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They're all Duane Reades now.
January 15, 2014 1:33 PM   Subscribe

"For those of us who have lived in New York for a long time, perusing the list was not unlike looking through a high school yearbook, only finding out that practically everyone had died."
posted by griphus (212 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
*candle in the wind begins to play*

Seriously, with the exception of Arelene's Grocery and Joe's Pub, every single venue I used to perform in is gone* and I was doing four shows a week at four different places some months.


*or altered to the point of being a new place, looking at you Slipper Room.
posted by The Whelk at 1:37 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


On the upside, The Lion King is still on Broadway.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:38 PM on January 15 [8 favorites]


Jesus Christ. Last time I was in Brooklyn I was griping that it was just Manhattan with beards. Turns out the East Village is now Celebration, Florida.

I was just talking about being 18 and getting Midori sours delivered by drag queen waitresses at Stingy Lulu's last weekend ...
posted by Diablevert at 1:42 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


My god, Bleecker Bob’s is gone? I mean, that's not on the level of the Gotham Book Mart in terms of cultural clout, but still. (And I still miss Tin Pan Alley...)
posted by languagehat at 1:43 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


.

This is terrible. And this is just one city. It's happening nationwide, albeit for different reasons in different cities. And I'm going to shut up now before I go full Kunstler.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:43 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]


I love the title of the post. Leave me in the slightly confused camp of looking for a happy balance between gentrification and neglect. If we didn't grow and change, we would still be living the life of the Gangs of New York. Heck there are places that I think are still open that have morphed or should have closed.

* Btw, one of my favorite albums is Mary Lee Corvette doing Blood on the Tracks at Arlene's Grocery.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:45 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Holy shit. I haven't lived in New York for like 6 years and I can't believe some of the places that are gone. Colony records? The Village Chess Shop? H&H? H&H?

Though I'm probably most sad about A Clean, Well-Lighted Place. I know that family. It's so sad.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:47 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Turns out the East Village is now Celebration, Florida.

Chelsea is Celebration, Florida. The East Village is a Long Island college town in the motions of a permanent cargo cult ritual for a culture they neither remember nor understand.
posted by griphus at 1:48 PM on January 15 [27 favorites]


There was a hair salon on W12th street that I loved which lost its lease due to the landlord increasing the rent by something ridiculous like 2 or 3x the current rent. It was therefore so unbearably fucking satisfying to me and a number of my local friends to see that space standing vacant for over 3 years after the salon relocated. Every time I walked by I laughed a victorious Nelson HA-HA bray thinking of all the money the landlord was losing.

Now it is a nice little restaurant and I do not wish them ill in any way, although I do wonder what their rent is and I absolutely wonder how many people have gone in specifically to ask that question.
posted by elizardbits at 1:48 PM on January 15


That must be... very weird, speaking as someone who is not a New Yorker but has rolled eyes repeatedly at people from my area who wanted to go there, evidently to live in a version of the city that hasn't existed for a good twenty years or more. But yeah, it's so not just there. My hometown never got a coffee shop off the ground. The hardware store has been replaced by a place with a big sign that says CHEAP TOBACCO. The little Italian place I liked shut down and has been replaced by a more expensive version of itself.

So where is the place where the rent's affordable, and there are cool people, and new interesting places keep opening at a rate faster than they close? So, you know, we can all move there and drive up the rents and ruin it.
posted by Sequence at 1:48 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


Big Nick’s Burger and Pizza Joint: 51 years
Rent increase from $42,000 to $60,000 a month



I can't even -- yes, that is an immense increase in rent, but $42,000 a month? That alone seems inconceivable to me. The number of burgers and pizzas that you'd have to move to make a restaurant worth your while when you spend more in rent per month than any employee probably makes per year just... I can't even wrap my head around the idea of $504,000 per year in rent, let alone $720,000. That's more than half of one million dollars. Per year. Up to almost three quarters of one million dollars.
posted by Shepherd at 1:49 PM on January 15 [10 favorites]


No, the east village is a strip mall inside an NYU dorm.
posted by elizardbits at 1:49 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


And Brooklyn is basically San Francisco east.
posted by cazoo at 1:49 PM on January 15


The East Village is a Epcot pavilion for "New York In the late 70s" much in the same way the LES is a simulation of New York of in the late 90s.
posted by The Whelk at 1:50 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


I guess this shows I haven't been hanging in Midtown lately, but jeez, Gotham Book Mart is gone? That is a tragedy.

And I, perhaps alone, will pour one out -- where by "one" I mean a New York coffee with stupid amounts of cream and sugar -- for Columbia Hot Bagel. (Though that building's now a school, not a Duane Reade.)
posted by escabeche at 1:51 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


No, the east village is a strip mall inside an NYU dorm.

To be fair, most of Manhattan is becoming a strip mall inside of NYU.

I'm also surprisingly bummed about Dojo's. Used to eat there at least four times a week. First heard about Wittgenstein in a conversation at Dojo's. The one on St. Mark's would serve rum and cokes to a 12 year old and we used to get sufficiently drunk there on the regular before we turned 21. Very sad indeed.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:51 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]


My god, Bleecker Bob’s is gone?

Yes, that one made me gasp.

It's a sobering list, but some inclusions seem off the mark. St. Vincent's closed because it was bankrupt, and Elaine Kaufman died. There's a few others--it's not all rapacious developers (only 97%!).

Reading the list makes my stomach hurt--but I grew up on the Upper East Side, which used to be an interesting place filled with Hungarian and German stores and delis, and spice shops. Even as a kid in the 80s, I could tell the neighborhood was changing for the worse as the konditorei on 86th Street were successively taken over or pushed out and replaced with Vitamin Shoppes or whatever. My stomach is used to the pain now.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:51 PM on January 15


My god, Bleecker Bob’s is gone?

More on the last days of Bleeker Bob's, and Gotham Book Mart

Skyline Books: 20 years
Probable rent hike, replaced with a body waxing salon


We all have our priorities.
posted by IndigoJones at 1:51 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I'm still angry about Big Nicks, HUGE CRUNCHY SLICES AVAILABLE WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE. There was a SIGNED MEL ODUM PRINT ON THE WALL, you could tell stories from the decor alone!

Gah.

Where the hell is all this money coming in for these rents? Are they all going to be Chase branches?

(SIDE NOTE WHY DOES EVERY BLOCK NEED A BANK ON IT I CAN'T FIND A PLACE TO BUY SHOELACES OR GET A TACO BUT BAM MY BANKING NEEDS ARE MET, MULTIPLE TIMES IN MANY PLACES)
posted by The Whelk at 1:52 PM on January 15 [8 favorites]


granted I'm still angry that cafe with a big ink portrait of me on the wall closed so ymmv
posted by The Whelk at 1:52 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Once Wo Hop makes that list, I'll likely never set foot in Manhattan again.
posted by dbiedny at 1:53 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I'm also surprisingly bummed about Dojo's. Used to eat there at least four times a week.

I'm not sure which Dojo the list means; rumor on the block was that the Dojo on St. Mark's was shut down by the health department.
posted by griphus at 1:53 PM on January 15


I thought that referred to the other dojo, not the st marx one?
posted by elizardbits at 1:54 PM on January 15


Love it or show an indifferent disdain towards it, the loss of the Hotel Chelsea was a particularly cruel blow.
posted by Spatch at 1:54 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


So where is the place where the rent's affordable, and there are cool people, and new interesting places keep opening at a rate faster than they close? So, you know, we can all move there and drive up the rents and ruin it.

I always say this on the green, but Madison, WI is pretty much this. A bookstore opened a block from my house this year.
posted by escabeche at 1:55 PM on January 15 [8 favorites]


It looks like they are now all closed, the 4th street one being the last hold out.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:55 PM on January 15


I thought that referred to the other dojo, not the st marx one?

Is that one closed? I was about to say "I could have sworn I ate there..." and then realized I can't finish that sentence with anything under "5 years ago."
posted by griphus at 1:55 PM on January 15


ctrl+f Bleecker Bob's

*sighs*
posted by scody at 1:55 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Yeah but Madison WI is a really long commute to my job in Chelsea.
posted by elizardbits at 1:56 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


The number of burgers and pizzas that you'd have to move to make a restaurant worth your while when you spend more in rent per month than any employee probably makes per year just... I can't even wrap my head around the idea of $504,000 per year in rent, let alone $720,000. So how many is that? What are were their prices like?
posted by rebent at 1:56 PM on January 15


H&H? H&H?

That was the one that leapt out at me too. I'll always remember walking into H&H, wanting a warm bagel, and mistakenly asking "what's fresh?" ("They're all fresh," he snapped.) "er, I mean, what's warm?"

Also: Gray's Papaya.
posted by ambrosia at 1:56 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Missing from the list: Mama's Food Shop in the East Village, closed in 2012. Man, that place was amazing.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:58 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Also, Duane Reade is Walgreens now.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:58 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]


Just to be clear, the H&H I always went to when I lived in New York, the one on the Upper West Side, is apparently still there, but is not an original location and is owned by different people, something I never knew. (After all, I hardly ever went there because I went to Columbia Hot.)
posted by escabeche at 1:58 PM on January 15


Mama's Food Shop in the East Village, closed in 2012

nooooo
posted by elizardbits at 1:58 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


It's a sobering list, but some inclusions seem off the mark.

