Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Village Gate Sign

I saw this interesting little sign above a CVS while on a lunch time walk this week, and thought you might like to see it. It's for the Village Gate, a nightclub that operated on the spot from 1958-1994.

From Atlas Obscura:

The Bleecker Street sign in Greenwich Village for the legendary music venue The Village Gate still stands, though the venue closed in 1993.

Art D'Lugoff, the impressario on the sign, was the owner of the Village Gate from its opening in 1958 until its final closing in 1993. The sign still displays two placards, not from the Gate's final night as you might expect, but two of D'Lugoff's personal favorites, Jacques Brel and Penny Arcade.

The Village Gate was a pivotal venue in the village music scene, having hosted shows for Jacques Brel, Bob Dylan, Richrd Pryor, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix, Charlie Byrd, Thelonious Monk, and tons more.

I'd stumbled into the theatre-building Rite Aid a few years ago, so it's interesting to see how many clubs have been turned into pharmacies. The lower level of this club continues as a performance venue, Le Poisson Rouge.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fiscal Friday - Budgeting Since April

One of my goals this year was to be more fiscally responsible and to get my finances in order. I've been keeping a secret(ish) Tumblr to help me along (and to teach myself to use Tumblr), but I don't think that's the best forum for personal finance blogs, and now that I know how to use it, I feel comfortable returning to the safety of Blogger.

Hopefully some of you will find my financial updates helpful, but if you totally hate them, I promise not to post more than once a week (if that) about it, on Fiscal Fridays. More likely, it will just be a couple times a month. And, of course, while we dive into it, please remember that personal finance is just that - deeply personal, and deeply situational. I hope that some of my successes and stumblings will be helpful to you, but please don't compare yourself to me. We all have different situations (I have no student loans, but live in an extremely high cost-of-living city) and we're all doing the best we can. Go easy on yourself. And please, go easy on me!

To catch us up, here are all my Progress Reports from the past few months. I track everything on, and have recently been using a cash budget for my spending money. The income you see here is income for me, personally. It doesn't count any money that goes into retirement with my employer, or the $1000 I put into our joint savings each month (which pays for rent, utilities, and groceries). Of the money I take home each month, about half goes into savings: a Roth IRA ($458), a mutual fund account for my down payment savings ($200), and my SmartyPig accounts for an emergency fund ($75) and travel ($50). Also the past three months have been higher than usual because I haven't put any money into my employer sponsored retirement plan this summer, in order to save extra money for our upcoming trip to India. In general, $1,200 is my usual pay, and I try to spend about $300 in cash each month, though it has usually been closer to $400.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Best New York City Novels by Neighborhood

Have you seen this very cool map of books by New York City neighborhoods? Nancy Aravecz of the NYPL (perennial purveyor of my book supply) put it together and I just love it. If you're planning a trip to the city any time soon, you may want to have a look at this and see if you can visit the settings of any of your favorite books.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cooking with Kristin - Jalapeño and Jam Grilled Cheese

Sweet and Spicy Jalapeño and Jam Grilled Cheese

I've made this amazing grilled cheese a few times this week, and posted it on Instagram yesterday, and enough people asked for the recipe that I think it was worth sharing. It's based on my favorite grilled cheese at South, a bar near our apartment. They also do one with chorizo and no jam, which I'm sure is also delicious. This is sweet and spicy and the perfect easy addition to your basic grilled cheese. Enjoy!

Jalapeño and Jam Grilled Cheese (adapted from South)

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices of bread (any type you like, but I'd avoid seeds or grains here - I like honey wheat best)
  • 3 slices of American cheese (yellow or white is fine)
  • 1/2 a pickled jalapeño, sliced (you can find these canned in the same aisle as green chilies)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry jam

Place a slice and a half of cheese on one slice of bread. Sprinkle chopped jalapeño peppers on top of the cheese. Place the other slice and a half on top of the peppers, then top with the second slice of bread.

Fry that baby up on medium in a 1/2 tablespoon of melted butter until it's golden brown, then pick it up with a spatula and add another 1/2 tablespoon of butter before flipping it over. Once both slices are golden brown and your cheese is all melty, you're all set.

Put it on a plate, and spread on two or three tablespoons of strawberry jam. Slice in half on the diagonal and serve with ridged potato chips and a cold drink.

(In the recipe above, I'm assuming you know how to make grilled cheese. If not, visit Grilled Cheese Social for some tips and tricks. The main trick is to use a lot of butter.)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Northern Dispensary

Wandering around at lunch the other day, I noticed this interesting and empty building near the corner of Grove and Christopher Streets.

A bit of research into it informs me that it was a medical (and eventually a dental) clinic, built in 1831. In 1837, Edgar Allan Poe, who lived nearby, was treated here for a cold. The building is triangular (you can see some better pictures on Forgotten NY's walking tour of the area) to fit its odd plot of land.

It's called the Northern Dispensary because in 1831, it was actually a more northern area of the city. The idea of that is so interesting to me - what old New York looked like, and how unimaginable it is today. In 1846, when Poe moved to the Bronx, he was really moving out into the country!

The building was purchased by William Gottlieb in 1998, but remains unused because its 19th century property deed stipulates that the building must be used for the care of the poor and infirm. He seems to have been quite the interesting businessman, buying up properties and then sitting on them, and this one is no exception. For a fascinating look at deed restrictions and historic buildings, check out this New York Times article about the building from 2011. Quite the story behind this unassuming building!