The Cannibal

New York magazine’s annual “Best of New York” came out last week and one entry intrigued me and this was it: "Best Hot Dog." I’ve never seen that in a “Best of New York” issue. I love hot dogs, so I have to check this out. The Cannibal is nearby where I live, so let’s hoof it on over and see if we agree with this judgement call by New York Magazine. And yeah, it’s a great excuse to go out and get a hot dog and a beer!

It's nice out tonight, I'm so glad winter is over, even though it wasn't much of a winter.

There's the Empire State Building all lit up. I think I'm finally going to face my fear of heights and go there next week, stay tuned for that!

And here we are at The Cannibal, let's go check it out.

Here's the front room, which features a large beer selection. Right after I took this photo, this gentlemen approached me and asked if I was Marty...

I told him I was and asked how he knew me. It turns out he's an EV Grieve reader named Ben and found out about this blog through my comments over there! It's a small internet world out there!

AS you can see, there's a huge selection of beer to be had in here. You can get it to go...

Or you can drink them at the bar. I chose the latter.

I wasn't sure what kind of beer to order, I'm always at a loss when there's no Budweiser, so I had bartender Cory choose for me and he did an excellent job. The beer was great, so I had another!

Free peanuts almonds on the bar!

Here's a shot of the bar from the other side.

The Cannibal really lives up to its name, in the back there's a butcher shop.

Here's some of the fresh meats on display. They need to put out some fave beans and a nice Chianti to truly live up to their name!

There's a nice beer garden in the back, with picnic style wooden tables.

And when I got back to the bar the Cannibal Dogs were waiting for me! They look great, let's see if they live up to New York Magazine's claim as the best hot dog in New York City.

Wow, between the homemade chili, mustard and onions, there's a whole symphony of flavors going on and it's all packed inside a bakery fresh bun. I have to agree with New York Magazine, best hot dog around town!

Not quite ready for the clean plate club, but close! See you tomorrow!

The Cannibal
113 E. 29th St. (Near Park Ave.)

Further Reading: EaterNY, New York Magazine and Village Voice.

I live and breathe for you,
But what good does it do,
If I ain't got you, ain't got you?

Surprise link, click on it...I dare you!


Bonus Cardboard Box Man Mutation Massacre!

TWM commenter, csp found this frightening CBBM news photo online. Hide your children, no one is safe! Aaaahhhh!!


Kings Highway Cinema

Okay, the origins of this trip started back on December 9th, 2011. That’s when I saw a link on the fine blog, One More Folded Sunset about the last porn theater in Brooklyn, The Kings Highway Cinema. From what I read in addition to straight and gay porn in two of the smaller theaters, it also shows classic movies in the larger 200 seat theater. This allows them to stay open, since 60% of their theater is devoted to “mainstream” entertainment, they can show porn in the two smaller theaters. The place intrigued me and One More Folded Sunset suggested I go out there. This theater has some history behind it. It originally opened up as The Jewel Theater in 1937 and one of the patrons enjoying foreign films back in the day was none other than a young Woody Allen.

After a fire in the 1960’s the movie theater went from foreign to porn and it’s been that way ever since.
Porn theaters are a dying breed, so today I’m going out to document the last one in Brooklyn. I have to admit I’m a little nervous, I’m sure cameras aren’t welcome there, so this is going to be an undercover mission. One More Folded Sunset warned me it might be a bit too daunting of a task to undertake and that was just the challenge I needed to get me obsessed over going there and doing a post on it. I took it as a well-meaning challenge. Hopefully I won’t get thrown out before I get some photos, but we’ll see soon!

Okay, time to hit the road. It’s sunny and warm out today, I’m always glad when January and February are over, they’re the two most depressing months of the year for me.

Downward into the subway we go into the depths of the subway.

After about a five minute wait, the Q train finally shows up. All aboard!

And after many stops, the train's next stop is King’s Highway in Brooklyn.

Okay, we’re here on King’s Highway. It’s funny, I thought it would be an actual highway and thought it might be difficult to get there on foot, it appears to be a main street in this part of Brooklyn. I’m learning so much as I venture out of Manhattan!

It’s quite a hike to the theater. The first store I saw that had a street sign was 1154 and the theater is located at 711 Kings Highway.

No, not that 7-Eleven Kings Highway!

I love some of the old school signs and stores out here.

And here it is, in all it’s shabby, run-down glory, The Kings Highway Cinema!

This is the other side of the sign, but there’s no information on movies playing here on it.

It looks like it might be closed. I swear to god if this is the case, I’ll go nuts for not having gone earlier. I’ll be crippled with obsessing over how I missed going to the last porn theater in Brooklyn. Let’s see what the sign says on the window.

Box office inside, okay, looks like we might be in business after all!

So it's through the doors we go!