It's intended to be inclusive as possible - it's "Vanishing New York," not "Gentrifying New York," although in some cases they are one and the same.
Many of the closures were due to the impact of gentrification, either through rising rents, demolition for luxury development, or a decrease in business due to their neighborhood's up-shifting of demographics and values. A few closed for unrelated reasons, like the owner's death or retirement, but I included them all.
posted by muddgirl at 1:59 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Oh, I forgot about the Amato Opera. Only a few doors down from CBGB. I mourn the Amato's passing more.
posted by Spatch at 1:59 PM on January 15


Duane Reade is owned by Walgreens now.

Kim's Video and Mars Bar are the ones that make especially sad.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:59 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Also: Gray's Papaya.
posted by ambrosia at 1:56 PM on January 15 [+] [!]


The uptown one is still open...
posted by ben242 at 1:59 PM on January 15



They're all Duane Reades now.

Unless this is a joke I'm not getting (possible), the Duane Reades are actually Walgreens, which is sadder.

I love New York though and find it interesting, though I wasn't here 20 years ago when it was supposedly so much more awesome. This morning the East River was covered in a low fog and it was mesmerizing.
posted by sweetkid at 2:00 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I've been watching this happen for a couple of decades, wondering at what point I'm finally going to give up and leave NYC. The Anarchy Cafe became a McDonalds, the Astor Diner a Starbucks. The Mars Bar, Bleeker Bob's, my god Dojos! I worked at the Tower Records on 4th and Broadway for a few years, and couldn't afford to eat anywhere else!

I'm moving to someplace old, with a lawn...
posted by Aversion Therapy at 2:01 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


And yet Republic soldiers on. There's no justice.
posted by escabeche at 2:02 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


The number of burgers and pizzas that you'd have to move [...] I can't even wrap my head around the idea of $504,000 per year in rent, let alone $720,000.

So how many is that? What are were their prices like?


I don't know, but if you were making $1 after expenses (buns, meat, condiments, napkins, electricity, employees, etc.) on every burger, and you were only selling burgers, you'd have to sell 1,381 burgers per day to pull down $504,000 per year. If you were open for 12 hours a day, that's 115 burgers per hour, or about two burgers a minute, for every minute you are open, forever. In a restaurant that occupies 1,000 square feet, according to the sign on the linked blog.

Obviously they were selling more than burgers, and getting better markup on things like soda than on solid food, but I still can't even conceive of those numbers as an actual thing people paid in rent.
posted by Shepherd at 2:03 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


The Dojo on 4th Street was open when I walked by it yesterday.

This must be referring to the one on St. Marks which closed years ago, and yeah, I always heard it was shut down by the city.
posted by davidjmcgee at 2:04 PM on January 15


Wait...Kim's Video is gone?
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:04 PM on January 15


God Mama's was amazing. Others from my early days...Lakeside Lounge, Pantry, Duke's/On the C...
posted by lalex at 2:04 PM on January 15


Shepherd: " I can't even -- yes, that is an immense increase in rent, but $42,000 a month? That alone seems inconceivable to me. The number of burgers and pizzas that you'd have to move to make a restaurant worth your while when you spend more in rent per month than any employee probably makes per year just... I can't even wrap my head around the idea of $504,000 per year in rent, let alone $720,000. That's more than half of one million dollars. Per year. Up to almost three quarters of one million dollars."

Back in 2009, the same thing happened to Ruby Foo's uptown location, which was across the street. The economy collapsed and their rent was raised so high from one quarter to the next that the owner basically said, "Fuck it. Not worth it" and closed the restaurant. It was one of my favorite places in the city to take out of town friends. Delicious food that wouldn't break the bank. Less expensive, less crowded and less of a tourist trap than the Times Square location.

Big Nick's was a neighborhood icon. For their 50th they sold burgers for 60¢: 1962 prices. They were open 23 hours a day and would make any kind of pizza or burger given 24 hours notice. I loved their sourdough white pizza. It's a crying shame they were forced out of business. And Niko's is gone, too. Terrible. Just terrible.
posted by zarq at 2:06 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Yeah, looks like Dojo's on 4th was going to close this summer, but didn't.

Eaters of cold sesame noodles rejoice!
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:06 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Unless this is a joke I'm not getting (possible), the Duane Reades are actually Walgreens, which is sadder.

Duane Reades still very much exist, they're just owned by Walgreens. This makes it even weirder when there's a Walgreens right by a Duane Reade, such as on Union Square South.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:06 PM on January 15


Where the hell is all this money coming in for these rents?

I have unworthy suspicions of tax losses and money laundering.

SIDE NOTE WHY DOES EVERY BLOCK NEED A BANK ON IT

Believe it or not, banks are hurting for retail customers. Perhaps this is a counter-intuitive way of keeping them on?

Mama's Food Shop in the East Village, closed in 2012

Mama Joy's in Morningside Heights, closed 2001. Well, okay - replaced, but still.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:08 PM on January 15


At the time I wasn't, but I'm so glad I left New York.
posted by phaedon at 2:09 PM on January 15




Kim's is now reopened in a different location, although not entirely the same.
posted by jangie at 2:11 PM on January 15


Duane Reades still very much exist, they're just owned by Walgreens. This makes it even weirder when there's a Walgreens right by a Duane Reade, such as on Union Square South.

I guess it's kind of like how in the state of New York candidates for public office can run under multiple parties. Like, for example, I remember that Hillary Clinton ran for senate as both the Democratic candidate and the Working Families Party candidate, so you could still vote for her if you had sworn that you'd never vote Democrat. Similarly, if you've sworn to never set foor in a Walgreens, you can still shop at Duane Reade.
posted by baf at 2:12 PM on January 15


This is terrible. And this is just one city. It's happening nationwide, albeit for different reasons in different cities. And I'm going to shut up now before I go full Kunstler.

I've been thinking of moving to South Pasadena, CA, if I can somehow find a way to afford it. It's a little city adjacent to Los Angeles, with one station in the middle of a little downtown for the Gold Line light rail. In that little downtown area, there are no chain stores or restaurants, it's highly walkable, and traffic isn't painful; it's like a throwback to the Chicago neighborhood I grew up in during the 70s (albeit with single-story craftsman homes instead of two-story brick ones) or Chicago's Southport neighborhood twenty years ago before it was overrun with bars and chain stores.

Some restaurants are new -- like the Grilled Cheese and Cereal Cafe (that's what its called, and what it sells) -- and some are old, like an ice cream shop that's been there a very long time (just across the street from the GCaCC.) Just being there makes me happy (especially when the train runs through), as it doesn't feel like its in any danger of being overrun with cars/tourists/franchises. So at least one city is still holding the line.

If you're visiting Downtown Los Angeles, take the Gold Line up to the Mission Street stop, have a nice lunch, visit a few stores.
posted by davejay at 2:12 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]




Some of this is sad but man, if I never have to try to talk someone in their 2nd week of veganism out of going to Dojo again that's cool. That place was the worst. And no human being on the planet has ever had a good idea at the Holiday Cocktail Lounge.
posted by Thin Lizzy at 2:14 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Wow, Gray's Papaya? That's amazing. Gray's was a ripoff of Papaya King on the UES (founded in the 1930s or so), but Papaya King has always been about 200-300% more expensive than Gray's Papaya (and really no better).

When I lived in the Village, I would go to the Gray's on 8th all the time.

And the Ray's on 11th and 6th--I dragged my wife there on our last trip to NYC, and I was fucking floored to see it had changed hands. Still ate a couple of slices, though.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:16 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Mama's Food Shop in the East Village, closed in 2012

WHAT?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:18 PM on January 15


Oh, thanks for this. My husband first moved to the city in 1954 and spends most of our conversation time telling me about things that are no longer in our neighborhood.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:18 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]


I've lived at Broadway and 9th St. for 17 years and have had a box seat for the city I love turning into faded history. The Silver Spurs burger joint across the street just closed. The Ray's Pizza across the street from my daughter's school closed recently, after changing hands, and across from that the cool magazine shop closed. Milady's just closed I might be getting old and cranky, but I liked Alphabet City when it was scary -- when I went drinking there, people meant it...
posted by AJaffe at 2:19 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


And I will not complain about Duane Reade; their overhauls have transformed the NYC drugstore experience from "sixth circle of hell" to merely "mildly unpleasant", plus walk-in clinics!
posted by lalex at 2:20 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


*candle in the wind begins to play*

More like "My City Was Gone."

I was just talking last night to an old friend of mine. We both grew up in NYC in the 1960s and '70s. And we idly discussed the notion of moving back. But as we said, almost in unison, that city is gone. The museums and the park and durable things like those survive, but my New York is so long gone. Broadway, the Village, Yorkville, unrecognizable or, at best, a shadow of how lovely and imperfect and unique it once was. As I think has been noted on the blue before, every generation thinks that about NYC. But now it's really true.

.
posted by the sobsister at 2:21 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


I know my neighborhood is too uncool to count, but I really miss Sweet Mama's in Park Slope. I don't even remember whether it closed before or after 2001. Where are my fried okra and chicken dumplings now??

And Uncle Moe's, lost a year or two ago.

And Southpaw has become, of course, a multi-story childcare minimall.
posted by moonmilk at 2:21 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]



And Southpaw has become, of course, a multi-story childcare minimall.

HOW DO THESE PEOPLE AFFORD THEIR CHILDREN THERE ARE TWINS AND NANNIES AND ORGANIC BABY YOGA CLASSES EVERYWHERE CAN THEY ALL BE PARTNERS AT LAW FIRMS EVERY SINGLE ONE?
posted by The Whelk at 2:27 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]


I was just telling a co-worker she needs to check out Jeremiah's Vanishing New York.

