A storied decades-old photo booth needs a new home after the closure of a popular East Village bar.
The photo booth had been sitting inside HiFi Bar at 169 Avenue A for the last five years, but when the bar closed last fall, the owners of the photo booth had to start looking for another home for their "baby."
The 1960s photo booth, originally from Nunley's Carousel and Amusement Park in Baldwin, Long Island, was purchased by East Village antique shops owner Trixie Salke at auction when the park closed down in 1995.
("Nunley's was a fantastic old place, and there was quite the to-do about the sale of its carousel," Salke told News 4 in an email. "Even Billy Joel got involved in the fight to save it because of his great affection for Nunley's.")
The Autophoto Model 14 photo booth, with the somewhat rare Pagoda roof, was brought to the Live Shop Die antique store at 151 Avenue A, then moved to the Lakeside Lounge at 162 Avenue B, according to Salke.
When the Lakeside Lounge closed in 2012, the HiFi Bar took it. The photo booth was so popular there that it even had its own Instagram account, hifi_photobooth. But HiFi, too, has closed.
Salke now wants to see the photo booth in a place where it's appreciated -- "a busy place with lots of people, not necessarily a bar, just someplace where the action is."
"A vintage photo booth is a time machine," says Salke. "Every strip that comes out of it is a little piece of magic, and that's what we're trying to keep alive."
Salke says she would sell the photo booth outright for $10,000. But if her shop retained ownership and stayed on call to service the booth and perform maintenance at another venue, they would share the profits after expenses with their new partner.
"The maintenance is fairly straightforward: film, darkroom chemistry, mechanical adjustments and a little elbow grease!" said Salke.
The vintage photo booth is special because it's a non-digital old-school photographic-process machine -- black and white (not color), with no negatives, and every strip of four photos is unique.
Anyone who is interested in purchasing or leasing the machine can reach Salke at email@example.com.