The Bush-era economy nose-dived into reality this fall, but not quickly enough to prevent the massive history-eraser of the Bloomberg-DOB-Developer Cabal from wiping out a good many irreplaceable landmarks, architectural and cultural treasures and just-plain-special places. Of course, while the financial downturn will slow the progress of the feckless Department of Building, criminally negligent Landmarks Commission and rapacious developers (who, God willing, invested heavily in Wall Street), it presents a new danger to the City's heritage. Great old businesses and institutions may now go under for the oldest reason in the book: trade is bad.
So, without further delay, and with a lump in our throat and a tear in our eye, here are the gems that, since Jan. 1, 2008, New York City has lost (for previous annual Bring Out Your Dead tallies, check here for 2007 and here for 2006):
Gone, Baby, Gone
Pozzo Pastry Shop, WWII-era Hell's Kitchen bakery.
Fazil’s Times Square Studio, legendary hoofer's hall in Times Square. Honi Childs, Gregory Hinds, Savion Glover, Alvin Ailey, Bill Irwin, Charles Cook, the Nicholas Brothers, Fred and Adele Astaire, Judy Garland and Gene Kelly all practiced their footwork there.
Cafe La Fortuna, one of the last independent cafes on the UWS, and a John and Yoko hangout.
Armando's, aged Brooklyn Heights restaurant and Dodgers haunt.
Ridgewood Theatre, Thomas W. Lamb structure, closed after 92 straight years.
Chez Laurence, old Murray Hill French bistro.
Montrachet, upscale restaurant that opened up eating scene in Tribeca.
Quality Meat Market, landmark Polish butcher in Williamsburg.
Le Figaro Cafe, holdout from heady literary and folkie days of Greenwich Village.
Cafe Mozart, civilized cafe in Lincoln Center area.
Florent, legendary, beloved Meat Packing District eatery, forced out by landlord, who opened her own diner there, only to see it close almost immediately.
M&G Diner, one of a kind Harlem chicken and waffle joint.
Nikos Magazine & Smoke Shop, classic Village newsstand.
Lehman Brothers, 158-year-old Wall Street institution felled by own greed.
Yankee Stadium (the real one)
Long Island Restaurant, never really officially announced as dead, but, after being shuttered for 16 months, you pretty much figure it's gone.
The New York Sun, not old, though the notion of a daily newspaper is an old one, and how many do we have left when it comes down to it?
The Donut House, because, I'm sorry, the new coffee shop that replaced it just isn't the same.
The Green Church of Bay Ridge, perhaps the single most grievous architectural loss of the year.
Astroland, after years of pain and worry, finally torn down and shipped away.
Five Roses Pizza
The Donnell Library
Cheyenne Diner, closed in midtown, and hopes to reopen in Red Hook, but no movement yet.
Tin Pan Alley, a strip of historic buildings on W. 28th Street on the block.
P&G Cafe, said to have found a new home further uptown in the UWS, but, as as Dec. 31, the original will be history.
Most of Long Island College Hospital
And These Were Landmarked or Saved
Red Hook Pool
I.M. Pei's Silver Towers
St. Savior's Church of Maspeth
Jamaica Savings Bank
Congregation Tifereth Israel in Queens
(Many more, but those were the highlights for me)