16 October 2007

Chumley's "Operating on Faith"

There's an update on the Chumley's situation in the New York Post today and—surprise—it's not very encouraging.

As last reported, the former speakeasy was supposed to reopen Oct. 1; it was closed after the old chimney separated from the wall last spring. The owners of the bar said the delays are due to several "surprises" found by the engineers. Among them: asbestos and the erosion of the foundation.

"We're all working together to try and get it done," Chumley's owner Steve Shlopak told the Post. "Just how we're going to get it done, though, is unclear. At this point, we're kind of operating on faith." Not what I'd call a confidence-inspiring quote.

Despite the above, Shlopak also said he hopes to have Chumley's open by Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving. 37 days away! Has he even looked at the building?

Most heartbreaking story of the year? Not Coney Island. There's been plenty of protesting to Thor's plans down there, and some movement in the right directions, such as Astroland staying around a little longer. Not the Red Hook Ballfield food vendors. Again, there has been plenty of hue and cry, and the vendors at least have a sporting chance of returning next year. No, it's Chumley's. This is an irreplaceable national landmark (not just citywide, but national; historic bars like this just don't exist anymore), and nobody's stepping up to the plate. No noise from City Hall. No rallies. No real push to get this property away from its monster landlord and into the hands of the restaurant owners. Just apathy and resignation. Even the Save Chumley's blog hasn't been undated since July 6.


Nesta said...

I love Chumley's, and in general I'm no fan of landlords, but what has this one done to be known as a "monster"? And why should they be compelled to sell the building? I don't think there's any proof they're dragging their feet on the reconstruction. What would they gain?

Brooks of Sheffield said...

You're right, Nesta. I should have been more clear. I've now included a link to a previous item which details the misdeeds of landlord Margaret Streicker Porres. And I'm not the only one calling her a monster. The Village Voice named her one of NYC's 10 Worst Landlords in 2006. Even the Times has been disapproving.