Our office in the flatiron just got notice that our rent is going up a rediculous amount, so we will be moving. I don't know what's going on in the landlord's head, it's a great location but the building is crap.
posted by maggiemaggie at 2:28 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


As I think has been noted on the blue before, every generation thinks that about NYC.

I say this with literally not an iota of snark, but we are all, at all times, literally one bodega/club/shop/restaurant away from throwing our tokens Metrocards in the sewer and moving somewhere else to complain about how it isn't at all like the NYC that wasn't NYC anymore.
posted by griphus at 2:28 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


Eh, I don't care, I'm never leaving, because I have rent stabilization so I can never move *sob*
posted by moonmilk at 2:31 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Where are my fried okra and chicken dumplings now??
That was not a rhetorical question, by the way, people.
posted by moonmilk at 2:32 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Eh, I don't care, I'm never leaving, because I have rent stabilization so I can never move *sob*

Yes you can, you'll just have to live the rest of your life knowing you have cursed your bloodline for generations.

See that's why I'm buying a co-op. So I can point at a piece of paper at the vault in the bank that says I own a certain percentage of a certain percentage of issued shares of a business entity that owns the building I live in.
posted by griphus at 2:34 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Independent bookstores were the canaries in the coalmine of the changing NYC for me.

Ubi sunt, Biography Bookshop, Coliseum Books, Gotham Book Mart, Madison Avenue Bookshop, Murder Ink, et al.? I'm even tempted to include Borders just to underscore how it's impossible for even a superstore chain to afford Manhattan's rents by selling books. At least the Strand, one of the few holdouts of Union Square's old "Book Row", owns its main building, although its Financial District store had to close after a rent hike (downtown renewal indeed).

Like that song from 2007 goes, "New York, you're safer/And you're wasting my time/Our records all show/You were filthy but fine {...} New York, you're perfect/Oh please, don't change a thing."
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:37 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


a multi-story childcare minimall.

You made that up. That can't be a real thing.
posted by octothorpe at 2:45 PM on January 15


This thread has me depressed.
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 2:45 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


But here's a question: could you have compiled a similar list 10 years ago? 20? 50?
posted by So You're Saying These Are Pants? at 2:46 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I say this with literally not an iota of snark, but we are all, at all times, literally one bodega/club/shop/restaurant away from throwing our tokens Metrocards in the sewer and moving somewhere else to complain about how it isn't at all like the NYC that wasn't NYC anymore.

I DID LEAVE and when I came back it was even worse, it is NYU we must crush NYU crush it beneath our feet and hear the lamentations of its trustees CRUSH IT I SAY.
posted by elizardbits at 2:46 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


CRUUUUSH
posted by elizardbits at 2:46 PM on January 15


I don't know what's going on in the landlord's head

"I think I'll charge what the market will bear......"
posted by sideshow at 2:47 PM on January 15


This has me feeling mournful. It must mean much, much more to people who can attach memories to the names, so imagining how New Yorkers reading it must feel deepens the mourning. It must be a more nuanced feeling for you guys, but it still must be terrible.

It's shit that anything has to change for the worse.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:47 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


But here's a question: could you have compiled a similar list 10 years ago? 20? 50?

I've never met a person from NYC who didn't complain about how it wasn't cool anymore because all the old cool places were now gone. My grandfather used to say that and he left Brooklyn in the late 30's.
posted by sideshow at 2:49 PM on January 15 [8 favorites]


dbiedny: "Once Wo Hop makes that list, I'll likely never set foot in Manhattan again."

Been eating at Wo Hops since 1977. My hay days were the late 70 and early 80s but I made a pilgrimage there a few years back after a Furthur show. Needless to say, I do not think I have ever eaten there in the light of day much less when I could actually read a clock if asked. The second time I went, I was with my HS buddies doing stupid things in the city. Walked down the stairs and sat at one of the tables. One of us was capable of ordering and went. Another friend looked at the ashtray where there was an egg roll sitting there with one bite out of it. He asked if anyone else wanted it before he ate it. Gosh I love that place.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:50 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


H&H went under because of tax evasion or other financial do-baddery. Can't blame the city or rents for that one. So no anger here, but lots of sad. Sigh.

Anyhow, it seems appropriate here: Colson Whitehead's Lost and Found
posted by Mchelly at 2:51 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I don't know what's going on in the landlord's head

"I think I'll charge what the market will bear......"


It's hard to believe the market will bear the rent they are asking though...

Would some sort of rent-stabilization for small businesses make sense?

Also, that Colson Whitehead essay is one of my favorite pieces of writing ever, period.
posted by maggiemaggie at 2:54 PM on January 15


Not from the POV of the People With Money who will be influencing any kind of relevant lawmaking, no.
posted by elizardbits at 2:56 PM on January 15


Mchelly: "H&H went under because of tax evasion or other financial do-baddery. Can't blame the city or rents for that one. So no anger here, but lots of sad. Sigh. "

Yeah. Toro, the owner, withheld tax money from his employees' paychecks, just as he was supposed to. He just neglected to send any of it in to the IRS. When the bill came due it was over $330,000 for back taxes alone. He owes the IRS half a million dollars.
posted by zarq at 2:58 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


we must not rest until the stern Business School is a smoking ruin
posted by The Whelk at 2:59 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


I know the framing of this is "gentrification GRAR", but really, why should we expect businesses to hang around for multiple generations anyway? Owners die, retire, move, lose interest, their kids don't wanna take over the family business, etc.

Why not go back further and list all the businesses from 1800s NYC that are no longer extant?
posted by evil otto at 2:59 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Actually, someone please list all the businesses from 1800s NYC that are still extant. 'cause that would be neat.
posted by moonmilk at 3:00 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


Streit's Matzoh is the only one I can think of off the top of my head.
posted by elizardbits at 3:02 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


Oh and Yonah Schimmel's.
posted by elizardbits at 3:02 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Russ & Daughters turns 100 this year. Maybe we can make 1914 the cutoff.
posted by moonmilk at 3:03 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]


Well, that's depressing. Can we talk about new places that have opened in NYC in the past year or two that we actually like instead?
posted by phooky at 3:03 PM on January 15


And Katz's which I think is the oldest of the 3.
posted by elizardbits at 3:04 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


moonmilk: "Actually, someone please list all the businesses from 1800s NYC that are still extant. 'cause that would be neat."

I wonder how many people know about The Hundred Year Association. They're a non-profit devoted to businesses that have been in NY for 100 years or more. Per wikipedia: "Notable current members include ConEdison, National Grid, The Chief-Civil Service Leader, The Brooklyn Bar Association, Rosenwach Tank Company, John Gallin & Son, Hagedorn & Company, Leys, Christie & Company, Modell's Sporting Goods, Henry W. T. Mali & Company, New York University, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, Bowne & Co., General Tool & Instruments, The New York Post, Dancker, Sellew & Douglas, James Thompson & Co., Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, Bank of New York Mello, Richmond County Savings Bank, E. J. Electric, Emmet, Marvin & Martin, Scientific American, STV Group, The Hotel Wales, The Delta Kappa Epsilon Club of New York and Ferrara Cafe."
posted by zarq at 3:04 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]


Yonah Schimmel since 1910
Old Town since 1892
White Horse since 1880

I remember seeing a map of old businesses in NYC recently; I'll try to dig it up.
posted by phooky at 3:06 PM on January 15


I can't get gribenes at any of those, zarq.
posted by elizardbits at 3:06 PM on January 15 [8 favorites]


Yes, I think the problem is not so much with what's closing, but with what the replacement is.

There are so many Duane Reades, bank branches and other boring national chains.
posted by maggiemaggie at 3:06 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


elizardbits: "I can't get gribenes at any of those, zarq."

This is sadly true.
posted by zarq at 3:08 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


John's of 12th St. since 1908, and has been burning a candle since prohibition ended.
posted by phooky at 3:09 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I spent a lot of time in NYC in the early '90s and then again in 1999-2000. I went back in 2010 and 2012, to blocks that I used to know like the back of my hand (see, little mole, right by the base of my thumb) and on both trips I recognized absolutely nothing. I actually got lost because it had become so unrecognizable.

DTLA currently has the vibe of lower NYC in the early '90s. Come visit now, before it becomes intolerable!
posted by rednikki at 3:10 PM on January 15


There have been rumors that John's has been taken over by the people behind Beatrice Inn.
posted by maggiemaggie at 3:16 PM on January 15


I'm looking at the member directory of the 100 year ass'n and some of them aren't even located in the 5 boros anymore, I feel very betrayed and vexed. I mean why not include the Dodgers at this rate.
posted by elizardbits at 3:20 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


I know the framing of this is "gentrification GRAR", but really, why should we expect businesses to hang around for multiple generations anyway? Owners die, retire, move, lose interest, their kids don't wanna take over the family business, etc.

It's not the fact of individual businesses closing that's so terrible, it's that interesting, useful, mom-and-pop small businesses (greengrocers, butchers, delis, bookstores, record stores, video stores, etc.) are being systematically priced out of the market to be replaced by bland chain retail / restaurants that don't serve any real purpose to the community and are only there to make ungodly money for their corporate owners (the aforementions Walgreens, bank branches, McDonalds, whatever).
posted by junco at 3:21 PM on January 15 [7 favorites]


It's not the fact of individual businesses closing that's so terrible, it's that interesting, useful, mom-and-pop small businesses (greengrocers, butchers, delis, bookstores, record stores, video stores, etc.) are being systematically priced out of the market to be replaced by bland chain retail / restaurants

I dunno. Personally, I could care less whether my pack of Orbit gum comes from a Duane Reade or a mom-and-pop bodega. Same old pack of gum to me. I think a lot of businesses that were replaced didn't offer any kind of advantage over (the equivalent of) Walgreens or Duane Reade.

