Another in my Accidental Estes Series above. You can find the name of the place in the image, if you try. And then you can find the location! Good luck.

Breakfast at the Pearl Diner. Here's the Pearl in better days.

From the moment I enter, I am home.

Lots of seating. Practically empty. You take a seat, but not at the counter. There’s a two top; that’ll do. Then three more tables come in. Ah, drat. Now it’ll be busy and it’ll take longer to serve me. Granted, that’s better for the owners, but what about me?

Kidding. One customer asked if they had mocha? No, said, the waitress, with a tone of a slight apology. “Only coffee.”


“But what I can do is shave some chocolate in, stir it up, and add some whipped cream? You’ll love it.”

The waitress, I suspect, was also the owner, or at least the manager. She called everyone hon. She explained to me that they weren’t open after 2:30 any more because they can’t find anyone to work. So they close.

Where are the workers? What are the people who’d be working here do instead?

I had the #1, with sausage. Eggs, toast, home fries. Tabasco, ketchup. A damn fine cup of coffee. Cheap. It was magnificent.

(By the way, I stopped by the next morning, and was greeted like a regular: welcome back, hon! Good to see you again)

Outside now:

What's that at the end of the Diner?

  Ah, will you look at that. The old Faux Flinstone stone. 

After breakfast I headed to the waterfront, the east side of the island. Elevated highway, which cuts off the waterfront from the city.

Down at the east side by Pier 16 or so. Anything seem off here?

The staff was young, and I expect they would have taken an objection about flag ettiquette with patience, then snickered after I left. Imagine caring about things like that. Probably homophobic too.

Consider this collection. Does it all work together? I don't think it does.

On the right, the Continental Center. Forty-one stories of pure undistilled 1983.

120 Wall Street:

It's always seemed a bit lost and forlorn to me, like the unpopular kid who got an invite to a party, showed up, and slowly began to realize it was all a prank. There wasn't a party at all.

It opened in 1930. American Sugar Company was its anchor tenant. Foreclosed and auctioned off in 1933. Sold for a cheap $12 mil in 1980, and turned into a low-rent office building for non profits. It’s now described as an “Art Deco gem.”

If it was in a different part of town, it would be one of the gang. Or if the waterfront had been developed with an eye towards unity, perhaps. But everyone had to sing his own song.

On the right: 11 Wall Street: the renovation cost $860 mil. Or $100 mil. Or half a billion? The stories are all over the map. It was built in 1968, according to one page, and 1966 according to Emporis. Another gift to the city by Emery Roth & Sons. The exterior was the usual black glass with white piers, but now it’s clad in a copperish color, which has the perverse effect of making it look like an older skyscraper, a relic of the Red Glass Period.

Next to it is One Financial Square. Easy to find with an address like that! Guess the era. Right: 1987. It’s the best of the lot. This one’s from Edward Durell Stone’s shop. Ed was dead by then.

On the end, 455 Water Street. A monster. Fifty-three stories. Emporis says that when it opened in 1972, it was the largest office building in the world, and the only building in the USA that has more floor space now is the Sears Tower.

Absolutely unremarkable and unsung now, an absolute dullard. Another fine product of Emery Roth and Sons.

About whom we will have more to say tomorrow.









Rain off and on for most of the day, culminating in the perfect urban setting: mist and fog at twilight.


The Municipal Building. 

It's impressive without being great. The arms spread to welcome the multitudes, but it's not exactly and intimate embrace. The other side looks as if it's turned away. But it has its moments.

It has a wonderfully weathered subway entrance.

The old New York. It's the best.

It is, or was, the New York Times building. There would be three more.

The last survivor of Newspaper Row.




Tomorrow: We really give the Roths the business.




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