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Throwback Thursday: Meet me at Teddy's in TriBeCa

(Credit: Urbanite)

A screen grab from a commercial for Teddy's restaurant in TriBeCa, before it went Mexican, had a Statue of Liberty crown slammed on its roof, and become world famous as an opening shot on "Saturday Night Live." (Video via trainluvr on YouTube)

Teddy's in TriBeCa was for many people merely that strange building topped with a Statue of Liberty crown that became an NYC icon through repeated exposure on the "Saturday Night Live" opening credits.

Well, before Teddy's became a Mexican restaurant, it had many different incarnations. Back in the 1970s, it was one of those old-time Italian joints, with customers streaming in through the nearby Holland Tunnel for a girth-enhancing multi-course meal.

The ad copy in the commercial below, read by a man whose voice was coarsened by a cigarette or two, invited you to visit "the original Teddy's," which is conveniently just "minutes" from the World Trade Center.

"Relax, dine in traditional excellence before you seek the nightlife of New York," he tells us. Of which there wasn't much to find in TriBeCa back then, so perhaps, the ad suggests, you might want to stay at Teddy's and hang out at "The Teddy Bear Lounge," where a pianist would tinkle away the standards.

Sounds like quite a scene.

Teddy's dated back to the 1920s, when Teddy Bartel operated a German restaurant. At one point, it became a swank steakhouse, drawing the likes of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, which means the duo bickered loudly over their T-bones.

Of course, you know how this story ends: Teddy's met its maker in 2004 when the condo craze found its real estate much too tempting to resist.The destruction of the World Trade Center down the street helped seal its fate.

-- Rolando Pujol

More: Check out this Tribeca Trib piece on Teddy's history. And another piece in Wired NY

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