New York Noir: Remembering The High Anxiety Art Of George Tooker


editorial_tooker-articleLargeThere’s not a trace of funny, Mel Brooksian anxiety in the works of George Tooker but few 20th century painters captured the alienation  of modern city life better than Tooker.

“These are powerful pictures that will stay in the public consciousness. Everyone can say, ‘Yes, I’ve been in that facelessimage situation,’ even if it’s just standing in line waiting to apply for a driver’s license.”–Thomas Garver

Via NY Times obit

George Tooker: 1920-2011

“George Tooker, a painter whose haunting images of trapped clerical workers and forbidding government offices expressed a peculiarly 20th-century brand of anxiety and alienation, died on Sunday (March 27, 2011)  at his home in Hartland, Vt. He was 90.

Related in Opinion

 »The cause was complications of kidney failure, Edward De Luca, director of the D C Moore Gallery in Manhattan, said.

Mr. Tooker, often called a 000090a0_medium 000090a3_medium 0000909f_medium 000090ab_medium 000090ae_mediumsymbolic, or magic, realist, worked well outside the critical mainstream for much of his career, relegated to the margins by the rise of abstraction. As doctrinaire modernism loosened its hold in the 1980s, however, he was rediscovered by a younger generation of artists, critics and curators, who embraced him as one of the most distinctive and mysterious American painters of the 20th century.”–NY Times


Foiled Again: Sandy Slices Facade From NY Apt Building Revealing Cheap Hotel

“Getting a room” collapse1n-2-web collapse1n-3-webin New York can be expensive for tourists but lucrative for landlords who snidely-whiplash-by-nightrpstar-ccillegally  rent furnished digs by the night instead of monthly as prescribed by NYC’s tough rent laws. After Sandy ripped the facade from the front of a small downtown apartment building, the eerie dollhouse perspective of these then- viral photos revealed strangely similar decor in all the units and very small rooms even by New York standards. Now we know why. The joint

The Meat Packing District 'Hotel' Before Sandy

The Meat Packing District ‘Hotel’ Before Sandy

was an illegal hotel for European tourists and the landlord owed over $30,000 in 2011/2012  fines for

Building After Damage

Building After Damage

doing work without permits.

After the collapse, the city cited the property owner, 92 8th Avenue Realty, LLC, for a “failure to maintain building walls”.


Vacate Order From The City

The Conrad Hilton wannabe collapse1n-7-copylandlord used to market his cut-rate accommodations. Hopefully at their other locales “they’ll leave the walls on for ya”…

A ‘Lousiest Landlord’ Crime Classic: The Double Life Of A Ludlow Street Landlord: New York Magazine, 1999



Snidley Whiplash, Jay Ward Cartoon

Mark Glass was sentenced to 7 years in the slammer after being busted by NYPD’s finest for plotting to evict two tenants the old fashioned way–by murdering them. Luckily, he was inept and there were no victims of the landlord’s strange and oddly comical criminal plots (think Inspector Clouseau with buildings). The sting orchestrated by undercover detectives was masterful and worthy of TV. Glass admitted his guilt and took a plea. He kept his 20 buildings and The Lower East Side is now Hipster Heaven and Ludlow is both the name of a street and J.Crew’s newest men’s emporium in Tribeca and Boston. –Landordrocknyc


The Double Life of a Ludlow Street Landlord

“Crawford came back from staying at a girlfriend’s to find that his apartment had been burglarized, his mattress thrown on the street — and the locks changed. “What burglar takes the time to change the locks on the way out of an apartment?” she says. “It was so obviously the landlord.” NY Magazine, 1999

“…They came for Mark Glass at 9 a.m. on Erev Rosh Hashanah, the eve of one of the holiest days of the Jewish year. It was October 1, a warm, windy autumn day — rent day — and a stream of tenants was already buzzing at the door of Glass’s tiny storefront real-estate office at 159 Ludlow on the Lower East Side. Except for the early holiday closing — Glass, a devout Orthodox Jew, had to get home before sundown — it was no different from any other first-of-the-month.

