04 January 2007

Bring Out Your Dead!

It's a new year and we're approaching the first anniversary of the date that McHale's closed to make way for a condo highrise—the reason this blog was born, dontcha know. So it seems as good a time as any to see how the city's cultural fabric is holding up.

So, let's see. In the last 12 months, New York City has lost:
McHale's (victim of condo fever)
The Second Avenue Deli (rent dispute)
Barrymore's (rumored hotel development)
Sam's (ditto)
CBGBs (rent dispute)
The Continental (couldn't make money anymore)
Studio Coffee Chop (cause unknown)
Western Beef (leaving too trendy Meat Packing District)
Coliseum Books (couldn't make the rent)
All the good writers the Village Voice ever had (stupid new management)
And, in Chicago, a massacre: Berghoff's restaurant and the State Street Marshall Field's and Carson Pirie Scott

Still due to be executed are:
Astroland at Coney Island (sold to developer who's got bigger ideas)
Yankee Stadium (thanks, George. Got enough money yet?)
St. Brigid's Church (Roman Catholic Archdiocese doesn't think much of it)
Our Lady of Vilnius (ditto)
Gotham Book Mart (shuttered, rent flap, unlikely to open)
Astrotower (City doesn't want it, even for free!)
Gertel's Bakery (rent dispute)

On the bright side, pulled-back-from-the-precipice landmarks included:
Gino's (labor dispute resolved)
Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop (former customer bought the place)
Capital Fishing Tackle Company (forced to move by Chelsea Hotel)
Nat Sherman (rent dispute, pushed down the street)
Ess-a-Bagel (survived health scare)

And back from the dead were:
Le Cirque
The Russian Tea Room
Cammareri's Bakery (not back yet, but reopening in Brooklyn any minute)
Knickerbocker Hotel (bought by Dubai which wants to bring it back to its former glory)
Worth & Worth hat store (found an affordable storefront after being dormant for years)

Some bad news, some good. Still, too much bad to be optimistic about the future. When's that real estate bubble going to burst, anyway?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping Our Lady of Vilnius in your thoughts and in your blog this year. Cardinal Egan's death knell for us has turned into a wake-up call and I hope and pray that we will be on your reprieved list at the end of 2007.

Anonymous said...

Brooks, Our Lady of Vilnius has taken one step closer to the gallows with January 19's archdiocesan press release announcing our closure. The release, which was separate from their "realignment" announcement, was reported in only 2 media outlets and was not posted on their own page. Since they are not promulgating this widely, I am doing my bit to provide those who are interested with the opportunity to experience outrage.