special Event at NY Comic Con, but I’ve already got each episode practically memorized, so I’m catching up on film classics I didn’t get the chance to see (and watching some that I would like to see again).

Yesterday, I watched Dead Poets Society and Saturday Night Fever for the first time.  They were two movies that have been on my radar to watch for years, but for some reason or another I didn’t.  How I received an English degree without seeing Dead Poets Society is currently boggling my mind.  I’d say it’s one of those movies you have to see as a teen to really feel the impact.  In my twenties, I look at their mentality with nostalgia.  Ironically, I was supposed to watch Saturday Night Fever for one of my lit courses, but I was too lazy to take the train to watch it with my professors and classmates the night they were watching it in the dorms.  There was a lot of hype it didn’t live up to (the movie’s soundtrack is my dad’s holy grail of soundtracks), while I can see how a movie like this would make waves in its era – sex, abortions, the car culture, feminist changes due to birth control, ethnic foibles.  It’s funny how much NYC has and hasn’t changed over the years.

While watching both I couldn’t help wondering: What they would be like if they were made today? I think that Dead Poets Society would have East Asians and South Asians in their group, whose high maintenance parents would be perfect examples of conformity (for sake of maintaining sanity, I’m going to point out that I’m South Asian and most of my friends are East Asian, we’re all Type A-minuses/B-pluses).  Saturday Night Fever would probably be closer to the Step Up movies in terms of dance style, because that’s what’s in right now.  Even though the films are both dated at this point, their stories are just as strong as they ever were.