Alright, I went inside and there was a guy behind a pane of glass reading a newspaper. He was an older, Spanish guy and I stood there in front of a turnstile a good minute before I finally said, “How much is it to get in?”

Slowly, as if in a Valium haze, he  looked up from his paper and slowly said, “Twelve dollars.”

I gave him a twenty, got my eight bucks change and went through the turnstile. I walked into the lobby of the theater and it was cast in a magenta hue, the lights were red in there. After adjusting my eyes I saw a soft drink vending machine against the far wood-paneled wall and to my left were video games. Standing separately in different corners of the room were three men. Two of them I glanced at and the third one kind of freaked me out. He was tall, medium build and had a shiny bald head. One thing I noticed is that he was glaring at me. Our eyes met and locked for about four seconds and it really creeped me out.

I looked the other way and saw a black door marked XXX to my left, next to the video games.
I went over opened it up and it was a tiny screening room with about 15 movie theater seats in it. I slowly walked into the darkness and saw about six middle-aged and older men sitting in various seats in the back. One guy who was in his middle or late 60’s with long gray hair that was done up in the same style as when Nick Nolte got busted for falling asleep at the wheel shot a toothy grin my way. I wanted to run out of there, but I thought this might be the only place to get a photo and document my time in there. I turned away from the men in back and looked forward and it was then I noticed the smell in the room. It smelled like a combination of 99 cent store aftershave, Lysol and a grandfather who hadn’t showered in a few weeks.

I took a seat in the second row where no one was seated and fished my camera out of the pocket of my jacket. I made sure the flash was off and pointed it at the screen and took a photo.

Here’s the first shot I got of the screen in front of me.

After took the photo, I first got a glimpse of the film playing in here.
It was blonde woman in a pair of white panties masturbating. Elvis would’ve loved fact the Weekly World News claims he’s still alive, so maybe he was in the room! I also noticed there was no sound. Only one word can describe sitting in a dark room watching silent porn with about a half a dozen pervy senior citizens seated behind me: Skeevy! Skeevy to the nth degree. Skeevy squared. Skeevy Wonder. Okay, I’ll stop.

I held my camera up to get another shot and then I looked over and who’s in the far corner of the little theater room but the bald creepy guy. He was staring at me and I quickly put the camera back in my pocket. I walked to the lobby and he followed me out there. I felt like leaving, but wanted to get more photos. I saw some steps to my left and went down them. Baldy didn’t follow me.

I got down and the room had theater seats around the walls, I took a photo, but the room was dark and my flash was off, so it turned out like shit. I spun around and saw there was a TV set on the ground.

I took this photo and then heard someone coming down the stairs, I put my camera in my jacket and expected it to be Baldy, but to my surprise, it wasn’t.

It was some fat guy who looked mildly retarded, kind of like Junior Samples from Hee Haw.
I only looked at him for a second and then stared at the TV and hoped he’d go away. He didn’t. He came over and stood right next to me. I continued to stare at the TV which appeared to be tuned to a Spanish station and the sound was off on it too, this was too much. I had to get out of there. It was starting to feel like a third-rate Quentin Tarantino movie and I wanted leave there the gimp came out! I walked up the stairs and who’s at the top but Baldy. And he’s got his arms outstretched on either side of the wall so I can’t get around him.

When I get nervous I sweat like crazy, I always liken it to Albert Brooks in Broadcast News. So I’m at the top of the stairs and Baldy’s blocking it and sweat is rolling down my face. My stomach is in knots.

“What are you doing in this place?” He asked training his beady eyes on mine.

“Nothing,” I said, “I’m just trying to get out of here.”

He didn’t move.

“Are you some kind of investigator or something?” He asked, I noticed he kind of sounded like Clint Eastwood but squeakier and a little more high pitched. His voice was just as creepy as the rest of him.

“No, I had read about this place and was just curious,” I answered back, wiping the sweat off my brow.

He stared at me and I just stared back. After a minute or so of playing stare-down, he moved to the side and I walked past him and towards the front door.

“Hey,” he barked out as I was just about to open the door.

I looked back towards him and he said, “Don’t come back here.”

Without answering I shot out the door and headed back down Kings Highway towards the subway station, looking over my shoulder every now and again to make sure he wasn’t following me.

As I got on the Q train back to Manhattan I checked my photos and was proud that I had gotten them, even if they aren’t the best quality. If the place closes next week, I’ve got inside shots of the last porno theater in Brooklyn.

I went home and took 12 showers and drank six beers...or did I take six showers and drink 12 beers?
Well, whatever, I was far away from Skeevyville and glad to be done with this mission! And the little obsessive man in my head is glad that I got to document and show some scenes from the last porno theater in Brooklyn.