Detectives Kennedy and Bush from the NYPD Robbery Squad seemed miffed that Glass wasn’t at work yet. His office manager, Jana Eitel, a plump, streetwise Byelorussian émigré who speaks six languages, each with the same accent, tried to joke with them as she dialed her boss on his cell phone — “Are you both ex-presidents?” — but the cops weren’t amused, and Glass did not pick up. Instead, they had a question for her: “Did you know a tenant named Brigitte Marx?”

“Of course,” she said. Ever since the paper store Eitel had worked for down the block closed five years ago, she’d managed all fifteen of Uses Realty’s properties, mostly clustered on Ludlow and Clinton Streets. She knew all the tenants — which ones were troublemakers, which ones always paid their rent on time. Word had filtered through Ludlow Street that Marx had been killed, but there were no details. “Terrible thing,” she sighed, cracking open her first pack of Virginia Slims for the day. “Brigitte was a good girl. Do you know what happened?” The cops were fuzzy. All they seemed to know was that Marx had been beaten and murdered somewhere uptown. They needed to get into the apartment. Could she have Mr. Glass call them when he got in?snidely whiplash

A little after eleven, Mark Glass, an athletic 44-year-old with wire-frame glasses and a trim, graying beard, pulled up to the office in his battered cobalt-blue ’72 Skylark, a $300 jalopy that was his pride and joy. His holiday davening at the Manhattan Beach Jewish Center had taken him a little longer than expected, and he was running late. Eitel told him the cops wanted him over at 42 Clinton. Glass slapped a Yankees cap over his yarmulke and ran out the door.

The cops were already outside when Glass arrived with his maintenance man. Glass led them up the crumbling stairs to the third floor, through a dimly lit corridor decorated with an old Jean-Luc Godard poster, to apartment 13. The cops had clearly already been there; yellow crime-scene tape zigzagged across the door. Glass fumbled for the keys and opened the apartment. Marx had meticulously renovated the tenement, skim-coating the walls and refinishing the floors. “Do you mind if I use the phone?” asked one of the cops. “It’s not mine,” said Glass, “but I don’t see why not.” The cop made his call and then walked over to the landlord. “Mr. Glass, I’m sorry, but I have some bad news,” he said. “You’re gonna have to come with us for some questioning in connection with the death of Brigitte Marx.” And then the cop unhitched his handcuffs.

In fact, Brigitte Marx was not dead. At that moment, she was in a luxury hotel uptown, courtesy of the NYPD. Just days before Glass’s arrest, the cops had recorded him on audiotape allegedly paying a hit man the final installment on a contract to kill her and her next-door neighbor. According to the Manhattan district attorney, Glass had first hired the hit man to burn Marx, a 37-year-old German freelance graphic designer, and her next-door neighbor, Bernell Crawford, an unemployed black waiter in his mid-thirties, out of their apartments; when that failed, he had taken out a contract to execute them with a lethal overdose of heroin. The hit man was part of an elaborate NYPD sting — but Glass didn’t know that yet…” NY Magazine, 1999

Dudley Do Right, The Movie (1999), with a glam-less Sarah Jessica Parker as the damsel in distress: (VIDEO):

Class Act: Louis C.K.’s Email To Fans Before SNL Appearance

…”Its pretty impossible to describe walking through these city streets in total darkness. It can’t even be called a trip through time

, because as long as new york has lived, its been lit.

Columbus Circle, NYC 1915

By electricity, gas lamps, candlelight, kerosene. But this was pitch black, street after street, corner round corner. And for me, the village being the very place that made me into a comedian and a man, to walk through the heart of it and feel like, in a way, it was dead. I can’t tell you how that felt. And you also had a palpable sense that inside each dark window was a family or a student or an artist or an old woman living alone, just being int he dark and waiting for the day to come back. Like we were all having one big sleep over, but not so much fun as that.”–Louis C.K.’s Email to Fans Saturday Night

Brooklyn 1910

How lucky we are that Louis C. K. was  scheduled  to host Saturday Night Live (I predict another Emmy for him) and wrote about it waiting to go on.  Attention rookie corporate bloggers who Instragram snaps of their food and marshmallow toastings when millions are without, here’s how it’s done. Please read to see what class looks like. Sometimes it’s about a  chubby guy in a black tee shirt, not a $1500 shoe.