In my introductory post on this blog, one of the lost landmarks I mentioned as reason to rise the rallying cry in New York was the Russian Tea Room, which closed in 2002 shortly after the death of its immoderate owner Warner LeRoy. I've often passed by the famous restaurant's 57th Street address and felt sad, thinking about the countess famous women who once worked as coat check girls there, and wondered why no one was doing anything with the space.
Well, recent articles have explained why. The Tea Room, red banquets and all, reopened on Nov. 1. Apparently, after LeRoy passed, his estate sold the property to something called the United States Gold Association, which planned to use the buidling to "showcase its extensive collection of gold memorabilia." Now, THERE'S a plan to induce nausea. Thank God!—they sold the building instead, in 2004, to the the sinister-sounding RTR Funding Group. Gerald Lieblich owns this, and he's the man responsible for the Tea Room being reborn (while also moving along a scheme for—what else?—more condos on the 56th Street side.)
Unfortunately, it's been reborn with LeRoy's same gauche renovation. Big acrylic bear, gold-plated tree dripping with glass eggs. All that garbage. But if the stroganoff is the same, I'll forgive all.