Kings Highway Cinema
711 Kings Highway
Brooklyn, NY

Further Reading: The Research Buff, Cinema Treasures and
Sheepshead Bites.

Oh, I await the day,
Good fortune comes our way,
And we ride down the Kings Highway.

Surprise link, click on it...I dare you!



Once in a while I go and look at the bar list over at my blog, A Guy Walks Into 365 Bars. The other night I went and looked at posts of three bars that meant a lot to me and are now closed. The three bars are: The P&G, The Stoned Crow and Mars Bar. I thought I’d post some photos of those places that I took for 365 Bars and go out and see what they look like tonight. It’ll be kind of like looking at ghosts.

The original iconic P&G neon sign. This sign was like a beacon on the Upper West Side on the corner of Amsterdam and 73rd for 66 years. It had been featured in the movie Donnie Brasco and in an episode of Seinfeld.

Needless to say, it was a little disappointing to see this plastic sign hanging at the new P&G, a few blocks away from the original location on Columbus, when I went back to the new location on the bar crawl.

It was great to see Steve Chahalis again, he’s a fourth generation owner/bartender at P&G. I wasn’t sure if he’d remember me, but sure as shit on a red-hot shingle, as soon as he saw me he bellowed out, “Where the hell have you been!” It felt like old times.

Steve took me to the back room and showed me the mirror from the back of the original bar and the wooden railing from the bar itself. It lined the wall in the room.

As I looked at it I wondered how many hours I had spent with my elbows on top of it. I was happy for Steve and hoped he would make a go of it. I knew the odds were against it.

Here's where the original P&G once stood on the corner of 73rd and Amsterdam on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. A sidewalk shed hides the spot where the iconic neon sign once blazed.

It's now a fancy bakery/wine place. Ugh.

And here's the site of the second P&G bar. It sits vacant over a year since they closed in this location.

This sign fills me with dread thinking what will come in here next. A chain store? A cupcake shop? Another buck a slice pizza place?

Here’s a shot of the Stoned Crow from the bar crawl. It was a basement bar and a great place to hang out.

The bar had two rooms. The front was the large wooden bar with colorful pictures and posters hanging on the wall behind it.

There’s pool tables and more photos and art hanging on the walls in the large back room.

And speaking of photos, the bathrooms were filled with them and if you wanted a copy of one, all you had to do was ask the owner Betty.

Speaking of Betty, here she is the night she told me the news that they were going to close on New Year’s Eve of 2010. I snapped the photo before she told me. It’s the last time I saw her smile.

This is the bar on New Year’s Eve, early in the evening. The mood was grim and kind of felt like you were at a wake. Maybe it got better as the night wore on, but I had a couple beers and left. A sad evening.

A final goodbye obligatory-mirror shot in the bathroom before I left The Stoned Crow for the last time.

And two years later, the space is still empty. Memories and ghosts are all that's left of the Stoned Crow.

Everybody always asks me what my favorite bar on the bar crawl was and I never hesitate to tell them: “Easter Sunday at Mars Bar!”

Everybody was drawing on a mannequin that day, so I joined in after Terry let me borrow a marker.

I always loved that there was a Marty sticker on the cash register in there!

Nothing says, “Happy Easter” like the crowd at the Mars Bar.

After a few hours of drinking, I decided we needed an Easter Dinner at Mars Bar. I ordered in a couple pizzas from Two Boots and everybody was appreciative and sent several drinks my way. I don’t remember going home, but it was the best Easter Sunday and the best time I had on the whole bar crawl.

The following year I was doing my Marty After Dark blog and wanted to do something special on Easter Sunday that year at Mars. They were having a barbecue outside the bar, so I thought I’d bring dessert. I got a cake and decorated it and ended up with the infamous “Jesus Fucking Christ” cake. It was a big hit at the bar.

Several hours and a lot of drinks later, Goggla, Ed and I were at the bar and we noticed the cake was melting. I stuck a chicken wing in it and it started what I like to think of as a combination performance art/sculpture. It was mainly Goggla, Ed and I that worked on the cake, but others joined in and I thought it was a great way to end another Easter Sunday at Mars Bar. I wonder where I’ll go this year?

July 17th, 2011. Little did we know that this would be our last moment at Mars Bar.

Today a sidewalk shed covers the construction work as a condominium grows where Mars Bar once stood.

All that remains is a portion of a piece of art that Mike Grey did featuring Mars Bar owner Hank Penza. To see the entire piece of art, check out this post at EV Grieve.

