McNulty Tea & Coffee in West Village
McNulty Tea & Coffee in West Village

It seems only a few years ago that I lived in Manhattan on W 10th Street. And, in what also “seems a snap of the finger,” the West Village changed: from mostly a gay-cruiser & bohemian population with quant streets dotted with specialty shops to a chic clique of wife-of-investor-pushing twins in expensive European prams and streets dotted with the same old Gaps, Intermix, Antropologie, American Eagle, CVS, and Korean manicure shops we can all find everywhere.

To further illustrate my point: The neighborhood no longer hosts an intimate Halloween parade. Christopher Street cannot accommodate the exponential increase in tourists  from all over the States–and other countries– who drive into the Village to hoot and holler at the gay guys dressed up in wetsuits, sporting three-inch long eyelashes, purple boas, and platform shoes.

Nowadays it’s called the New York Village Parade and is an organized family event of 600,000 participants who strut up Sixth Avenue entertaining 2 million onlookers.

Kids (and celebrities) have replaced the gays.

What stayed the same? The Cowgirl Restaurant on the corner of Hudson and W. 10th.  (Now frequented by mothers & children on lunch dates.) McNulty Tea and Coffee Co. A few S&M shops. The Village Community School.  My friend, the photographer Susan May Tell.

I visit New York to visit Susan who lives in the same W. 10th building I used to live in.

We go to the Cowgirl, to A.O.C, to her favorite Chinese place. We drink wine and vodka, sit in her window well and look out at a distant Statue of Liberty, avoid the weird boyfriend who also lives/ed in the building, and watch late night TV on her little 14-inch TV.

In the daytime, we gallery hop: 57th Street photography galleries, Chelsea galleries, the Leica gallery in Soho. Without me  around, Susan rarely goes out to see what’s hanging in the galleries, who is promoting whom, what’s selling, what’s hot.  Along the way we visit a few primitive art galleries ( I enjoy finding ancient sculpturse from India) and painterly exhibits.

Next post René Groebli’s “Eye of Love”


Susan May Tell’s webpage