My city was gone

A really fresh-feeling vintage photography show at the main library includes a wall with images by Sy Rubin of 14th Street in the 1970s, when it had a May department store and the Palladium and a generally much seedier character. That was all before my time in New York, but I had the same reaction to those shots as I did to the Eater news that the BBQ place on Eighth Street is becoming — what else? — a bank. Nothing lasts here. But if you’re lucky, you get your moment to remember, and ours was hearing Alberta Hunter sing in that space when it was the Cookery, way back in the early Eighties. She was amazing, having made a comeback in her own early 80s after a second career as a nurse, and standing there with earrings down to her proud shoulders she was belting lyrics that might be too hot for Amy Winehouse to handle. She’s gone, the Cookery’s long gone and now more ATMs and surly tellers are on the way. At least it’s not another Duane Reade or nail salon. Or what helped mallify 14th Street and is now wiping out any hint that Mikell’s ever existed on Columbus: a Middle American Holy Foods.