The P&G was my first hangout when I moved to New York City in the summer of 1993. The joint was split into two rooms. The bar was in the front room and there were booths and a jukebox in the back of the bar. I walked in there on a hot Saturday afternoon in July and sat at the bar and was eyed suspiciously by the inhabitants already there who were downing their drinks, smoking and eating potato chips out of 25 cent bags sold behind the bar. After drinking about half of a beer, a middle-aged guy sitting next to me with greasy hair and a pock-marked face accentuated by a gin blossom nose asked me if I lived in the neighborhood. I told him I had just moved to New York from Peoria, Illinois and that I lived a couple blocks away. That brought some curious sideways glances from some of the colorful patrons at the bar and I rightly assumed they were all regulars. Having spent a copious amount of time in bars since I was first served a beer when I was 16-years-old, I knew what I had to do.

“Hey bartender,” I shouted out, “since I’m the new guy here, I’d like to buy a round for the bar, please!”

The drinks weren’t even served and I had already made a bar full of new friends. I became a regular after that and spent countless hours drinking beer and shooting the shit at the P&G. Four years later in 1997 I moved downtown to 16th street. I found a new hangout closer to my apartment there, and like so many fickle New Yorkers, I kind of forgot about the P&G as I settled into the Stoned Crow, my new “local.”

About a year later, I found myself up in my old neighborhood, the Upper West Side.
I was meeting friends at a restaurant and was early as usual. I decided to stop in at the P&G and have a beer. Steve, the owner’s son and a veteran bartender in there did a double take when I walked in and sat at the bar.

“Where you been,” he asked opening up a beer for me, “I haven’t seen you in a few weeks!”

We both laughed when I told him it had been well over a year!

Time stands still in a joint like the P&G. And the clock literally stops when the greedy landlord throws you out, hoping to bring in a chain or artisanal bakery that can afford three times the rent.
When I was doing the 365 Bar Crawl, I didn’t have the luxury of having a “regular” bar for a year. I had to go to a different bar every night, so I kind of abandoned my usual bar, The Stoned Crow. On December 19th, 2010, I was getting close to the end of my journey of bars. My friend, Gene Rubbico of the BBC was in town and we went to the Amity Hall for Cheeseburger Saturday Night and the 343rd stop of the crawl. After dinner and drinks, Gene and I were wandering around and all of a sudden we realized we were a block away from the Stoned Crow. I hadn’t been to my regular bar since the previous April, when it was my 84th night of my year of bar crawling.

We stopped in, walked down to the familiar basement bar and I said hi to Josh the bartender. I apologized for being away for so long, but told him after the bar crawl was over on January 10th, I’d be back to being a weekly regular. He gave me a funny look and said, “Betty’s in the back office, why don’t you go say hi to her.”

Then he quickly shuffled away from me with a sour look on his face. He was usually a real friendly guy. I got a bad feeling in my stomach and wondered what was going on. Betty was the owner and while I was happy to say hi to her, I found it odd that he told me to go back and see her. Something felt wrong.

I went back to the office and found Betty at her desk and said hi. She smiled, said hi and asked how the bar crawl was going. I told her it was almost over and that after the new year I’d be a regular again.

The smile on her face quickly faded away. She looked pained as told me that was closing the bar and that New Year’s Eve would be the last night The Stoned Crow would be open. Her lease was up and the landlord wanted to triple the rent and she told me there was no way she could stay in business paying rent that high.

My jaw proceeded to hit the ground. I felt like someone hit me in the back of my head with large bag of wet sand. I asked her if she was going to be alright.

“I don’t know,” she said, unsuccessfully trying to hold back tears.

After an awkward silence I told her I was so sorry. It was one of those rare moments when even a motormouth like me is silenced by sadness. We hugged and said goodbye to each other.

I spent a grim hour in there that New Year’s Eve early in the evening and went home feeling depressed and I just wanted to sit at home and drink nine million beers and forget about everything. So that’s what I did.

I hope Betty’s doing okay these days. Fucking landlords.

On July 17th, 2011, I met some friends at the Mars Bar, the bar that was my favorite stop of all the bars I had visited on the 365 Bar Crawl. We were meeting for drinks before one of the legendary Chillmaster Dance Parties. The Mars Bar was going to be closing and then torn down as condominiums were scheduled to start building on that corner. Everyone was sick about the news and no one knew when the fateful last day would be. There was constant rumors and I kept running back on what I had heard was going to be the last day to have a final drink at Mars, only to find out that, miraculously, it was still open the next day. This went on for weeks and I think everyone fell under the false illusion that maybe it would never close.

We were all talking about when the last day of Mars might be that day at the bar. I said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if today was the last day?

The next day I woke up with a blistering hangover and found out Mars Bar was closed—for good.
The DOH had shuttered it that morning after finding 850 fruit flies in the joint. So it turns out we were in there on the last day. In retrospect, it wasn’t really that funny at all.

Further Reading: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, Ultraclay Dot Com and Gog in NYC.

Long ago, it must be, I have a photograph,
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you.

Surprise link, click on it...I dare you!