It's interesting you'd cite bookstores, record stores, and video stores, because I see that as more of a counterexample. Have you noticed, all the bad (read: chain) book, record, and video stores are gone? The only ones left are the indie shops staffed by enthusiasts who can make useful recommendations and stuff. Here, they're adding value that chains cannot.

Wouldn't agree about restaurants. If anything, foodie culture has spawned a whole new audience who turns their noses up at chains.

However, on the whole, I agree, chains suck. That's one thing SF has actually done a really good job of; we have specific laws here to keep the chains out, and the city, as a whole, supports the laws. I think stores like Walgreens must be exempt, though, because I see them f'ing everywhere. Even in SF, nobody gives a crap where their pack of Orbit comes from.
posted by evil otto at 3:34 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Have you noticed, all the bad (read: chain) book, record, and video stores are gone? The only ones left are the indie shops staffed by enthusiasts who can make useful recommendations and stuff.

....Are we talking about the same city?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:49 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


And I will not complain about Duane Reade; their overhauls have transformed the NYC drugstore experience from "sixth circle of hell" to merely "mildly unpleasant", plus walk-in clinics!

Yeah, as a life-long New Yorker I gotta say that the dirty little secret of Duane Reade has always been that they only hired cashiers who had been fired from the DMV for failing to meet the required standards of efficiency and friendliness. It has gotten a little better since Buy 'n' Large Walgreens took over.

As it happens, I live on Reade. But the Duane Reade that was actually between Duane and Reade closed years ago.
posted by The Bellman at 3:52 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]


To the point made upthread about every city going through this experience, here's something from the WaPo on D.C. institutions that have gone the way of all brick and mortar.

But, returning to the notion that every generation of New Yorkers, native or transplant, hearkens back to an idyllic and vanished past, I'd say that it's not a question of people in the 1910s looking wistfully back at the 1890s. Instead, I'd propose that the mid-20th century was the prime of New York's cultural and business life in all its history. A 50-year run from 1930-1980, in which everything really was better, both when it was new and when it was surrounded by decay. I only lived through the '60, '70s and early '80s there and sensed that the three decades preceding were really the best of it, but there was so much interesting stuff to do and see back then, even for a kid without much money.

New York will always be "New York," and new arrivals will always have their own memories of the city, but there was a sweet spot there when New York, between its immigrant roots and its cosmopolitan finish, was the apex of American urban life.
posted by the sobsister at 3:56 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]


A 50-year run from 1930-1980, in which everything really was better, both when it was new and when it was surrounded by decay

You're including the 1970s in a list of decades where "everything was better"? This is a decade when the city very nearly went bankrupt and nearly ten thousand more people were murdered than in the 2000s. That's a hell of a lot of human misery compared with chains displacing local businesses.
posted by dsfan at 4:12 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


Yeah but the pizza was really good.
posted by elizardbits at 4:12 PM on January 15 [12 favorites]


You're including the 1970s in a list of decades where "everything was better"?

Yeah, let's not do this again. There are lots of reasons to complain about Disnification and so on, but there is no principled argument that NYC was, objectively, a better place to live in the 70s than it is today.
posted by The Bellman at 4:19 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


I knew Chez Brigitte was long gone. I walked past it soon after it ended. But it was where I had the best meals ever when I was in college, 50 years ago. Even then, restaurant that seats 4 seemed dubious, though.

I have worked in Hell's Remodeled Kitchen for many years. Cheezy hotels have replaced crack dealers, but the toll on restaurants has been dramatic. Some years ago, I made a page about some of my favorites and just revised it (red text).

The many rice-and-stuff-in-white-clamshell places are down to, I believe, just one (38th street restaurant and bakery--get there at normal lunch time or you'll just get the bakery) and it only costs twice what it did a few years ago.
posted by hexatron at 4:23 PM on January 15


Colony Records: 60 years
Closed when the new landlord, Stonehenge Properties, quintupled the rent to $5 million per month


How is 5 million a month rent even possible
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:25 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


but there is no principled argument that NYC was, objectively, a better place to live in the 70s than it is today.

Principled argument? Say again? I was there, and, yes, crime was much worse, and the garbage didn't get picked up, blah blah. But it was a great place to be. The feel of the city was incomparable. Maybe as a high school and college student I didn't have to earn a living beyond summer or part-time jobs, but I would never trade NYC back then for the mallified shithole I see in most parts of Manhattan. "Principled argument"? What?
posted by the sobsister at 4:32 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


...every generation of New Yorkers, native or transplant, hearkens back to an idyllic and vanished past...

Well, I wouldn't say my memories of NYC 1986-2000 would include the word idyllic, but the rate of change is kind of amazing.

I can't believe the Subway Inn still survives somehow.
posted by freakazoid at 4:37 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Maybe as a high school and college student I didn't have to earn a living beyond summer or part-time jobs, but I would never trade NYC back then for the mallified shithole I see in most parts of Manhattan

I am NOT saying that it's an absolute choice between "disneyfied" + low crime and "authentic" + high crime, but you wouldn't trade the two cities? Ten thousand fewer murders a decade, an absolutely humongous increase in life expectancy over the past couple of decades, etc., and you think that this is worse because it's "mallified"? That is an absolutely sick value system.
posted by dsfan at 4:42 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]


Very interesting.

Over here in San Francisco there's a very interesting protection in place in many neighborhoods - a prohibition on "formula retail," basically any store with more than 10 locations in the US. Recently a used book store a few blocks from my house was kicked out of their space via huge rent increase, with the landlord intending to put a Jack Spade in. It JUST squeaked in under the regulation, it would have been the 8th or 9th store or something along that line.

The neighborhood had a collective aneurysm, Jack Spade did not get what it wanted, nor did the landlord, and the space is now vacant. I'm pretty annoyed that it's become a vacant storefront, but the area is developing so I'm sure that it will be filled soon. It just won't be filled with a chain.
posted by Amplify at 4:50 PM on January 15 [5 favorites]


I don't deny that life was harder in the '70s, that the city's infrastructure was in worse shape, etc., etc., etc.

The point is, I don't like New York very much now, and I was about as rabid a New Yorker as anyone you'd ever meet. Things have changed for the better regarding crime and public transportation, but have worsened considerably, not to say "immeasurably," by most other yardsticks, including non-frivolous ones such as cost of living and availability of affordable housing.

So, yes, I would trade them. But, please, feel free to judge me in even more hyperbolic terms. I assume that, as a life-long New Yorker dating back to the '50s, you have a personal context and history from which to speak and not just a sheaf of statistics.
posted by the sobsister at 4:51 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


How is 5 million a month rent even possible

It said the rent was quintupled, how was 1 million a month (the old rent) even possible for a record store?
posted by MikeMc at 4:52 PM on January 15


Manhattan is not Waukesha, or Toledo, or Walla Walla. Nor should it be.

Even Waukesha shouldn't be Waukesha (trust me on this).
posted by MikeMc at 4:56 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Man. You guys are making St. Louis look good. St. Louis! It's amazing how many of the restaurants that were in my publication's listing in the early '60s are still around today. Yet we've also got an impressive rate of openings of new local businesses—restaurants, boutiques, even bookstores. And for some reason, new reality shows keep getting greenlighted here. While we lose the development battle some of the time (one longtime bookstore did recently close), one of the big historic-preservation guys here has been "about to retire" for years, but he keeps postponing it—'cause there really are a ton of cool buildings here that it's still possible to save.

New York sounds like it's turning into a big mall—where you have to order all the little things, like shoelaces, from Amazon, but if you're a banker, you can totes afford some swordfish.

Manhattan is not Waukesha, or Toledo, or Walla Walla. Nor should it be.

Manhattan is, apparently, not even St. Louis. But maybe it should be.
posted by limeonaire at 5:15 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


There have been some changes that, if they're not better, are at the very least sideways. Yes, Limelight is gone, replaced by a mall and an IHOP, but Limelight sucked for years and now we have Output.

But yes, Manhattan has become a blasted wasteland of awful chain establishments and boring-as-hell boutiques for rich people none of us know and are unlikely to meet. Bloomberg's claim that flooding the city with rich people makes the whole city richer is true but it also is wrong as hell. This population is destroying the culture that makes New York worthwhile and is replacing it with bland nothingness every bit as boring and tedious as they are. Sometimes I feel like a unicorn; I'm a third generation native New Yorker but when I go back to visit I'm always the only native New Yorker in the room, and yet everyone else there (including investment bankers who just moved 2 years ago from the Midwest) act like they're the Real Freaking Deal. And because the bones of the city have changed so much, the galling thing is that they might be right.
posted by 1adam12 at 5:17 PM on January 15 [9 favorites]




.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:47 PM on January 15


there is no principled argument that NYC was, objectively, a better place to live in the 70s than it is today.

It was better for young artists. That is, the kind that didn't have trust funds. Objectively better.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:50 PM on January 15 [6 favorites]


Manhattan is, apparently, not even St. Louis. But maybe it should be.

