So far, 2010 has been very bruising on the small, historic businesses that make up the best park of New York. Gone within a few short weeks have been Skyline Books in the Flatiron District, Cavalier Restaurant in Jackson Heights, Collegiate Food Shop in Harlem, Pink Tea Cup Cafe (which may reopen) and Biography Bookshop (which will reopen as something called bookbook), not to mention the constant threats to the life of Ray's Candy Shop in the East Village and Gino Restaurant on the Upper East Side.
One could blame this all on the recession, but the truth is the trouble in almost all cases is greedy landlords who don't seem to realize there's a recession and crank up the rent 100% or more. Hey, when you're a leach by profession, and generate no cash on your own, you don't have to worry about how others generate their life's blood. You just suck it dry and then ask for more.
And yet, there's more crying to do.
Pearl Paint, long the mercantile anchor of Canal Street, has announced that it will close one of its three Manhattan stores—the one at 58 Lispenard Street. Thank God the landmark, cast-iron outlet on Canal, with its easily recognizable red-and-white paint job, is safe for the time being. The Pearl store in Chicago also closed this week.
Pearl has been around since the Great Depression. Art students all over the City would lapse into a coma if it ever closed up shop. There's no place like it for art supplies.