Gary Alexander Azerier      

Gary Alexander Azerier © All rights reserved.

      Gary Alexander Azerier


Shades and Other Short Pieces
Sometime ago there was a wonderful place just south of Bleecker Street on Sixth Avenue in New York's Greenwich Village called Welcome to New York. It was wonderful because it housed thousands of old photographs, maps, pieces of memorabilia, and assorted tidbits having to do with a New York City long gone. You could spend an entire afternoon rummaging through the many shelves and bins in this emporium until your feet ached and you needed to visit a restroom. But the very dust in the place was wonderful.

I don't think I'd ever emerged from a visit to this dark little shop without bags of things, envelopes of photographs, books, postcards, and odd maps of people, places, and institutions that no longer existed. I had always overspent far beyond what I had intended, often pointlessly, and my fingers were filthy as a result of handling the hundred-plus-year-old merchandise. The treasures to be discovered, uncovered, and buried in this shop's cabinets and on her tables were endless and unknown until excavated.

It was a joy to get home with these parcels and unload the lot, the likes of which, despite the ripe age of any item, probably had not been seen by too many people aside from a few inveterate collectors of New Yorkiana! There were rare postcards, photos, cartoons, and linens of Coney Island and her Steeplechase, eight-by-tens of the 1939 World's Fair, the last good time before World War II, glossies of the crowds at Yankee Stadium in its heyday, as well as original shots of bygone city eateries, hotels, buildings, and streets — all from a forgotten era. Much of the material spoke of products vanished as well as the advertisements boasting of those miracle items no longer extant. And, of course, there were the trinkets: buttons, badges, pins, and assorted souvenirs. And on a rare day you found something even rarer, more arcane, more of an esoteric surprise than you anticipated. This was one such day.Sometime ago there was a wonderful place just south of Bleecker Street on Sixth Avenue in New York's Greenwich Village called Welcome to New York. It was wonderful because it housed thousands of old photographs, maps, pieces of memorabilia, and assorted tidbits having to do with a New York City long gone. You could spend an entire afternoon rummaging through the many shelves and bins in this emporium until your feet ached and you needed to visit a restroom. But the very dust in the place was wonderful.

I don't think I'd ever emerged from a visit to this dark little shop without bags of things, envelopes of photographs, books, postcards, and odd maps of people, places, and institutions that no longer existed. I had always overspent far beyond what I had intended, often pointlessly, and my fingers were filthy as a result of handling the hundred-plus-year-old merchandise. The treasures to be discovered, uncovered, and buried in this shop's cabinets and on her tables were endless and unknown until excavated.

It was a joy to get home with these parcels and unload the lot, the likes of which, despite the ripe age of any item, probably had not been seen by too many people aside from a few inveterate collectors of New Yorkiana! There were rare postcards, photos, cartoons, and linens of Coney Island and her Steeplechase, eight-by-tens of the 1939 World's Fair, the last good time before World War II, glossies of the crowds at Yankee Stadium in its heyday, as well as original shots of bygone city eateries, hotels, buildings, and streets — all from a forgotten era. Much of the material spoke of products vanished as well as the advertisements boasting of those miracle items no longer extant. And, of course, there were the trinkets: buttons, badges, pins, and assorted souvenirs. And on a rare day you found something even rarer, more arcane, more of an esoteric surprise than you anticipated. This was one such day.