Yes, but you're forgetting all the reasons why people leave places like St. Louis and move to places like NYC and SF. It's all in what you want out of life.

Also, our view is colored by the paucity of American cities where you can enjoy an urban, car-free lifestyle. NYC and SF are not as special as you'd think. What you love/loved about NYC may only be love for The Big City. Nothing wrong with that at all, but it's good to keep that in perspective. NYC is not the only game in town, globally speaking.
posted by evil otto at 5:53 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


(the second part of my comment was directed at the thread at large, not limonaire)
posted by evil otto at 5:58 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


This list is already out of date: Milady's, the lovable dive bar at Prince and Thompson in Soho, where I spent most of my evenings and late nights and many of my afternoons in the '90s, shuttered after this Sunday night's closing shift. The staff only found out on Friday.
posted by nicwolff at 6:00 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


How dare things change! Everything went downhill when the British gentrified all the Dutch businesses away. Of course, the Dutch gentrified all that old school Lenape farmland.
posted by mkultra at 6:24 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


Is something good simply because it's old? What about all the new restaurants popping up all over Brooklyn - are they to be ignored or reviled because they all date from the 2010s and haven't been around for 46 years?

Don't get me wrong. As a New Yorker, I share the pain of losing longstanding, beloved places - like how I am still to this day sad that Zito's on Bleecker closed 10 years ago.

But here's the thing: I'm sad about Zito's not because of its 80-something-year-old age when it closed, but because Zito's made the best focaccia in the world. It's the quality I miss, not the age.
posted by mark7570 at 6:31 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


New Yorker by choice, 1986-2009. Resident of West Village (W4th and Bank), 1994-2009. Driven out by decline of my industry (glossy mags) amid general economic collapse. The places on Bleecker Street had been dropping like dominoes. (And don't even get me started on Florent and le Meatpacking.)

I moved to Manhattan at Peak Gekko and the canker was already in the rose. I could tell because they had built luxury apartment blocks (as in city blocks) at 96th and Third, with buses that ran direct from the lobby down the FDR to Wall Street. (For reasons I cannot now recall, I shared one of those $1800 2BRs with two other women for two years. At the time that was a lot of money.) The frat bars were creeping uptown, and Zeckendorf Towers had just opened down in scruffy Union Square.

I moved down to 13th and B in 1988; Alphabet City was still interesting. There was a Mexican bakery and a bar on the first floor. After the Tompkins Square tent city raids pushed out the homeless people, the bar changed hands and got trendy. Wigstock got famous.

I moved into my Bank St. place in 1994, back when the storefront at the corner of Bank and Greenwich Ave was World of Video. Foolishly, we were excited when the space became a Starbucks — one of Manhattan's first!

I never wanted to move out of my building or off my block; I wanted to live in that neighborhood for the rest of my life. Then Ye Olde Waverly Inn turned into Graydon Carter's Waverly Inn, and the limos started idling on the block, and Harvey Weinstein did a gut reno of the block's most gorgeous brownstone and moved in.

I think it was when Marc Jacobs bought the Biography Bookshop and turned it into Bookmarc (!) — his sixth or seventh storefront on the block — that I saw the neighborhood was surely and irretrievably going to blingapalooza hell, becoming Lower Upper Madison Ave.

I remember not long before we moved out in 2009 thinking, "I love having lived here," and realizing via the verb tense that I wasn't loving the *actual* living-there part much anymore. Where I am now, it's more like a marriage of convenience than a love affair, but it's affectionate and companionable.

You can't step in the same river twice.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:50 PM on January 15 [6 favorites]


For me, the two greatest losses downtown were Aggie's, the wonderful diner on Macdougal and Houston, and Taylor's, the fantastic bakeshop on Hudson and West 10th. The former closed in 2001, without any warning--we were walking over for a usual weekend dinner and it was shut. Relevant Times pieces. She had a bunch of old newspapers taped to the wall near the register that belied her liberal leanings, two cats wandered the place, and the menu had a linguine with fried clams and marinara sauce that I would die to eat again. (The spirit of Aggie's lives on at Porto Rico coffee with their same-named blend.)

I believe that Taylor's went into a deathspiral as a result of the closures downtown after Sept. 11; their main baking facility was on Chambers Street. Their last location, I believe, was on West 18th Street, and they finally closed in 2004 or 2005 or 2006. I miss almost everything they made, but especially their pumpkin-cranberry scones. My first year living in NYC, my morning routine was to pick up a whole wheat roll and orange juice and hustle up to Penn Station for my train out to Great Neck.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:57 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


For people like me who didn't understand the title, Duane Reade is what they call Wallgreens in New York.
posted by octothorpe at 6:58 PM on January 15


computech_apolloniajames, I mourned both of those places. Aggie's was my brunch ace-in-the-hole, and Taylor's was just the kind of neighborhood bakery I had always hoped for.

Aggie's is now a pizza joint, natch.
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:17 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


I moved into my Bank St. place in 1994, back when the storefront at the corner of Bank and Greenwich Ave was World of Video.

do u live in my building and if so is tonight recycling night
posted by elizardbits at 7:20 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


.

Murray Hill, 1973-1991.
Chelsea 2000-2003.
I do not ever see myself living in NYC again, sadly.

What I note is that the 80s was the last time we saw globally-reknown artists come out of NYC. Since Basquiat and Haring, NYC has been too expensive for artists to live and work there. When you lose the artists and musicians, and when you get Disney and the renovated Times Square, it is bad news for NYC.
posted by gen at 7:21 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Splash gay bar: 22 years
Lack of business


Blame Grindr?
posted by crossoverman at 7:24 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


How dare things change! Everything went downhill when the British gentrified all the Dutch businesses away

You laugh, but this is kind of what Edith Wharton's 1913 novel The Custom of the Country was about. All the new vulgar rich people from the Midwest, making New York unlivable and unaffordable for the older, shabbier, book-reading civilized class.
posted by escabeche at 7:32 PM on January 15 [6 favorites]


I don't laugh (well, okay, I do). Myself, looking forward, I see no reason to assume that things won't go back to the seventies again.

Only next time, there won't be the good used book stores.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:40 PM on January 15


This is all incredibly sad. I thought that once a business had passed through so many damn waves of gentrification, it would become immortal. Nope. This makes me hate New York so much. What a heartbreaker of a city. I wouldn't hate it if I had never loved it.
posted by Hennimore at 7:53 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]



And I, perhaps alone, will pour one out -- where by "one" I mean a New York coffee with stupid amounts of cream and sugar -- for Columbia Hot Bagel. (Though that building's now a school, not a Duane Reade.)
posted by escabeche at 4:51 PM



Nuh uh. Columbia Hot Bagel was on the northeast corner if 110th. The school was built on the southeast corner. Columbia Bagels was swallowed up in the new Columbia University faculty residential building with a renovated West Side Market as the street level tenant.

Alas, much worse, Samad's Deli was just badly damaged in the fire at the Citibank on 111th (NW corner). Best cup of coffee on the UWS offline and the cat is missing.
posted by spitbull at 7:56 PM on January 15


For people like me who didn't understand the title, Duane Reade is what they call Wallgreens in New York.

Actually, they've started calling Walgreen's Walgreen's...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:17 PM on January 15


Brooklyn calls 'em that too.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:19 PM on January 15


This murder thing is very interesting, actually, because while the murder rate in New York really has dropped an immense amount since 1990 (which, by the way, was the peak of the murder rate in New York, not the 1970s) that's set against an overall very strong trend of declining murder rates nationwide. Just looking at the overall numbers, New York in 1980 was at about 2.5 times the national homicide rate, while now it's pretty close to the national rate. If you go by the raw rate (25.8 / 100,000) the homicide rate in NYC in 1980 was somewhere between Philadelphia and Oakland today. But if you go by "how far above the national rate," 1980 NYC is more like Dallas or Pittsburgh today, which I don't think anyone thinks of as terrifyingly dangerous cities.

So New York has gotten safer, but the difference isn't as big as it looks; I mean, people in New York in the 1970s also had much crappier computers than people now, but no one would say that's a reason that New York in 2014 is better than New York in 1975!

And of course murder rates aren't everything. There were 769 homicides in New York in 2011. In Toronto, a city of 2.5 million people, there were only 45. Are people who like New York better than Toronto sick?
posted by escabeche at 8:27 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


Nuh uh. Columbia Hot Bagel was on the northeast corner if 110th. The school was built on the southeast corner.

Oops, my mistake! What was on the southeast corner before? A hotdog place, or am I remembering wrong?
posted by escabeche at 8:28 PM on January 15


Okay, well, if it's story time...

* Williamsburg, 2003-2004 (Yes, I'm one of the MeFites that lived within a 4-block radius of all the other MeFites during that time. Yes, we've had this conversation before. But what you may not know is I chose Williamsburg because it reminded me of the Delmar Loop, the St. Louis neighborhood where I essentially came of age)

* E. Village / LES / Alphabet City, 2004-2010 (I moved around a bunch)

Someone upthread mentioned that people always romanticize their time in NYC, referring to it as the One True Era of NYC. I never held any such illusions. How could I? People were always quite eager to assure me that NYC used to be so much better "before", and what I was experiencing was the picked-over remains of a once-cool city. Everyone was quick to assure me that what I was experiencing wasn't "real".

