Where in the Village(?) Was This Photo Taken?
May 6, 2018 1:29 PM   Subscribe

This photo was taken in August 2004 on my parents-in-law’s trip to New York City along with their friends. They think it was in the Village, although, since they really didn’t know the city, it could easily have been in an adjacent neighborhood. Does any recognize where it was taken? I’m not sure, but I’m assuming it’s from the POV of the sidewalk looking at the front of the bar/restaurant. Does it ring any bells?
posted by Bromius to Grab Bag (19 answers total)
I instantly thought of the old Bread location at 20 Spring Street, which is in Nolita, so kinda village adjacent, but not really...they moved later to Kenmare street and are now closed, but their first location on Spring street definitely had this vibe, and google street views is showing a similar window on the storefront, so you never know...
posted by newpotato at 3:11 PM on May 6

I also thought it was NoLita, but couldn't remember the exact business, fwiw.
posted by jbenben at 4:05 PM on May 6

Here's the 20 Spring Street window, if it's any help.
posted by JimN2TAW at 4:26 PM on May 6

It's a six pane over six pane operable window in the photo, though. OP, can you obscure the faces without that swirl effect? I'm wondering if there's more info to be had from the signage around the figures (particularly the one in the white shirt).
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:32 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]

Here’s A realtered photo. Thanks again!
posted by Bromius at 4:42 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]

Thanks -- place appears to be Zagat-rated, and on close-up I'm noticing the ceiling beams (in case that helps anyone else).
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:56 PM on May 6

Yeah, if anyone has the software tool (or knows where to find it online -- seem to remember someone unscrambled a license plate on here once with that) to sharpen up that middle bit (aubergine panel, next to the white shirt's right cheekbone), I think it's the Zagat-rating sign with the establishment's name.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:04 PM on May 6

You sure about that Iris Gambol? It shares a frame with their NYS liquor license, which makes me think it's more of a bureaucratic thing and less of a Zagat thing.
posted by thejoshu at 5:29 PM on May 6 [1 favorite]

thejoshu, please note the "appears to be" and "I think it's" in my posts -- I'm not sure, I'm going off the white-text-on-eggplant rectangle. It's such a small area that the license and a rating could share the frame, like the warning notices beside it, but I'm hoping someone else has better luck!
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:55 PM on May 6

Bromius, I’m guessing your parents-in-law can’t provide any additional context here? And there’s no photo bigger than 640x480?
posted by thejoshu at 9:56 AM on May 7

....Okay, fellow New Yorkers help me out - I want to say that there was a space on Bleecker Street somewhere on the block between Broadway and Lafayette that looks like that, but I don't remember the name. It would have been either next to or very near the Bleecker Street Bar - I want to say that the Bar was like mid-block, between Crosby and Lafayette, and there was this other place on the corner of Lafayette and Bleecker.

All i'm going on is the white wall and the window, however. OP, do your parents remember ANY other detail about the surroundings?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:15 AM on May 7

Ah, never mind about my "near the Bleecker Street Bar" guess - I was thinking of the Noho Star, but the windows don't look the same after all.

My question about "can your in-laws remember any other detail" still stands. There is not very much distinguishing detail in that picture, unfortunately, and a business that was there 15 or so years ago may not be there today. Odd detail may trigger memory from someone who was once at the same place.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:19 AM on May 7

I don't think those are ceiling beams, I think they're the reflection of a striped awning. The placement of the ceiling lights doesn't make sense, and you can see the reflection of the Z-shaped retractable awning support.
posted by nicwolff at 11:20 AM on May 7 [2 favorites]

But I've lived in Greenwich Village since 1999 – and I've been drinking in bars here since 1980 or so! – and I don't remember a bar with a striped awning and window seats, sorry.
posted by nicwolff at 11:24 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]

Hi everyone! Thanks for taking the time to think about this. It’s very meaningful for my wife and me. Her father died several years ago, and we’d love to find the place if at all possible—we live in the city now and would like to get a memorial drink there if it’s still in operation.

To answer your questions: my mother-in-law doesn’t remember much about the place and she’s no longer in touch with the other couple in the photo. The only hint I can add is that the place was really shallow, so the bar was literally right behind where they were sitting. Thanks so much again for any thoughts you might have!
posted by Bromius at 7:11 PM on May 7

Any chance that anyone remembers any fleeting context beyond the place itself? Like, we had to walk pretty far from the subway, or it was right across the street from a park, or there was scaffolding up, etc.
posted by thejoshu at 6:02 AM on May 8

If it was very shallow it likely wasn't Bread. The bar was right behind that window, at least the short part of the L shape of it was, but there were tables that ran along the wall the depth of the room and the kitchen was situated behind the bar on the other side. If I had to guess the dimensions of the space I would say something like 12'-16' wide by maybe 40' deep.
posted by newpotato at 9:24 AM on May 10

Well, the bad news is I have no idea where this place is.

However! If you want to trawl through about 700 possibilities on Street View, you can check out the sheet I created here.

Using data from the NYS Liquor Authority, I pulled every bar or restaurant in any ZIP code that could possibly be considered "the Village" (10002, 10003, 10009, 10011, 10012, 10013 and 10014) with a liquor license that was active between 1/1/2004 and 1/1/2005. I filtered out places with liquor licenses that permitted only wine (based on the photo), or places that were, like, cruise ships. Then I added Street View URLs for easy clickin'.

I couldn't find any places that feel right, but maybe you'll be more successful.


PS: some places that felt like they shared similar DNA include the former Alexandra and Sullivan Bistro.
posted by thejoshu at 5:10 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]

thejoshu, that’s amazing, thank you so much!!
posted by Bromius at 10:49 AM on May 15

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