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David Bowie’s Studio of Choice, The Magic Shop, Closes Today After 28 Years

Reid Jenkins (violin) on left, Sam Owens (guitar) on right in Control Room. (Photos: Frank Mastropolo)

Reid Jenkins (violin) on left, Sam Owens (guitar) on right in Control Room. (Photos: Frank Mastropolo)

There is nothing on the front of 49 Crosby Street save for a tiny label under a bell that would indicate that inside is one of the most enduring recording studios in New York. The Magic Shop opened in 1988 well before Bloomingdale’s, MoMA and a luxury hotel became its neighbors. The increase in the area’s rental value spelled the end of the studio. Despite the offer of financial help from Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, owner Steve Rosenthal was unable to buy the space from his landlord. While Rosenthal will continue his business of mixing and restoring classic recordings, the Magic Shop will close today.

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How Sweet It Is! Jackie Gleason’s Early Life in Brooklyn

Honeymooners2

On October 1, 1955, The Honeymooners premiered on CBS. The classic 39 episodes of that first and only season would achieve cult status and be rerun for decades. The legendary sitcom starred Bushwick’s favorite son, Jackie Gleason, as bus driver Ralph Kramden. But before he became “The Great One,” Gleason honed his craft in Bushwick’s lodge halls and vaudeville houses.

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Gangster Haunts of the East Village and LES: What Are They Now?

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Photos by Frank Mastropolo

Don’t let the shi shi galleries, bone broth bistros and man-cessory shops fool you. The country’s most violent criminals have lived and plied their trade in the East Village and Lower East Side for more than two centuries.

Of course, a man needs a place to relax after all that mayhem. Here is a current look at some of the most notorious gangsters haunts in the neighborhood, listed chronologically.

Click through the slideshow to see what our favorites look like today, then leave your own in the comments.

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More Great Ghost Signs of the East Village and LES

All photos: Frank Mastropolo.

With the rapid pace of development in the Lower East Side and East Village, it’s remarkable that so many ghost signs – ads that have long outlived their businesses – have survived. As you’ll see, sometimes progress can also reveal long-hidden signs. In January we brought you our Top 10 favorite ghost signs but there are too many good ones left to stop now. Click through the slideshow that follows to see our picks, then leave your own in the comments.

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How Bandit’s Roost Blossomed Into Chinatown’s Columbus Park

"Mulberry Bend" shows Mulberry Street looking north to Bayard Street. (From Jacob A. Riis's "How the Other Half Lives.")

“Mulberry Bend” shows Mulberry Street looking north to Bayard Street. (From Jacob A. Riis’s “How the Other Half Lives.”)

Watching people enjoy mah-jongg in Chinatown’s Columbus Park, it’s hard to imagine the site was a dangerous, decrepit slum in the late 1800s. Photojournalist and social reformer Jacob A. Riis dedicated a chapter in his 1890 book How the Other Half Lives to the squalid conditions in the area then known as Mulberry Bend.

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Tyrus Wong, Visionary Behind Disney’s Bambi, Peeped His Solo Exhibit at MOCA

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b. 1910). <em>Bambi</em>, 1942 Visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Mike Glad. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b. 1910). Bambi, 1942 Visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Mike Glad. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Wong looks at a photo of himself and his wife Ruth taken at their home in Southern California in the 1950s. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Wong looks at a photo of himself and his wife Ruth taken at their home in Southern California in the 1950s. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong, <em>Bambi</em> (visual development), 1942. Watercolor on paper; 10 x 11.5 in. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family, ©Disney. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong, Bambi (visual development), 1942. Watercolor on paper; 10 x 11.5 in. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family, ©Disney. (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Wong with Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of Museum of Chinese in America (far left) and Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President (center). (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Wong with Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of Museum of Chinese in America (far left) and Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President (center). (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b.1910). <em>Bambi</em>, 1942 visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b.1910). Bambi, 1942 visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b.1910). <em>Bambi</em>, 1942 visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

Tyrus Wong (China, b.1910). Bambi, 1942 visual development. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Tyrus Wong Family (Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

If you’ve seen the Disney animated classic Bambi, you’ve experienced the art of Tyrus Wong. An exhibition of his work opened Wednesday night at the Museum of Chinese in America. It’s titled Water to Paper, Paint to Sky: The Art of Tyrus Wong. Wong, who is 104 years old, attended the Chinatown event. We walked with him during his first look at the collection of his life’s work.

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The Zaccaro Sign Has Left the Building

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

While researching our recent story on ghost signs, we were saddened to discover that a Lower East Side classic has disappeared. The façade of 19 Kenmare Street used to boast a 1940s-era sign for two companies still in business: P. Zaccaro Co. Real Estate and J. Eis and Son, an appliance store. Workers have removed the iconic hand-painted ad.
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Top 10 Ghost Signs of the East Village and LES

Photo:

(Photos: Frank Mastropolo)

Though many lament the frenzy of change in New York’s oldest neighborhoods, there are still remnants of the past to see if you’d look up from your smartphone. Ghost signs, advertising signage that has survived long after a business has gone bust, are still around… but are disappearing fast.

Click through the slideshow to see our favorites, then leave your own in the comments.
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Marky Ramone On Life as a Ramone in the E. Village: ‘Everybody Was Psychedelized’

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

(Photo: Frank Mastropolo)

No band is more identified with the East Village than the Ramones. The band’s performances at Hilly Kristal’s CBGB and other neighborhood venues defined punk rock forever. In 2003, the corner of the Bowery and Second Street near CBGB was officially named Joey Ramone Place. Over time, members of the group lived, drank and hung out in the East Village.
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