Still... NYC made me who I am. I arrived fresh out of college, having spent the last 12 years of my life in the great state of Missouri. The phrase "culture shock" doesn't even begin to describe what I experienced. When I first move to NYC, I was still into jambands, LSD, rainbow gatherings, all kinds of seriously uncool shit. I still owned tie dye. A couple weeks into my stay, it became abundantly clear that everything I loved had gone completely out of style. There are no hippies in NYC. You cannot be a slacker and live in NYC. Even the slackers in NYC bust ass. And so I began the process of re-creating myself in the city's image.

And you know what? It wasn't all that bad. I had always been a city person, ever since I started taking the bus into the city at age 14. You start hanging out in a city like St. Louis at that age, you learn how to handle some shit. Actually, it was kind of ironic, seeing how the common cultural conception of NYC was still the mid-80s "everyone has 12 locks on their door" image, and the common conception of the midwest was still "farms n' shit", where in reality, moving from STL to NYC meant moving from one of the murder capitols of the country to the safest big city in the US.

But yeah, I had to drop everything and learn some new shit. I learned to advocate for myself in situations where everybody was loud and trying to get their way. I learned to be civil when people around me were getting bent out of shape. I stepped up my game and started reading real novels and visiting museums, even though I didn't know shit about art or literature. I dropped the jam bands in favor of bands my roommates followed on MySpace. (shut up) I learned the Basic Two Rules of New York Survival, the two rules everyone follows, the two principles that underlie every basic interaction in NYC : (1) don't get in anybody's way, and (2) if someone gets in your way, you're allowed to give them shit for it. I somehow survived on 40K a year, because damned if I'd go back to the Midwest, damned if I'd go back to the land of the good ole boys where I had no good ole boys network of my own, damned if I'd go back and risk running into the people who bullied me in high school.

Fuck it, you know what? It was hard, it was really fucking hard. NYC is a cold, lonely place when you don't know anybody. I remember one night, shortly after I moved to the city, before I met anybody or had any friends, I picked up a 40 and snuck onto to the post-apocalyptic waste everybody called "The Brooklyn Beach". Now it's a genteel stretch called "East River Park" that affords denizens of reconstructed Kent Street a place to walk their strollers, but at the time it wasn't open to the public, and was mostly rubble and homeless peoples' encampments, but it afforded one of the best views of the Manhattan skyline in existence. And I remember drinking by myself, wondering what was to come of me, until something inside me broke, and I busted the 40 on the concrete slab I was sitting on and waved it at the Manhattan skyline across the river, screaming, "You will not win, motherfucker! You will not win! I ain't going nowhere!" The couple canoodling on the next slab over probably thought me quite mad.

But yeah, things got better. I met friends, met girlfriends, lost the friends, broke up with the girlfriends, met some more. Joined bands, recorded "albums" at a place in Astoria that mostly catered to salsa bands and teenage metalheads, the bands broke up, I started new ones. And I got promoted and left that job and got another. I reached my goal of earning enough money that I could eat at any restaurant I in the village I wanted to. I put on weight, lost it again. I moved apartments about once a year. I lived in a 6th floor 2-bedroom walkup in Alphabet City that clearly had been a studio at one time. I lived life and did what I had to do and flourished and failed and flourished and failed and flourished again. I read up on the city, Caro and Jacobs and Sante. I romanticized about a city long past, a city I would never know, a city I thought of as my own but I knew would never be my own.

And ultimately I left. The recession hit, and there were jobs on the West Coast and none in NYC. Welp, said I. Always was curious about San Francisco. At first blush it would seem ironic that I'd move to SF only after dropping the hippie act, although in the end I'm quite glad it happened that way. Had I moved to SF right out of college, I'd have never been challenged. I'd have never learned anything. And so I moved to the Mission District, because it reminded me of the East Village. And so it began anew...

And even though I was assured by everyone within earshot that the New York I experienced wasn't the real New York, that I, as a Midwestern transplant, was a cliche, a joke, a part of the problem, I'm still convinced that what I experienced was something real. No, it wasn't authentic, I'm not authentic, I'm not even sure if "authentic" is real or means anything at all. But I'd like to think there's something about New York that will never change, something eternal, even if it's not specific to New York. It's a part of me and always will be.

It is me.
posted by evil otto at 8:30 PM on January 15 [15 favorites]


While a lot of these places are disappearing, there are still a lot of them that are still around. Go to those places!!! I make it a point to stop in at my favorite diner Joe's jr. on 3rd ave. once a month because I know it won't be there forever. Also, New York is bigger than Lower Manhattan and Williamsburg. There are still amazing neighborhood family run businesses just oozing old school New York character all over the boroughs. If you REALLY miss the old New York, there's always The Bronx. I love it up there. Best pizza in the city, too.

The thing that bugs me the most is what I call the "Johnny Rockets" phenomenon. As soon as the absolute last of the old spots is gone, that's when the chains and new establishments will start trying to recreate the "look" of all the places that they replaced.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:31 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


For people like me who didn't understand the title, Duane Reade is what they call Wallgreens in New York.

No. Duane Reade was independent and then bought by Bain Capital and then acquired by Walgreens.

Duane and Reade are streets downtown and were actual people.

From Wikipedia:



Founded in 1960, the chain was started with three stores by Abraham, Eli, and Jack Cohen, with a warehouse located between Duane and Reade streets on Broadway in Lower Manhattan.[2] Duane Reade takes its name from the Company's first successful full-service drugstore, which opened in 1960 on Broadway between Duane and Reade Streets in Manhattan. The streets themselves were named after early American politicians James Duane (1733-1797) and Joseph Reade (1694-1771).[3]

posted by sweetkid at 8:38 PM on January 15 [3 favorites]


New York has always been defined by its immigrants. A hundred years ago, or even fifty years ago, those immigrants were Jews and Italians and Russians and Ukrainians and Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. Today, they are corporations and brands, who take over from immigrants, usually but not always with an intermediary colonization by artists and hipsters.

New York is still pretty interesting in places like Queens, where new generations of immigrants are still settling in. But the more classic old New York is gone. The classic old everyplace is gone. It's happened in every city. Corporations and brands have everything cool. The cool places in the future are going to increasingly be crappy waste areas in the outskirts and strip malls and messed-up suburbs, because that's where immigrants can afford to open up. Bookstores? Record stores? You're dreaming. They'll still exist in boutique form but not as neighborhood-building units.
posted by Fnarf at 8:54 PM on January 15 [4 favorites]


It was the cruft of old NYC. It was the junk shops (junk, as in this side of garbage) on Canal St., Exterminator Chili! It was sheer volume of the unanticipated - oh, look, a store than only sells X. I once lost 5bucks on a hustle: some guy told me they were giving away free watches 'inside' (inside was piled high with luggage still wrapped - I dunno, go figure) I went in because he was about the third guy that week to tell me this. I went in and all the way to the back, there was a counter and a guy. He rolled wooden balls onto a board covered with numbered divots. First one to a hundred, me vs him, wins the prize. First time, I won. Did I want to go double or nothing? Cost ya five bucks. I wasn't sure if he was serious: did he think I thought I would win the 'Rolex' he had flashed at the beginning? People really fall for this? Just to see where it went I slapped down my five bucks and watched him 'win.' 'Sorry kid, betta luck next time'. He gave me a plastic hasp key chain. Yellow. I still have it.

There used to be a guy bought scrap metal on 18th(?) between 6 and 7th aves. That's right, scrap metal in Chelsea. The variety of shops on any given street, that was the thing. That that is gone, that is what is to be lamented. And why that New York was just fucking cooler than now.

"Nothing to see here, move along."
posted by From Bklyn at 9:04 PM on January 15 [8 favorites]


> "… AND the cat is missing"
What a perfect addition to any lament.


> making New York unlivable and unaffordable for the older, shabbier, book-reading civilized class.

In the main are you referring to people who would be 120 if they were around today? Stereotypes turn over less rapidly than people (and cities, obviously).
posted by de at 9:09 PM on January 15 [1 favorite]


The crushing impermanence of everything you care about is the reason I fell out of love with New York.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:16 PM on January 15 [2 favorites]


The crushing impermanence of everything you care about is the reason I fell out of love with New York.

But that's just ... life, isn't it? Although I suppose NYC does kinda throw it in your face a bit.
posted by evil otto at 12:01 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Dojo was like, just notably and famously shitty. It is good that it is gone. Capitalism and/or healthlaw worked.

Also considering people complain morally about the rents being too high, and then complain about how the city sucks these days, I want to joke about killing two birds with one supply and demand stone, except I live here too and I know. There's nowhere to go. You can go to SF, but it's the same complaints and barely any subway. Where else can you go if you can't swing international (many of which also have the same complaints)? Nowhere. Step down a tier, live in Philly, Boston, Seattle. Acceptable, but really just down a tier. Drop out, live in Portland or maybe Austin (I am unclear on whether Austin is good or "good, for Texas."), that's fine if you want to drop out...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 12:15 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


The crushing impermanence of everything you care about

the crushing, bleak impermanence of everything I care about
the soul-defeating absence of the last remaining shred of doubt
that this old, poor, beleaguered town will save itself from this attack
by Starbucks, GAP, Bed, Bath, Beyond, 'gainst Walgreens, iHop and Big Mac
this ain't the town i knew and loved
the corporate push done got real shoved
posted by flapjax at midnite at 12:25 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Just remember that back in the good old days, you couldn't get a Cronut (tm) or a wifi signal either. And phone calls cost a nickel too.

