There are always surprises to be found on the side streets and this was another terrific one for me when I opened the old stable door and entered this gallery. I have always had a great appreciation for the original vintage lithographic advertising posters that Chisholm has hanging on its walls. Gail Chisholm explained that her interest in these 1920-1960 pieces of art grew out of her flirtation with collecting antiques when she was younger. Little by little she made purchases of posters until it began to take over everything else and the realization hit that she was to become a dealer. In 1975, Gail opened her first gallery in the Village and her passion has not waned. She is involved in every purchase as she tries hard to break away from the obvious and come up with the more unusual in graphics. “I have developed a following and it makes for nice relationships," she told me. Her clientele is mostly individual collectors who purchase for the pleasure of living with something they fall in love with, but there are also the corporations and restaurants who appreciate Gail’s taste for their walls too. When I asked Gail how she found being on a side street, she quickly responded that she is thrilled to be here. She prefers the less frequent, yet more serious customer to the high volume of street traffic that she had experienced years ago. “Yes, this is a slower-paced business than I once had, but it allows me to spend more time with each customer, and this seems to be a winning formula.”
In keeping with the original nautical theme from the 1960′s, each room in the hotel has a porthole window and is decorated with teak wood. In 2014, the hotel’s restaurant La Bottega closed to make room for La Sirena by Mario Batali. The Cabanas, open in the spring and summer, is on the rooftop and offers a welcome reprieve from the city streets when the weather permits.
No matter what time of day we have stopped by Grey Dog, the restaurant is pulsing, but in a quiet, relaxed sort of way. Despite the lines to order food from the menu on the chalkboard and the crowded tables, everyone is calm and content. Apparently, this has been the vibe since two brothers opened their first restaurant back in 1996 on Carmine Street. Today they have expanded to four different locations, each one incredibly successful. The formula seems to be quite simple – a chill atmosphere, easy-going but efficient staff, a menu that covers all of the basics with a bit of a flair, hefty portions and, most importantly, everything tastes great. Beginning early in the morning, there are pancakes, French toast, eggs, homemade granola and coffee being served. As the day progresses, lots of sandwiches, salads and other creative dishes are available for lunch and dinner. Without a doubt, if I lived nearby, I would also become a regular.
Trendy and filled with beautiful people, the Dream Hotel has created quite an aura around it. Sitting in the lobby is certainly entertaining at any hour of the day, but in the evening the action really kicks in. There is a DJ in the lounge area right off the lobby and not far from the entrance is Bodega Negra, with a Mexican menu. Also attached to the hotel is a restaurant called Fishbowl, with a 5000 gallon fish tank behind the bar. On the rooftop, the PHD Club tends to play top 40's music, and downstairs is the Electric Room, which is described as a rock club.
I learned of Agnes B's clothing while in college and studying abroad back in the '70's. Somehow, even then, I knew to appreciate her simple French designs for women. It wasn't until I was much older, however, that I was able to purchase a few of her pieces for myself, and I truly treasure them. It seems that many of Agnes B's stores are closing around the country, but here's to hoping that she can continue here in New York.