Here at Off the Grid we often focus on our downtown Village neighborhoods, but the historic preservationist in me wants to learn about other neighborhoods as well. One of the best resources for keeping up to date with changes throughout New York City is the oft-plaintive blog Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York.
Written by Jeremiah Moss since 2007, the blog laments the loss of small businesses, old buildings, and more. Vanishing New York’s subtitle – “a bitterly nostalgic look at a city in the process of going extinct -” tells you everything you need to know about the content and tone of the posts. Vanishing New York’s first post lamented the loss of the Howard Johnson’s in Times Square. The post features remembrances taken from the author’s diary of a visit from 1996. It also has some terrific pictures of the interior and waxes nostalgic on the exterior signs.
Recent features include images from photographer Patrick Cummins of New York City from 1978 to 1983; a post on the businesses along Diamond Way, 47th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues; a plea to sign a petition for Jim’s Shoe Repair on East 59th Street; and one of the saddest, a piece about the removal of the historic “silk clock” from a building on Park Avenue and 32nd Street.
And for those who, like me, often look for news about the Village, this neighborhood is featured as well. There’s an update about the new location being scouted for St. Mark’s Bookshop, a post about changes going on at Caffe Dante on MacDougal Street, and a feature on the “Beatnik Riot” in Washington Square Park in 1961.
Perhaps my favorite post on the blog is a feature about native New York City residents versus outsiders. As a recent denizen of the City (I moved here in 2000), I have often struggled with this concept myself. The post explores how new- New Yorkers have been perceived over time and cites E.B. White’s book Here is New York for a 1949 perspective on the topic.
Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York won a Village Voice Web Award in 2012. It’s not hard to see why. The blog tracks current closings, features historic images and news relevant to today, and explores the well-known as well as the obscure. It is certainly one of my favorite things.