Before this corner became home to this branch of the swanky Equinox health club a few years ago, it was a movie theater called the Art Greenwich. I remember seeing a film there several years back with someone. I think it may have been a date, but I don’t remember her name. I don’t remember the movie. What I do remember is that near the end of it, the projector jammed and the film burned and melted. I recognized what was happening because I’d seen it depicted in movies before. But I’d never actually seen it happening in front of me. Film on film on film.

The mostly full house sat in silence for several seconds, wondering if this was somehow part of the show. When it was clear that it wasn’t, chatter arose while we waited for someone to come tell us what was going to happen. Nobody did. Some started to leave, including myself and whomever I was with. The lobby was deserted except for exiting patrons – not an employee in sight. My friend and I laughed about it, then went somewhere for dinner.

I’d think about this story perhaps a few times a year, whenever I happened to pass by the theater. Eventually the Art Greenwich closed, the building came down, and another one went up. The first time I passed by the now-open Equinox was in 2002. Hanging in the windows were giant black-and-white photographs of celebrities. The one that caught my eye was an incredibly hot portrait of Chiaki Kuriyama, who plays Go-Go Yubari in Kill Bill Vol. 1. I was in rush to go somewhere and starting to feel like a bit of a pervert for leering at the photo, so I reluctantly pulled myself away. I came back a few weeks later just to look at the photo again, but it was gone. Bummer.

Now when I pass this corner I’m reminded of the photo and the longing to see it again, and only rarely of the burned-out movie and the date whose name I can’t remember. The new building had replaced the old one on this corner, and now it was beginning to replace it in my memories.

Note: before anyone else brings it up, I just wanna say that the photo of Chiaki was not of her in a schoolgirl outfit, OK? Gosh!

(Greenwich Av & 12 St, Manhattan)