Here, a lunchtime food cart has left for the day. While the cart is cleaned and restocked at its commissary, several folding chairs and two wooden platforms remain on the sidewalk, chained to a signpost. The platforms allow the two women who operate the cart to step up and get a better angle on the griddle; one platform has a cutout (not visible in my photo) that serves as a chock to help hold the cart in position.
This appropriation of space is only slightly more intrusive than most, especially given the context of three newspaper boxes (which are permitted under law and seem to be comporting with all local ordinances). A fourth and smaller box, which the platforms lean on, once distributed promotional brochures (and poses a fuzzier legal case). Though the business is still a going concern, this particular box is outmoded, and in recent memory it's done nothing but take up sidewalk space and serve as a trash can with a window. The chairs and platforms, though well-worn, are at least in good working order.
The 2016 Tony Award winner for best play is set on Grand St. near Eldridge, if I heard the dialogue correctly, but the artwork outside the Helen Hayes wanders farther afield through Manhattan's Chinatown, along East Broadway especially. This photo montage is more fanciful than literal, not only for its juxtapositions but also for its hint of harmony. Onstage, during a holiday meal in a small city apartment, the fabric of a "happy family" wears thin all too quickly.
From my archives: A "white takeout carton that could feed the Chinese Army" is actually a traffic-signal box, one of dozens in Stamford, Connecticut, that have been decorated by Fairfield County artists. This order (chop suey? chow mein?) includes fortune cookies ("The best way to get where you're going is to be here now") as well as duck sauce and soy sauce (Kari-Out brand) — but, wouldn't you know, they forgot the chopsticks.
This 1809 building "probably always had a shop on the ground floor," according to its New York City Landmark designation. When that protected status was granted, in 1966, the building's upper, residential stories still featured their original Federal-style details, but in a century-and-a-half of use, the street level had been extensively modified by a succession of commercial tenants.
The most obvious additions are a neon sign, likely installed with the arrival of Leonard Hecht's namesake business, Hecht Liquors, in 1941, and the hand-painted lettering on the windows. The liquor store, which was still in fine fettle in 1968, remained a going concern for about a half-century. In the early 1990s the Hecht family, who owned the building, closed their retail business and signed up a tenant, the Liquor Store Bar; after a decade's worth of cocktails (and about two years of vacancy), in 2008 the ground floor became home to a location of clothier J. Crew.
Capitalizing on the rich history of a earlier business, and carrying forward a legacy of place, is hardly uncommon in the city. (See this similar example from Bushwick.) Here in Tribeca, not one but two successor businesses inherited character from Hecht Liquors; the men's shop still wears that mantle.
From my archives: This Peanuts comic strip was reprinted in April 2007, some two years after I began taking my own photos for Eating In Translation. I clipped it for a bookmark, tucked it in place, and promptly forgot it till I pulled out that same book years later. Though the subjects of Snoopy's supper-dish photography are not the suppers themselves, just the dishes, I think you'll agree that Charles Schulz anticipated the obsessional food-photography trend by many years — he first published this strip in 1994.