Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Could it be Balthazar.
That's a wonderful place - earns its reputation as it's not a tourist trap, despite, now, being overwhelmed with tourists - but it's in Soho, twenty plus blocks south of the Flatiron. Like you, I can think of places and, I think, I can see the one TH is referencing, I just can't get the name of it for my life. But now I want to go to Balthazar for the fries alone.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Nope. That was later in the nineties c.1999-2000 (near the end of my tenure on the East Coast) when it was hot - not a tourista in sight and damn near impossible to get seated.



Tough to maintain integrity in those circumstances - glad to hear that they do.

Always considered it more meat-packing than SoHo, but as I am certainly not a native...



Place I'm thinking of was c. '94-'96 right at Flatiron - it will come to me eventually. That it is all a bit scrambled in my memory speaks volumes to my usual state of being the 3-4 times I dined with my friends from D.C. there.

The next time you are at Balthazar, please raise a fry for the rest of us FF!

Very many thanks as always to both of you gentlemen for your help.
TH, is the place you're thinking about the one that was literally in the base (street level) of the Flatiron building itself at the "tip" of the triangle with glass windows on both sides?

Sadly, my two favorite things at Balthazar are the fries and its French 75 - I could sit at the bar, down a few of those, a plate of fries and call it night.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
No, that place was - I think - some-sort of diner in those days. This was French-ish and a block or so away. Who knows - it might actually have been L' Express? Will have to Google that one bit more to figure out when it opened...

Sorry to have dragged you into my fit of middle-aged nostalgia and apparently creeping senility.
Are you kidding, I love New York '80s-'90s (my time running around this city as a young man) minutia / trivia. I know this isn't the place, but it was in the area and a great after a night of, er, drinking place to absorb the booze - do you remember Lox Around the Clock?
 

Cassadine

Super Member
No, it really did have that panache, oodles and oodles of that panache, and many, many other things I have been advised not to go into on family-friendly forums such as this.

Then killjoy Rudy finished it all off...

Lucky to have caught the last gasps of it in the 1990s on week-enders up from DC or down from Providence - the difference in just the few years from '94-'97 was palpable - much less the difference from 1990 which was an entirely different city IMHO.

I knew it was gone for good when in May of 2000, I saw fleets of tour buses disgorging wave after wave of tourists from the corn-belt come to The Big Apple to storm Disney and Pizza-Hut with grim determination.



Well and poignantly stated.

Do you by any chance happen to recall the name of that 24 hr French-ish bistro near Flatiron where you could have an O.K. steak au poivre at 3 AM served by some aspiring model-actress-dancer or other?

Sort of like what the old Au Pied du Cochon in Georgetown was only better - not that that was hard or anything.

Been trying to remeber the name for some time now...
Did you see the city during the Abe Beam years? Or even early in Koch's administration? Rats everywhere in the 70's. The place was flat out gross. If you started going there in the early 90's the transformation was well on it's way. And regarding The Bronx, expect for Yankee games, to go there in the Beam years, was to put your life in peril. It was an urban wasteland. The squigee men are gone, and Manhattan is definitely more user friendly. To get "corn-belt families" into Manhattan and to stay the night is a public administration miracle--you might as well cue Cecil B. Demille.
 

Peak and Pine

Connoisseur
^

My time predates.

17 thru 21. '62 to '67. And a summer sub let on Greenwich Avenue at Abington Square summer of Satisfaction, Lost that Lovin' Feeling and We Gotta Get Outa This Place, '65. Tad's Steakhouses ($1.19) and Horn and Hardart everywhere. (One whole one now in the Smithsonian.) Toffinetti's when the Times really was in Times Square. The Deuce on HBO, see it/hear of it? The 70s in the Square, a little after my tme, but authentic right down to the steam from the grates. I have never seen the clean Square. Wagner was my mayor. Then Lindsay then I was out.
 

Peak and Pine

Connoisseur
My time in NYC paralleled the Golen Age of Broadway, but I didn't know that then. Still, I partook mightily. Memories pressed hard. A quick two...

Still have my ticket stub to something called Dolly, a Damn Exasperating Women, the original title that the printer couldn't change fast enough when Merrick switched the title and went for a few last minute public dress rehearsals, previews, prior to opening. I was at the last one. The next night it opened.

Hanging around the stage door of the Imperial (maybe it was the Music Box) finally got me to befriend a lonely Londoner my age and show him the town as 19 year-olds should see it. The Artful Dodger from Bart's Oliver. We were a handsome pair, but he seemed to get all the winks, because of his dialect I think, not his fame, a Monkee yet to be.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
^

My time predates.

17 thru 21. '62 to '67. And a summer sub let on Greenwich Avenue at Abington Square summer of Satisfaction, Lost that Lovin' Feeling and We Gotta Get Outa This Place, '65. Tad's Steakhouses ($1.19) and Horn and Hardart everywhere. (One whole one now in the Smithsonian.) Toffinetti's when the Times really was in Times Square. The Deuce on HBO, see it/hear of it? The 70s in the Square, a little after my tme, but authentic right down to the steam from the grates. I have never seen the clean Square. Wagner was my mayor. Then Lindsay then I was out.
I've written about it elsewhere, but HBO's "The Deuce" does an incredible job of capturing NYC in the '70s - the first version of NYC I got to know.
 

Cassadine

Super Member
It's interesting how a thread about a department store's financial woes can morph into both a stroll down amnesia lane, and a quasi-sociological analysis of The Big Apple. Being a teen in the 70's, I found crossing the GWB, and heading into The Apple, to be energizing and fun (except the rats--I really hate 'em); now as a middle-aged father, my perspective is quite different.