Also most of the coffee was swill.
posted by spitbull at 4:17 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Nick Carr's excellent blogging on looking for movie locations in NY ScoutingNY.com. Full of nostalgia goodness and wonderful backstory.
posted by mikelieman at 4:22 AM on January 16


What about all the new restaurants popping up all over Brooklyn - are they to be ignored or reviled because they all date from the 2010s and haven't been around for 46 years?

I'd be a lot more welcoming of the new restaurants if they were priced low enough for me to afford to eat at them, the way the restaurants they replaced were. I am a foodie who lives in one of the biggest restaurant cities in the world, and I maybe eat out once a year because that's all I can afford.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:27 AM on January 16 [3 favorites]


spitbull, the Samad's cat was precisely the first thing I thought of when I was watching the scanner summaries of the Citibank fire (that fire was six alarms and I could hear the sirens all morning).

I moved uptown in 2002 and have watched Columbia Hot Bagel and Kim's video and Harlem Bait and Cardomat close up. On the upside, there is the new Jin ramen and a great little coffee shop near my apartment.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:05 AM on January 16


I am a foodie who lives in one of the biggest restaurant cities in the world, and I maybe eat out once a year because that's all I can afford.

Whew! So it *wasn't* that song I posted that kept you away from the Brooklyn meetup last year!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:27 AM on January 16


shiiiiiiiit, I'm writing a chapter that features Lenox Lounge predominately. H and H bagels? Bleecker Bob's? University Diner?

fuck capitalism, or something. fuck something.
posted by angrycat at 5:46 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


Wish I had known you back when we were neighbors, elizardbits.
posted by GrammarMoses at 5:50 AM on January 16


Whew! So it *wasn't* that song I posted that kept you away from the Brooklyn meetup last year!

...Not only that, but I did not in fact actually miss that meetup. I had the mulled wine that came with that cookie, remember?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:25 AM on January 16


I did not in fact actually miss that meetup.

AAAAH-hahahaha! That was you? Well I'll be gosh-derned!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:11 AM on January 16


Ray Walston, Luck Dragon: "How is 5 million a month rent even possible"

They were in Times Square. The tourist foot traffic is incredibly constant and dense. It starts early and ends late. Folks waiting for Broadway shows or just trying to soak in the city's vibe find themselves wandering in and out of the stores and spending money.

A big box store or chain can operate at a loss at that one location and still make money because of the cachet of being in the heart of Manhattan, and the priceless opportunity to have their logo splashed across television screens worldwide every New Year's Eve.

The problem with Colony was it was a wonderful place to window shop, but their prices were way, WAY too high. People who collect LP's and music memorabilia were probably aware of this and no doubt didn't really shop there unless they found something unique.

But tourists who didn't know any better obviously did, and in droves.
posted by zarq at 7:23 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


"This is Robert who’s worked at Colony for years. He said that the NY Post exaggerated about the rent and the fact that there was one million vinyl albums in the store. He said the closing is partially due to high rent, but also due to the fact that more and more people are downloading music. He also said a big problem is a huge decline in sheet music sales, because people can print them off the internet for free. So the closing is a combination of an asshole landlord and the asshole internet."

posted by zarq at 7:30 AM on January 16


huh, I can't figger out what's up with Lenox Lounge. I mean its web site is active, for the original address, but there are some 1/13 news reports of the Lenox Lounge owner relocating to 333 Lenox.
posted by angrycat at 8:12 AM on January 16


> But that's just ... life, isn't it? Although I suppose NYC does kinda throw it in your face a bit.

Yes, that is life, and yes, NYC does throw it in your face. I'd just like to note here that it doesn't matter that NYC has been changing for centuries and people have been making pretty much the same complaints about it all that time, any more than it matters that people have loved and lost before. When you love and lose, that's all that matters; you don't give a shit that it's a story as old as humanity, and you won't appreciate anyone trying to either console or mock you with that wisdom. And I don't care that people were mourning gentrification a century ago; I care that my New York, the one that changed me irrevocably in a million ways after I arrived, broke and jobless and about to lose the love that had brought me there, in 1981, is in large part gone: the Donnell and the Mid-Manhattan, the Gotham Book Mart and a million other independent bookshops, Tin Pan Alley and a million other dive bars, Brasilia on W. 45th St. and a million other wonderful little restaurants, I can't go on or I'll dissolve into a wretched puddle of nostalgia. But there's nothing wrong with mourning such losses, and anyone who might be thinking smugly that it's all just the workings of supply and demand and nothing to get hung about is either too young to know better or simply a fool.
posted by languagehat at 9:35 AM on January 16 [7 favorites]


But that's just ... life, isn't it?

It's also "just life" when people die. That doesn't make it hurt less if it's your loved one happened to be the one that died.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:43 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


DOJOS WAS NOT SHITTY THAT CARROT GINGER TAHINI WAS SO FUCKING DELICIOUS I WANT A VAT OF IT RIGHT NOW
posted by capnsue at 9:49 AM on January 16 [6 favorites]


Samad's had the lights on and door open this morning. Hopefully they'll be back on their feet quickly and cat will soon follow.

While I do appreciate the idea that the engine of a city is change and turnover, there's something specific about the squeeze now that makes it impossible to square with the neighborhood upheaval of centuries and decades past. Sure, beloved businesses have always closed or been sold here, but before the last couple of decades it was often small business being turned into another small business, one family selling a shop space to another to serve the needs of the neighborhood as the immigrant population changed. The change was a loss to be grieved on an individual level, definitely, but in a broader sense it was adding to rather than diminishing the story of the city - a chapter that added to, not erased, what came before.

But now when places close and they're taken over by a Chase or a Starbucks or an Urban Outfitters, that does feel like bleaching history in some way. It's taking a business from one person or one group of people and handing it over to a monolithic entity. Then when you go inside, it's the same damn Chase you'd stand in anywhere else, smooth and unwrinkled and fluorescent-bright. Chains are useful and accessible and cheap, but goddamn if they don't bleach all the humanity, good and bad, from a business that's ostensibly run by humans for humans. And in a place like New York that's all about the thrum that comes from cramming beside eight million other humans, that's a different loss than the losses that came before.

Anyway, this list makes me want to go bankrupt trying to personally keep my favorite places in business.
posted by superfluousm at 10:35 AM on January 16 [2 favorites]


But there's nothing wrong with mourning such losses, and anyone who might be thinking smugly that it's all just the workings of supply and demand and nothing to get hung about is either too young to know better or simply a fool.

Maybe we can have some sort of mutual non-invalidation accord, whereby the old-timers vow not to dismiss the youngsters' experiences as not having taken place in the "real" New York, and the youngsters vow not to dismiss the laments of the old-timers as typical complaints one expects from old-timers.
posted by evil otto at 10:55 AM on January 16 [1 favorite]


(also, my comment about the crushing nature of change being part of life was as much about my own experiences -- moving to NYC and learning that the culture I had previously been steeped in was "lame and old" -- as it was about the experiences of people who miss the old NYC)
posted by evil otto at 10:59 AM on January 16


Maybe we can have some sort of mutual non-invalidation accord, whereby the old-timers vow not to dismiss the youngsters' experiences as not having taken place in the "real" New York, and the youngsters vow not to dismiss the laments of the old-timers as typical complaints one expects from old-timers.

Yes, that seems likely to happen.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:12 AM on January 16


THAT CARROT GINGER TAHINI WAS SO FUCKING DELICIOUS I WANT A VAT OF IT RIGHT NOW

If I know mefi, people are gonna start posting recipes for it and I urge you to shun them because IT'S NOT THE FUCKING SAME WHEN YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT YOURSELF.

It's just not.

They have it at the sushi places all along St Marks though.
posted by elizardbits at 12:12 PM on January 16


> also, my comment about the crushing nature of change being part of life was as much about my own experiences -- moving to NYC and learning that the culture I had previously been steeped in was "lame and old" -- as it was about the experiences of people who miss the old NYC

Yeah, I got that, and I wasn't aiming my final remarks at you in any way—my jeremiad was just touched off by your very well-put and apposite remark. And I would never dismiss anyone's experiences as not having taken place in the "real" New York (well, unless they'd spent all their time on Wall Street and the Upper East Side...).
posted by languagehat at 12:19 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


See I always assumed there was something of a ceasefire where the dismissive posturing of the Mustache Petes and the Young Turks was to be taken as exactly that: posturing. 1953 or 2013, the trains stop in the tunnels for 20 minutes, doorways surprise you with the pungency of human excrement and and the tourists lollygag when you've got somewhere to be dammit. And the stores sell cool stuff we like, the revival movie theaters still show the same movies, and bands still yearn to come here and play for us. And whether it's seedy strip joints and prostitutes, or neon signs and unlicensed Elmos, Times Square is still somewhere you resign to finding yourself.

No matter what the year or generation, living here is still a daily negotiation between what you can have and what you can put up with.
posted by griphus at 12:33 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


IT'S NOT THE FUCKING SAME WHEN YOU HAVE TO MAKE IT YOURSELF.

Somewhere in Red Hook, there's a chef tied to a chair, being interrogated by an NYU grad student, a St. Mark's punk, and heavyset guy in a Jets sweatshirt.

"Tell us the recipe!"
"Never!"
posted by griphus at 12:40 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Damn you Guy Fieri!

