Thirty Fourth Street is the demarcation line between Manhattan's Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen neighborhoods. I lived on the south side of West 34th, officially Chelsea. On the other side, almost directly across the street from my old place -- a different neighborhood, mind you -- stands an apartment building where Dee Dee Ramone once resided.
433 West 34th also housed a street level restaurant-bar called “Shutters,” the infamous spot where in 1986 fashion model Marla Hanson was attacked; her face carved hideously by two razor wielding assailants. She survived but needed 150 stitches to keep skin on bone. Scumbag landlord (and horrifically, makeup artist) Steve Roth hired the attackers because Hansen spurned his sexual advances. He didn’t like that. Roth stood outside Shutters watching his henchmen pare the skin from her cheekbones, to his satisfaction.
Strange. The doctor who sewed her up would some years later install a titanium pin in my hand after I broke it on a douche-bag's face during a street fight. I figured the doc might be gay because of what he said to me before surgery: He held my hand for a time, looked over my digits silently, intently, lovingly – perhaps to ease my fear and anxiety -- then locking his eyes onto mine, finally said, “long....” Now that’s Modern Medicine!
Shutters' sad association to the Hansen case faded, and so had its intact original decor. The spot remained a time capsule until closing circa 2010. A film location scout's dream: It had a raised dining area fenced-in by wrought iron railings featuring scrolls and rosettes, à la 1970. Imagine a cocktail lounge set behind big plate glass revealing unobstructed views of 34th Street's sidewalk hustle. If you happened to be dining solo, gazing out the window provided entertainment aplenty. Opposite the windows on the back wall stood a piano and sometimes a jazz combo.
The owner was an old gentleman who lived across the street in my building. Occasionally, from his ground floor apartment all the way down in Chelsea, he'd recognize me sitting in his restaurant at a window table, in the company of an attractive Asian woman. He'd graciously trek across the border up to Hell's Kitchen favoring Peipei and I with a few songs on the baby grand.