03 June 2007

Slaughter on Second (and First) Avenue

Note: This is an amended version of my previous post. I guess in my grief over the loss of Kurowycky Meats, I misremembered its location. It's not on Second Avenue, but First Avenue, as many of you out there pointed out. Apologies. That said, Second Avenue is still taking some bad hits these days. And First Avenue's not doing so great either. Below is the original post in all its (well-intentioned) inaccuracy:
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OK, then. With the closure of Kurowycky Meats, let's take a look at what's left of the increasingly personality-free stretch of Second Avenue south of 14th Street, once the soul of the East Village (nee the Lower East Side).

Also gone within the past two years are: the Second Avenue Deli, pastrami sandwich and matzo ball soup purveyor non pareil; Jade Mountain, last of the old-time chop suey palaces; Rectangles, late lamented kosher Israeli-Yemenite place; Kiev, all-night Ukrainian diner of homey ambiance.

What's left of note: Veselka, another old Ukrainian diner, a bit fancier than Kiev; B&H Dairy, a longtime kosher vegetarian place; Moishe's Bake Shop, a shabby kosher bakery of many decades standing; Anthology Film Archives, founded by Jonas Mekas in 1970.

My mordant mind guesses that Moishe's won't last another year. And it's hard to see tiny B&H surviving the current real estate shitstorm. Soon enough, Second Avenue will resemble Third Avenue in Yorkville or Sixth Avenue in Chelsea. Chase Banks branches to take out money to buy stuff at the Starbuck's and Staples, and Rite Aids to buy aspirin to dispel the headache you get from the banal ugliness of it all.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about the old Dan Lynch blues bar on Second Ave just south of 14th Street? It disappeared some years ago -- turned into some velvet rope-type place. That place rocked -- cold beer, smoke, pool table, and free live blues every night of the week.

Anonymous said...

Digressing just a bit but on the same note regarding the East Village. Teresa's the the Polish restaurant on First Avenue has also given up the ghost. It ended its 22 year run in the East Village.

Anonymous said...

Kurowycky is on FIRST Avenue!

Anonymous said...

Hey Genius, though you SEEM to mean well, why do you call Moiseh's "shabby"? Where exactly do you buy baked goods that it's fucking "glamorous"?

Tho' I'm a happy atheist, you also show great ignorance of Moishe's owners & if things are shabby, why that is so.

The do excellent business btw; whether that amount of $$$ is "maximum fucking value" for the location is another story but goddamn, wake up to your own inane cultural biases.

You're as much the enemy as those you CLAIM to deplore.

Anonymous said...

The meat place was on 1st avenue, but your point is well taken. I'd like to add a rec for Nightingales, which was on the same block as Dan Lynch's. Totally unpretentious dive bar, manned by a really cool guy, where bands could get up and do their thing 7 nights a week. Spin Doctors and Blues Traveler, and Patty Smith all played there at one time or another. Now it is another velvet-roped cocktail joint.

Anonymous said...

And Schact’s Appetising, Second Avenue btwn 5th and 6th. I’m not even a big fan of appetising, but it was simply a great shop.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Anonymous No. 4 (the nasty one): you're just nasty, and you obviously owned Moishe's or something. For the record, I love Moishe's and hope it stays there forever. But, dude, look at the sign. That it hasn't fallen down yet is a miracle. The place looks shabby. Endearinly so, but shabby nontheless.

Anonymous said...

Nightingales is still there isn't it? I saw the spin doctors there on my prom night.

Mike said...

don't forget the Ukrainian Sport Club on 2nd below St. Marks. cheapest gigantic Ukrainian beers in the city.

and reading about kurowycky closing reminded me of interviewing the original owner for a story years ago. he told me "kurowycky" was pronounced "quart of whiskey."

Anonymous said...

Bella Tile is still present after serving the community for 25 or more years now. I don't think they'll be going anywhere anytime soon.

robCUNY said...

The Ninth Street Bakery is still here. I used to buy loaves there for a nickel in the 70's. Bikes by George on 12th, gone after 28 years -- his rent was hiked from 1500 to 9000. The Hewitt Memorial on 3rd Ave disappeared overnight. Cooper Union will build a huge glass-and-steel monster there. And Singer just got a decision in his favor from the Appellate Division to proceed with construction on the old Charas building, PS 164.

Anonymous said...

ALT DOT COFFEE IS GONE! WAAHHHHHHH!!!

Anonymous said...

I just noticed a Bikes By George in Wburg, off the Graham L stop. That's funny, I thought to myself, wow, they're branching out, but I guess the reality is they got shoved out to Brooklyn.

Elissa said...

Schacht's Appetizing had a guy named Max who was a elderly Ukranian Jew who claimed to have been a sailor in the Kronsdadt Rebellion (1921). He sliced lox beautifully (arguably as well if not better than at Russ and Daughters) and he had an enourmously fat cat who he gave the best scraps too. For students such as we (in the 1970's) he would sell bags of the scraps to be used for cooking scrambled eggs. I loved talk to him in Yiddish but always had the impression that the cat got the best of the scraps.

Esther owned the store with her brother and had a hard life with an ill daughter. When they closed, another employee Motty tried to open his own appetizing store but did not succeed and spent years hanging around the cafe on Second Ave, near 6th Street where he could still talk to old customers.

Elissa said...

B&H -- Better Health --- is a great Jewish dairy restaurant which is a hole in the wall that still does a bustling business.

The last owner that was Jewish was a dentist who bought it 30 years ago when the closed for not paying taxes; he paid the back taxes, got it going again and then sold it. In the meantime Kiev opened with some of the same employees during that closing.

I believe that the place is owned by a Latino/Slavic couple; there is still a babushka in the back who bakes delicious challah with butter coated tops; and the soups and eggs are still top notch. I even had rice pudding there lately. Scrambled eggs are often called LEOs (Lox, Eggs and Onions); tips used to be called Junmbo Jackies but I don't know if the counter guys still use that term.