31 December 2012

Bring Out Your Dead: 2012 Roundup of Lost New York City Landmarks

Every year since I began this blog has seemed like a bad year for New York landmarks, with too many classic restaurants, bars and stores falling under the steamroller of progress. But somehow 2012 feels like one of the worst. Maybe that's because of the exceeding quality of the places that have closed. Any year that includes the exit of such irreplaceable establishments as Bill's Gay Nineties, Prime Burger, Donovan's Pub, Lascoff Drugs, Colony Music and Manganaro Grosseria Italiana has to be counted a black year. So, here is the final sad and sorrowful tally. 

Gone, Baby, Gone

Lenox Lounge, a 1930s, art deco, jazz icon, whose owner Alvin Reed decided not to renew his lease after the landlord doubled the rent. Richie Notar, the managing partner in the Nobu Restaurants group, will be taking over the space under a different name.
Bill's Gay Nineties, a Prohibition-era former speakeasy, which operated as a bar at this address for nearly a century, forced to close after its Ireland-based landlord would not renew the owning family's lease. It has reopened as Bill's Food & Drink, though the former owner took all the famous bars and interior artifacts with her.

Stage Deli, one of last of Manhattan's classic Jewish delis, closed after 75 years in response to an imminent rent hike.
Prime Burger, the classic midtown deli with the unique grade-school-desk-like, single-seater booths, after 74 years.
El Faro, the 85-year-old Greenwich Village Spanish restaurant.
The Tap & Grill, a holdover from Rockaway Beach's past of a beach-oriented summer funland.
Skyview Deli, a 62-year-old Riverdale kosher deli.
Hungarian Meat Market, an old Yorkville butcher that dates to the 1950s, and promised to reopen after a devastating 2011 fire, but has now closed for good, taking a lot of local Hungarian history with it.
Lafayette French Pastry, an 85-year-old Greenwich Village institution, run by three generations of the same family. 
Sokol Brothers Furniture Store, one of the last surviving holdouts from Columbia Street's past as a major Brooklyn commercial center.

Timboo's, a classic Park Slope dive, founded in 1969, now a bar called Skylark.
La Traviata, at 34 years old, one of the oldest businesses on Brooklyn Heights' Montague Street.
Crown Deli, an old school Jewish Deli in Borough Park, founded in 1960, and probably shuttered as a result of the scandal surrounding the owning Rubashkin family.
Lascoff Drugs, a frozen-in-time Lexington Avenue, Upper East Side landmark, after 113 years in business.
Colony Music, a Times Square icon, and throwback to the area's days as a music-making mecca, after a half century.
Holiday Cocktail Lounge, a historic East Village dive, one-time haunt of W.H. Auden and Allen Ginsberg, and a bar from Prohibition days.
Manganaro Grosseria Italiana, a 19th-century, Ninth Avenue Italian grocery, known for its timeless interior and irascible service.
Ben Benson's Steakhouse, a midtown institution, closed after 30 years, unable to meet an unreasonable rent hike.

Endangered Landmarks

Donovan's Pub, the landmark Woodside, Queens, bar and restaurant known for its peerless burgers, was put up for sale. For now, it's still open.
Gallagher's Steak House, an 85-year-old Times Square steakhouse that is changing hands, with its exact future in doubt.
Hinsch's Confectionary, the timeless Bay Ridge soda fountain, which closed in 2011, then reopened under new management, then closed again, then reopened again.


Leske's Bakery, the Bay Ridge remnant of the neighborhood's Swedish past, which closed, and then reopened under new management.

Might As Well Be Gone

O'Connor's, a wonderful old Park Slope dive, which has been so changed and renovated by its management (and remains closed for now), that it might as well be dead.

1 comment:

upstate Johnny G said...


If Bill's were still open I'd go there right now and raise a glass to those we lost. I guess I'll have to do it in my living room instead....