What I do miss about the pre-cleanup Apple is Little Italy. You were stone cold safe there, except for one early morning in 1972, the food was from another dimension, and it was morbidly good fun to sit in Umberto's and whisper in hushed tones "Crazy Joe got whacked right here." Little Italy was decidedly smaller the last time I went.
 

Danny

Super Member
Back to Barney's here...I live in Baltimore but my dad took me on the train up to Barney's to get a suit when I was 13. We spent a good long while there I recall. I ended up getting a gray double breasted number. I recall that Dick Tracy had just come out [the Warren Beatty film] and all I wanted was some crazy primary color extravaganza...but hey...I was 13. The suit I ended up getting was pretty nice and moderately understated. The fact that it was double breasted was my small bit of rebellion.
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
I walked by Barney’s (rather what was Barney’s) this past Saturday. It was closed. I knew they were closing but had no idea it would happen so fast.

All of the merchandise had been moved out. The only thing left were the fixtures which were of course for sale. An inglorious end to a truly upscale store.

Now all that is left is a stylish, 5 story, 90,000 square foot hulk anchoring Oak Street.

Too bad. Of all the department stores, Barneys was my favorite.
 

roman totale XVII

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
^ Wow. That was fast. I was literally in the NYC flagship last Wednesday taking a look around. It was still functioning and nary a discount in sight. Not that it had anything I wanted to buy!
 

roman totale XVII

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Somewhat off topic, but seeing as this thread has been a bit of an NYC themed thread... I was in NYC for the first time in a few years. Some random observations;

J Press’ new store is nice enough, but pretty much devoid of stock (suits notwithstanding).

For all BB’s ills I still enjoy 346 and picked up a shirt. (A flowery Thomas Mason fabric one. Not very trad, but I’m not a slave to the look).

Paul Stuart has never grabbed me and still doesn’t. The quality is indubitable, but the style always seems just ‘off’ enough to steer me away. Especially at those prices.

Only looked in the window at Alden. Lovely, but I really don’t need more shoes!

Kamukura was a delight. Got an OCBD.
 
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SG_67

Connoisseur
^ Wow. That was fast. I was literally in the NYC flagship last Wednesday taking a look around. It was still functioning and nary a discount in sight. Not that it had anything I wanted to buy!
The Madison Avenue location will stay open. According to Crain’s, they closed Chicago, Las Vegas and Seattle.
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
For anyone who still cares or is curious, Barneys will now be a boutique within select, existing Saks stores throughout the country.

I was still getting emails from Barneys but when clicking on the link in the email, I was getting redirected to Saks.

My guess is that it will carry Barneys labeled merchandise. It will probably resemble how the liquidation of FAO Schwarz was handled when the stores closed but small boutiques started to pop up in select department stores.
 

Old Road Dog

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Regarding Barney's sudden demise, you might want to read this and other writings by Nick Hilton, son of Norman Hilton.....https://hiltonsprinceton.com/salt/2019/11/5/feel-sorry-for-barneys-think-again

Nick writes in a way that makes me believe that prose could have been his first vocation. Being the son of a very successful, yet volatile businessman is a burden to bear.

You may also appreciate the other chapters in his writings about the clothing business from the maker's perspective; collectively titled "Salt".
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
Regarding Barney's sudden demise, you might want to read this and other writings by Nick Hilton, son of Norman Hilton.....https://hiltonsprinceton.com/salt/2019/11/5/feel-sorry-for-barneys-think-again

Nick writes in a way that makes me believe that prose could have been his first vocation. Being the son of a very successful, yet volatile businessman is a burden to bear.

You may also appreciate the other chapters in his writings about the clothing business from the maker's perspective; collectively titled "Salt".
Yes, he had a calling as a writer - hope he realized it in some fashion. Hey, we're reading him, so I guess he did.

The most moving moment was not about Barney's or Norman Hilton, but this:

"On the sidewalk, in front of the house. I remember hearing it clearly. Her words hung in the damp air. I don’t remember anything after that. Days later, at the funeral, I remember the sun slanting in through the stained-glass windows in St. James’s, on the flowers, my mother’s black dress, the impossibly small white casket. In between Lil’s words and the church, nothing."​
And the meta-game insight:

“Oh,” I said. Thinking, Really? Show the Japanese you’re serious? Since 1981 we’d had a licensing agreement for the Norman Hilton brand with a Japanese company with the unlikely name of Rockingham Santoh, a clothing-manufacturing subsidiary of the giant conglomerate Mitsui....I’d experienced how they operate and one thing I was sure of, the Japanese understood serious. The little rituals, the bowing, the gifts, the exchange of business cards, even seating arrangements at a meeting were carefully planned. Serious was their schtick."​
My tiny view of all this was as a stupid kid just out of college in the mid '80s who thought Barney's on 17th Street was a really neat, one-off, NYC thing: special, different, a real men's clothing store, some things affordable, many not at all, but a place you went to, had to go to if you loved men's clothes. After that, in all its various iterations, I never really cared about Barney's. It was a soap opera that played out in the New York City tabloids, but not a serious clothing store ever again.
 

peterc

Super Member
Fading, I agree with you. Although I still liked Barneys when they expanded, it was clearly not the same place anymore. Businesses that unique are really the vision of one man, or a family, in this case the Pressmans. My parents allowed me to order a suit from Barneys in Jan. 1988 for my May 1988 law school graduation. I treasure that experience and even met Garrick Anderson himself at Barneys at the MTM event. I was a huge fan of his clothes.
 
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