11. Children of Paradise
A tiny store tucked into Bleecker Street, Children of Paradise sold old toys. That’s it. Although this isn’t a big deal today, back in the 90s, hardly anywhere else had old Mego superhero or Star Trek dolls, let alone Major Matt Mason or some of the other genuine antiques that were worth serious bank then, let alone today.
It was already on its last legs by the time I found it in 1993, and it only lasted a few more years after that.
12. Back Fence
Allen Ginsburg, of all people, named this bar. Over its 62-year West Village tenure, it morphed from a Beat Poet’s bar to where you went for drinks and live music. Like anywhere else in NYC it seems, Back Fence hosted innumerable celebrities. It finally shut down in 2013 due to a combination of rising costs and, unfortunately, health code violations.
13. The Subway Inn
The business itself is still technically around, but its original Upper East Side location has been shuttered.
The owners claim the space will look exactly the same as the original dive bar on 60th St. and will keep the name. Although it will now be two blocks from the subway, and won’t be the same place at all. They never are.
14. Dick’s Bar
Closed for years now, Dick’s was unique in that if you didn’t know it was a gay bar, then you wouldn’t catch on right away because it really didn’t matter if you were gay or not. The place was all about simplicity, and looked like any other New York dive bar. Dick’s had arguably the best pool table in the city. Definitely the second-best juke box.
15. The Swingline Staplers Sign
“Oh, it’s just a sign. Don’t be ridiculous! Who misses a sign?”
Whomever has ridden the Queens subway for years, that’s who. If you were coming back from work on the N or the 7, the Swingline Staplers Sign let you know you were in the home stretch. That’s a feeling that’s pretty tough to recreate. It’s been gone for 15 years now, but I still can’t help but look for it when the N train hits that particular curve.
16. The Old Yankee Stadium
This one hurts. Yeah, there’s a new one, and yeah, they were super careful to move the ghosts of the Classic Stadium to the new one, and yeah, the Yankees won a Championship in its inaugural year.
But Yankee Stadium is still where I saw my first live Major League Baseball game. That’s a religious experience. And there’s a tiny voice in the back of my brain that won’t stop saying that the ghosts expended all their power getting the Bronx Bombers their last title in 2009.
17. 5 Pointz
It may have just been a warehouse on Jackson Avenue in Queens, but 5 Pointz was really more than that. It was an oasis for artistic expression, and what was painted there reflected the soul of New York City.
18. Bowlmor Lanes (Union Square)
There are other locations still open, but this one was the original. Bowlmor had been open for 76 years, and everyone who was anyone has enjoyed themselves there.
With the loss of this icon and the upcoming departure of The Union Square Cafe, that area of New York will never be the same again.
19. Max Fish
You wouldn’t think a place getting shout-outs from MTV would ever close. But that’s just what happened to this Lower East Side icon last July.
PSYCHE! It’s since re-opened. Come on, this list needed to end on a high note.
Max Fish used to attract Hollywood A-Listers with its amazing drinks, art galleries, and best jukebox in the city. Get down there and check it out!
Even for those who don’t live in this city, the changing face of Gotham resonates with the rest of the world. Without Jeremiah Moss and his Vanishing New York site, many of these posts, here and elsewhere, would be much more difficult to compile. We tip our hats to Jeremiah, the visionary pioneer of this topic.
If you enjoyed this article, check out 14 Places New Yorkers Will Miss Like Crazy… Once They’re Gone!