(also, why are all the fluorescent lighted, ever-empty sex shops still ALL open?)
posted by Riton at 2:36 PM on January 16


They are fronts for money laundering.
posted by The Whelk at 2:46 PM on January 16


Today after picking up some super cheap yarn at PS Fabric (another place I am afraid will close sooner than later), I was walking through my old neighborhood (I lived on Sullivan Street between Spring and Prince from 1995 to 2002) and there are a remarkable number of businesses still there given the upheaval that SoHo has experienced in the '90s. Like Ben's Pizza. Like Metropolitan Hardware/Lumber. Like the old Italian barbershop (which underwent an ill-advised redesign in the late '90s and became the Hairbox, but kept all the same staff). Like the SportSac shop.

Even though I don't live downtown anymore, I also felt the sting of the closure of the Thompson Street branch of Porto Rico. That place felt like an old beatnik hangout. Before I got my own coffeemaking gear, I would walk out the front door of my building, go straight through the playground, hang a left and plunge into the dark store, dominated by giant sacks of beans in the front, for a large coffee and molasses cookie. There were a couple tables in the back and a bulletin board which included stern warnings to those considering using a cell phone on the premises. The sign had the old exchange phone number. Now Miladys is gone, too. There was a fellow in my old building who apparently had a stool there.

I walked up to the Bleecker Street branch of Porto Rico and bought a half pound of Aggie's blend to salute the old joints.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 3:01 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


Anyone ever figure out why all the head shops in NYC also double as piercing/tattoo parlors? Some kind of permitting issue? 'cause I haven't seen that anywhere else. The head shops in STL and SF are just head shops.
posted by evil otto at 3:01 PM on January 16


Wonderful, a question I can answer with authority.

So, first, it's the other way around: the tattoo/piercing shop is selling pipes as opposed to the headshop doing tattoos. A certain class of paraphernalia is dirt cheap. So if you have enough room in or outside your tattoo shop to hire some kid for $6.50/hr cash to hustle a five dollar pipe for twenty it's a good way to make extra money for the store. And considering rents, you want every square fucking inch of your store to be making a profit.

You'll generally notice that good tattoo shops with loyal clientele don't really sell that stuff. They just do tattoos and piercing, and they're pricy (and for good reason.) It's the cheaper drop-in shop that you go to at the spur of the moment when you're 19 that also sells pipes because there's quite a bit of overlap between the two types of indiscriminant impulse buyers. As opposed to Serious Tattoo People, who, if they need it can also afford to get their stuff at a Serious Head Shop.

Just to be clear, the fact that a tattoo shop sells pipes isn't some sort of guarantee it's a shitty place. Plenty of decent tattoo shops supplement their income with that stuff. But the really exceptional ones don't need to.
posted by griphus at 3:24 PM on January 16 [1 favorite]


(also, why are all the fluorescent lighted, ever-empty sex shops still ALL open?)

It's complicated but if you're a smart owner, the margins in sex shops are surprisingly good for retail. And the popular ones can get packed on Saturday nights. Like a fucking nightclub. God I hated working Saturday nights.

Also they are fronts.
posted by griphus at 3:30 PM on January 16 [3 favorites]


Wonderful, a question I can answer with authority.

Wow. Mystery, solved. And I didn't even have to burn an AskMe! :)
posted by evil otto at 5:01 PM on January 16


But I would like to know more about the economics of neon lit sex shops and purely for tobacco use only smoke shops!
posted by The Whelk at 5:05 PM on January 16


But I would like to know more about the economics of neon lit sex shops

I got this one. "You toss it on the floor, and we mop it up. IN BULK!"
posted by mikelieman at 5:34 PM on January 16


You see, it's a variation of #49, "Yeah, but we'll make it up in VOLUME!".... Aw, fukkit.
posted by mikelieman at 5:36 PM on January 16


Yay about Samad's.... I'm out of town and this was killing me.

I promise you, if you haven't tried it, it's the best straight up $1.50 brewed coffee on the UWS. You've got Oren's serving nine versions of burnt molasses across the street for 70 cents more, and 2 adjacent Starbucks if you need a bathroom and something to put in it.

I think they put a dash of cinnamon in it but I've never actually asked the back counterman, who has been there since time immemorial.

I really hope Poncho is just hiding out somewhere. NY deli cats represent intense genetic selection for self preservation and good luck, so there's that.
posted by spitbull at 6:44 PM on January 16 [2 favorites]


You can still get an egg cream at that little newsstand joint on Ave A across from Tompkins Square Park. The place looks just as shabby as it ever did, and you can still get a goddamned egg cream there. When I was in NYC this past November, I had a goddamned egg cream there and it was goddamned good.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:26 AM on January 17 [5 favorites]


Another one bites the dust:

Beloved Flatbush Ave. patty shop, Christie’s Jamaican Patties, shuts doors

“It’s so upsetting,” said Keesha Charles, 43, of Ditmas Park as she looked at the gated former patty shop. “Every time you turn around something else is closing down and its being replaced with something corporate,”
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:40 AM on January 17


I just learned that my favorite hat shop is about to shut down after 17 years (21 in business). Rent raised. There's always another book shop (so far, anyhow). But a nice place to try on (and spend too much on) amazing hats when you're feeling blue? Poof. You can't get that on the internet. What's this world coming to...

.
posted by Mchelly at 7:13 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Mchelly: "But a nice place to try on (and spend too much on) amazing hats when you're feeling blue? Poof. You can't get that on the internet. What's this world coming to... "

:(

They're the only place I know of in Manhattan that sold "Hats by Tanya." I wonder if anyone else will pick up her line.
posted by zarq at 8:24 AM on January 17


I was just at a thingy when somebody asked me what the perks of a Philly area-campus. Well, I said sarcastically, it's next to a Duane Reed. And the woman stared at me and said, are you from New York? I guess there are no or few Duane Reeds around here, it's all Rite Aide. Which I hadn't really noticed, because with both, afaik, it's the same makeup/firstaid/cat litter/seasonal combo. I seriously cannot tell any difference, and so the name keeps floating loose in my brain.
posted by angrycat at 8:36 AM on January 17


that little newsstand joint on Ave A across from Tompkins Square Park

Ray has been struggling to hold on to that place for years. For the moment, he's still hanging on.
posted by neroli at 8:40 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]


Robert Sietsema proposes a Historic Restaurant Preservation Plan
posted by neroli at 10:17 AM on January 17


Tavern on the Green, the NY institution that would not die. (Too bad it's also one of the city's most overrated joints evar.)
posted by GrammarMoses at 10:32 AM on January 17


Flapjax, I haven't been over there in a while. He makes a goddamned delicious eggcream!
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:55 AM on January 17


Amazing that so many small businesses have survived for 50 or 100 years but never managed to buy their own premises. Some of these places must have paid enough rent to buy the whole of Detroit!
posted by Lanark at 1:53 PM on January 17


They're the only place I know of in Manhattan that sold "Hats by Tanya." I wonder if anyone else will pick up her line.

Those are beautuiful, zarq - do you know the designer? They also were the first ones to have Divahats - which I can't even find now because I can't read Russian.
posted by Mchelly at 2:42 PM on January 17


Try Google translate: DivaHats
posted by Lanark at 8:15 AM on January 18




There's a little button that says "ENG" on the Divahats site that translates it.
posted by griphus at 6:34 PM on January 18


Egg creams are pointlessly mystified. It's soda, syrup, and milk in a classic proportional mix. It's hard to make a bad one unless your milk is bad.
posted by spitbull at 3:42 AM on January 20


spitbull, it's not the egg cream, it's... the egg cream.

NYC zen thing, y'see.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:46 AM on January 20


I'm a New Yorker. And I once worked a counter in Boston where I made a bunch of egg creams for picky New York Nostalgics.

I'm saying it's all bullshit. Soda, syrup, and milk. No way to get it wrong unless you don't know to decant the soda off the spoon.
posted by spitbull at 9:35 AM on January 20


And calling bullshit on something nostalgically revered is a Higher Level of NYC Zen than Junior's Cheesecake.
posted by spitbull at 9:36 AM on January 20


All this eggcream talk is just nostalgia without access to real seltzer.
posted by mikelieman at 1:27 PM on January 20


spitbull, you are SO right. It's all bullshit. You served 'em in Boston, so of course you know. It's definitely all bullshit. I'm so ashamed now for enjoying egg creams. For talking about them, for even thinking of them. God, I'm embarrassed. I bow to your superior understanding of egg cream, and I wish I'd never brought it up. A thousand pardons, o enlightened one. I am not worthy.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:14 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]


Nonetheless, I am still inexplicably (apparently) happy that the little joint across from Tompkins Square that sells 'em is still in business. Happy that one can still walk in there and buy an egg cream. Which is all I said in the first place. Have a nice day.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:26 PM on January 20


I miss two things about NYC, one is eggcreams (you go five years without one, see how much you think it's bullshit), and the Yankees circa 1996. And the Mars Bar. And Trader Vic's. And Florent at 4:30am. Ok there's lots of things I miss, but most of them are back there somewhere in the past - there's still a chance for me to get an eggcream.
posted by From Bklyn at 11:47 PM on January 21


I've lived here for 17 years and never had an egg cream. It's time to change that.

Well, maybe after the weather warms up a bit...

Meetup at that little newsstand joint on Ave A across from Tompkins Square Park?
posted by moonmilk at 11:11 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]


Meetup at that little newsstand joint on Ave A across from Tompkins Square Park?

Great idea, Moonmilk! Y'all order one for me!

Oh, and wanna let you know that I'll always cherish the NY subway token you gave me last year at the Brooklyn show.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:50 PM on January 22 [1 favorite]


This hurts: MeFi fave Revival has closed.
posted by lalex at 2:41 PM on January 31


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